Driving in the snow can be stressful in any car, but in some cars, it can be a downright hair-raising experience. Fortunately, technological advances have made driving many modern cars in the snow a bit easier than it once was previously. This article will explore whether you can drive a Mustang in the snow.
Can You Drive A Mustang In The Snow?
A Mustang is not the optimal vehicle to drive in the snow, especially if there is a significant amount of snow or if there is a mixture of ice and snow. The biggest factors making the Mustang difficult to drive in snow is its low ground clearance, rear-wheel drive, a light rear, and summer tires.
Although driving a Mustang in the snow is not the best option, it can certainly be done and this article will provide some of the features of the vehicle which may help you get to your destination safely.
Additionally, we will provide some of the cons associated with driving your Mustang in the snow.
Risks Of Driving A Mustang In The Snow
Below are some of the biggest risks of choosing to drive a Mustang in the snow:
Rear Wheel Drive
One thing to consider when deciding to drive any vehicle in the snow is whether the vehicle is front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive.
As many of us know, the Mustang is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle. While rear-wheel-drive cars often provide increased handling capabilities in dry weather, this phenomenon doesn’t apply to rear-wheel-drive cars in the snow.
Vehicles with this setup often suffer from poor traction in the snow since they have the bulk of their weight in the front of the vehicle where the engine is located but have their drive wheels in the rear of the car.
Lighter Rear End
Since the Mustang is a front-engine rear-wheel-drive vehicle it has a lighter rear end.
Increased loss of traction in the snow can occur since the power is being provided to the rear wheels and the rear end of the Mustang is light. This can often result in the Mustang “fish-tailing” when the driver attempts to accelerate, especially in the snow.
Many Mustangs either come from the factory equipped with summer tires or other Mustang owners may have summer tires installed on their cars to get better acceleration.
While summer tires can be great in certain weather conditions and temperatures, they do not provide the same qualities in colder temperatures which can make driving your Mustang in the snow more difficult.
Summer tires are not designed for use in freezing temperatures nor are they designed for use in snowy or icy conditions. This is largely due to the compounds that are used to make summer tires.
When these compounds are in warmer temperatures, they give the tire properties comparable to a pliable elastic, but when the compounds are exposed to cold temperatures the properties of the compounds change which causes a loss of traction.
Driving a Mustang in the snow can also become a bit difficult due to the ground clearance of the vehicle.
Since the Mustang is a sporty vehicle, it is lower to the ground to reduce its center of gravity in order to provide enhanced handling.
While this characteristic is optimal for cornering and handling in dry weather, (even though Mustangs are not world-renowned for their handling compared to their competition) it impedes the Mustang’s ability to traverse through deep snow.
Tips For Mustang Snow Driving
If you do happen to own a Mustang and have no other option but to drive it in the snow, the following are some tips and features of the vehicle to keep in mind which may help when you need to drive in the snow.
There are many people who own Mustangs and other types of sports cars and muscle cars that drive these vehicles in snow.
Many of the owners who drive their Mustangs in the snow have two sets of tires, the first set being the tires that are used in the summer months and the second set of tires are snow/winter tires that are used during the seasons where snow and other wintery precipitation is more likely.
Snow tires are designed with a tread pattern that provides increased traction. Snow tires often provide more aggressive treads, have gaps between the treads that are larger than summer or all-season tires, have larger sipes, and are composed of compounds that are designed to keep the rubber pliable in cold temperatures.
All of these features of snow tires help to provide increased traction in the snow as compared to other types of tires.
All Season Tires
All-season tires are another type of tire that can provide increased traction when driving your Mustang in the snow.
All-season tires can be thought of as the tire that fits between summer tires and snow tires in the tire hierarchy.
All-season tires provide a convenience factor and cost-saving since they do not require that the owner buy a set of tires for each season and the tires do not have to be swapped as the season’s change.
All-season tires provide increased traction compared to summer tires since they are composed of compounds that can be used in colder temperatures, have larger gaps between their treads than summer tires and have larger sipes than summer tires.
While the gaps between treads and the sipes in all-season tires are larger than those found on summer tires, they are smaller than those found on winter tires.
Another option to increase your Mustang’s traction in the snow, albeit a bit extreme in most cases, could be the use of snow chains.
Snow chains resemble a metal net that you wrap around the drive wheels or in some cases all of the wheels of your vehicle to provide increased traction in snow and icy conditions.
Snow chains increase the vehicle’s traction by “biting” into the surface thereby increasing the grip of the tire on the road surface which improves traction.
While snow/tire chains can increase traction, they are not necessarily the perfect answer to allow you to drive your Mustang in the snow.
One reason is that snow chains alter the handling characteristics of the car, and it is recommended that you do not exceed certain speeds if you are using snow chains. Another drawback of using snow chains is that they deteriorate road surfaces as they are used.
Lastly, some jurisdictions have prohibited the use of snow chains on public roads, likely due to the deterioration of roadways.
One feature of the Musang that can be used to combat loss of traction its traction control system. In the Mustang (and many other vehicles), the traction control system uses sensors to detect when an individual wheel or wheels are rotating at a speed that is significantly faster than the other wheels.
The system interprets this increased rotating speed as “slip” or loss of traction. When the system detects this slip, it automatically applies the brakes of the wheel that is slipping to decrease its speed and reduce the slipping.
In some instances, the Mustang’s traction control system will also reduce engine power in addition to applying the brakes in order to increase traction.
Another Mustang feature that can help to provide traction if you drive your Mustang in the snow is the snow/wet mode feature.
The snow/wet mode works similarly to the traction control when activated. The Mustang’s snow/wet mode reduces the engine’s power output to increase traction and stability.
The Mustang is a great vehicle, it just was not designed to be driven in the snow. Many of the features that the modern Mustangs provide make them much easier to drive in the snow than the older models without these features.
If you live in an area that receives a significant amount of wintery precipitation, the Mustang may not be the best choice as a daily driver unless you have an alternate vehicle that you can use in severe weather.
In the event that you have to drive your Mustang in snow or just desire to drive your Mustang in snow, try to implement some of the tips that have been provided to do so more safely.