Clarity driving on ice

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by PHEV Newbie, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to share my experience driving Monday on highway 22 an hour and a half outside of Pittsburgh. As I drove up a small mountain grade, it started to rain big drops but the ground temperature was about 25 degrees. Yep, you guess it. Unforecasted freezing rain. Within seconds, my windshield iced up and the road turned into a sheet of ice. There was a bunch of truckers that pulled over and waving us to slow down. I had already slowed down but can't hit the brakes so I coasted to slow down and stop. All around me, cars and trucks were losing control and going off the road. The road was completely closed for about an hour so they could get the salt trucks and emergency vehicles in. The road was so icy that the salt truck actually drove backwards to lay down the salt and sand. The Clarity was remarkably well planted and stayed in control even though I was still driving on the OEM tires. The guy behind me in a full size 4 WD pickup truck lost control and fishtailed back and forth. I thought for sure he as going to crash into me (he didn't). It really surprised me. I assumed the Clarity would be just awful under those conditions but it could be the weight and low center of gravity. Possibly the traction control. Anyway, I hadn't installed winter tires because I take our Outback whenever the weather gets bad but after that experience I'm going to switch to all weather tires ASAP!
  2. Sandroad

    Sandroad Well-Known Member

    I’m glad you started this thread because I was going to comment on winter driving too. I did put winter tires on my Clarity and I am extremely impressed with its winter handling. The acceleration, braking, regen, and driving dynamics are excellent on slippery roads when driving to match conditions.
    MPower and ClarityDoc like this.
  3. MNSteve

    MNSteve Well-Known Member Subscriber

    Thank you for sharing this. I relate because my strategy is to drive the CRV with AWD if the roads are bad, and this is a great illustration of the fallacy of that idea.
  4. MrFixit

    MrFixit Active Member

    Glad to hear you got through what could have been a very bad incident OK...

    Although my understanding of tires is limited, I just went and looked at our OEM tires. There is an "M+S" designation on the tires... Doesn't that mean they are "all weather"? They are Michelin X-Green Energy Saver A/S tires (I assume that is what is delivered across the board)?
  5. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    The OEM tires are "all season". In other words, basically 3-season. "All weather" tires are a relatively new category. They will perform well in summer as well as winter. I'm looking at the Michelin Crossclimate plus ( ). They didn't offer them in the Clarity size until recently. They've been reviewed by multiple sources including Consumer Reports and they perform as advertised. Basically, they perform almost as well as winter tires on snow and ice. More impressively, they perform almost as well as summer tires when it's warm, that is, better than typical all-season tires and much better than our EnergySaver OEM tires. No doubt you'll lose some range and HV mileage and they are pretty expensive so it might make more sense for folks to switch out real winter tires with the OEM tires if they live in very snowy areas. For folks living in areas that see just moderate snow, these could be a good option, especially if they don't have room to store an extra set of tires year-round.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  6. Viking79

    Viking79 Well-Known Member

    The OEM no season (loving name for "All season") tires were good year 1 in Winter, but with some wear and into year 2 with 29,000 miles they are very bad on snow/ice (ice especially). Switched to Michelin XIce 3 and they are great. My wife noticed a world of difference on the freezing rain we had. Now it just won't snow.

    Point is, it is best to have seasonal specific tires unless you are in a mild climate year round. PHEV Newbie, I am interested in these newer compounds that are closer to true all season tires (instead of no seasons like many all season tires are) that you mention, I have seen those before. I am curious how long they maintain that level of performance? The problem is many all season and other tires do well the first year, but after some wear they seem to end up on much longer wearing useless compound to get mileage rating out of them.

    Edit: I am curious as to efficiency of the tires too, I can handle the OEM no season tires in mild weather as they are very efficient, then I only have to suffer fuel economy loss and treadwear issues in winter when I tend to drive less anyway. If one of these cross climate tires is less efficient, I am less inclined to drive on it year round since I have a spot to put tires off season.
  7. JustAnotherPoorDriver

    JustAnotherPoorDriver Active Member

    I wonder if Costco can order these during one of their Michelin sales and get the $70 off and free install. I like the lifetime rotation and the convenience (although prior threads do note that you should warn them about the noise suppressors on the wheels)
  8. David Towle

    David Towle Active Member

    Thanks for posting this, I had not heard of these tires. In Tirerack's test they do say they were not able to match the ice performance of a dedicated winter tire, but unfortunately don't say how MUCH worse they were. Ice is the critical reason I use winter tires, snow you can usually just slow down but ice as PHEV Newbie shows often comes out of nowhere, and sometimes makes it impossible to travel at any speed if you don't have the right tires.
  9. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    Performance after some wear is a good question. I haven't seen anything about that on the Crossclimate+ tires. I'm disappointed to hear that the OEM tires do so poorly after some wear (mine are still in good shape). That motivates me even more to replace them. I hate doing that though. Lord knows our landfills don't need more tires, especially if they have a bunch of tread left.

    Oh, a side note. I was in HV mode when I pulled over. I put the car in "Park" to keep the heater running while I waited for the road to reopen (still in HV mode). The ICE had stopped and the heater was running off the battery. The ICE would kick on occasionally to recharge the traction battery. Just something to be aware of. Probably not a good idea to take a nap at a rest stop with HVAC on unless you're in EV mode.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
    JustAnotherPoorDriver likes this.
  10. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member

    Besides the unquestionable benefit of having winter tires when winter weather comes, they also extend the life of the tires you use the rest of the year. So gambling that the OEM tires (especially after years of wear) will stop you on ice or snow makes less sense even if you do manage to emerge in spring accident-free.

    The Nokian Hakkapeliitta snow tires we have say "Ultra-Low Rolling Resistance" on the sidewall.
  11. David Towle

    David Towle Active Member

    The other side of true winter tires is that whenever there is no snow or ice on the roads the winter tires perform much worse under both wet and dry conditions for cornering force and braking distance. So these Crossclimate tires may be a better option to use as winter tires. So far I've only had one drive this winter where I actually needed the winter tires.

    It might make sense to have 2 mounted sets of Crossclimate (or similar) tires, use newer ones in the winter and use a more worn set the rest of the year. But I'll wait to see a direct comparison of these to true winter tires.

    One time I got stuck on a lip of ice on my driveway, with winter tires, so I put my wife in the drivers' seat while I pushed. The tires were spinning a fair amount and then I noticed I was covered with black dots. The heat generated was enough to melt the ice, making it extra slippery, and also melt the tire tread too, throwing off bits of melted tire. Clearly snow tires would not be good to use anytime except winter!

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