prima New Reader
6/2/08 6:12 p.m.

Not really the correct time of the year for this but hear goes. How are the Miata/MX5 NB and NC, driving and handling in very heavy rain or on snow covered roads? I have Bridgestone RE 960AS on the OE 14" wheels on my '99 Miata and they can get a little squirrelly in the cold and damp but this just may be west Texas roads. Never driven the '99 on snow covered roads. But the thought of a new NC Sport w/PRHT as a all-season GT/sports car is very apealling. Of course I'd have to get some UHPAS tires to replace the OE summer tires. Thanks and I'd love to hear any "war stories" about driving either model in bad or appalling conditions.

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/2/08 6:33 p.m.

They're actually not bad. You need the right tires and you need to use those in-between throttle positions between idle and WFO, but the car works pretty well. Until the snow gets too deep and your little sports car becomes a little snowplow, anyhow.

My biggest problem always used to be crossing the slush piles between lanes, The really quick reflexes in the dry also mean really quick attitude adjustments when the tail steps out, but it's easy to catch.

thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand New Reader
6/2/08 6:38 p.m.

I'd like to preface this by saying I have no personal experience with a miata (or really any car) in the snow (CA kid) so this has been gleaned from and the like: Miatas do just fine in the snow with four snow tires. As long as you have the snow tires, you've got nothing to worry about.

I have however driven in rainstorms where I had to drive 40 mph on the freeway just to see and puddles were deep enough that occasionally a car would splash water over my roof. Driving then I had no problems with the car. I had Hankook RS-2s at that time and their grip was pretty amazing. Granted I wasn't driving the same way I do when its dry out but thats not really a good choice anyway.

NOHOME New Reader
6/2/08 9:57 p.m.

13 years of year round driving in the 90 Miata. Put the Blizzacks on and party! She goes when most people can't using their "all seasons on my FWD" crap tires!

I second the slush "lane dividers" as being a bit hard on the nerves, but never lost it.


kilgoretrout New Reader
6/2/08 10:19 p.m.

I've only driven my Miata in the snow once and it wasn't really that bad even on all-seasons. I'd imagine on some decent snow tires it would be a blast!

In the rain it just gives you more chances to swing the tail out and practice your drifting skillzzzzz.

CrackMonkey Reader
6/3/08 7:35 a.m.

With all-season tires, they can be a bit sketchy. But not unusable or terrifying.

With snow tires, they are fine. I prefer the Miata (w/ Blizzaks, sans ABS or TC) to my Volvo (w/ all-seasons, ABS, TC, and Stability). Less weight, RWD, narrower tires/wheels = more controllable package. The Volvo can get around, but the Miata is still fun to drive (until it gets high centered on a snow bank).

skruffy Dork
6/3/08 8:11 a.m.

My 90 was my only car for two years in Ohio. Even after the coilovers and ridiculously low ride height it still did OK on my winter wheels (stock daisies with free used all seasons!).

In general, a miata is a car that does EXACTLY what it's told. If you suck at driving in rain and snow you won't be happy. However, if you're good at steering with the throttle you'll have a ton of fun and still get where you need to be.

mistanfo Dork
6/3/08 8:51 a.m.

I'll fourth (or whatever the count is now) that you should use SNOW tires on a Miata in the snow. I've had great luck with Blizzaks. They're unstoppable, unless you get to snow that is simply too deep (and then you just can't plow it). Another thing to watch for is driveways that "dip." Fairly easy to be driving along them, ride up on the snow that has filled the dip in, and then sink, high centering the Miata. Yes, I have done it more than once. Not much fun...

confuZion3 Reader
6/3/08 9:11 a.m.

I had my 3 all-season and 1 snow tire bargain brand stuff on my Miata last winter (the crap came with the car). The snow tire was up front (it kept causing torque steer when it was out back because it was slightly bigger than the rest). I went and played in a parking lot and had a blast. Mostly, I tried to minimize wheelspin while under acceleration and maximize braking while I was there. Also, some doughnuts may have been done at said parking lot . . .

Then, I got the Azenis on and got stuck driving through 3 inches of snow and some packed snow. Wow, was that scary. But the car never missed a beat and got me to my house (which was up a gigantic, steep, long hill) to safety. It refused to get stuck.

I will recommend for as long as I live that you put four snow tires on whatever car you drive when you drive in the snow. Always. There is nothing that comes close to a good set of snow tires - all-seasons can't hold a torch up to them. Even if you are driving a Subaru or an SUV (nothing can stop a Subaru with four snow tires!).

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/3/08 11:00 a.m.

Yeah, snow tires rule. I have a set for the Grand Cherokee. "But it's an SUV!" "Well, I like to brake and steer as well as accelerate"...

Besides, snow tires are free. When you're using them, you're not burning rubber off your summer tires. So it takes twice as long for your tires to wear out. I'm not ecstatic about Blizzaks, but any of the snow tires that don't rely on a thin layer of special rubber are great. Hakks FTW if you can get them.

pigeon New Reader
6/3/08 11:46 a.m.

I daily drove a '96 Miata for 3 Buffalo winters. Any questions?

Seriously, I 100% agree on snow tires for whatever you drive in snow. Even if you have sufficient traction to get going you may not have enough traction to slow down when you need to without the proper tires for the conditions. I also agree that Hakka1s are the best snow tire, period, but if you're not on deep mountain snow all the time there are better choices such as the Artic Alpin - but let's not turn this into a "what snow tire" thread - it's June for crying out loud!


Woodyhfd GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/3/08 12:42 p.m.

My usual thought process regarding snow tires goes something like this:

Good snow tires mounted on a set of stock rims usually won't cost more than $800.

There are very few things that I can hit in the wintertime that will do less than $800 dollars worth of damage to my car. In most cases, even minor damage will cost much more to repair.

Snow tires are a good investment. All season tires will disappoint you year round.

Jack SuperDork
6/4/08 9:18 a.m.

Yup, tires are everything. If you going to play in snow a lot, get a taller, skinnier snow tire.

Back when I had both cars, I would much rather take the FWD Saab 9000 with 4 Hakka snows than the AWD Subaru with 4 all season radials. Eventually, the Subie had 4 hakka snows too. That was the answer.


caffecapri New Reader
6/4/08 9:23 a.m.

In the rain, I actually love driving my wife's miata more than her 4Runner...nimble, controllable and fun (with good tires). Two years ago, Texas had a little "slushstorm" where schools and businesses closed and I drove the Miata everyday. The only thing that scares me is other drivers and if they lose it, I'd rather not get hit in a miata. Other than that, it goes anywhere I want to go.

Feedyurhed New Reader
6/4/08 9:27 p.m.

Well I just bought an 08 PRHT in the end of March so I caught a few late winter snows less than one inch on all occasions. I can tell you from experience there is no way I would attempt to do a winter here in Michigan with the stock tires. In fact it's fairly easy to spin the tires in the wet too. Ya and too bad my other car is a RX7. I may be looking at a beater winter car for the bad days.Having said that I have found it to be a great DD and it has all the room I need for most things. Plus I'm getting upper 20s mpg around town and mid 30s on the highway and it's still getting broken in.

Bottom line. Winter snow tires for the winter states by all means!

JagLite None
6/5/08 4:42 p.m.

I've been driving my 2000 Miata for 7 years in Anchorage Alaska. Year round daily driver.

I had two requirements when looking for a good used Miata, it had to have a limited slip and a removable hardtop. I bought mine from a BMW dealer in Texas, on eBay no less! Had it shipped up and had a set of Blizzak's on nice aluminum rims waiting for it. Tire rack set of rims & tires & shipping was under $900.

The car showed up in early February and I took my new snow tires with me to get the car. With the stock Michelin pilot's it was pretty much undrivable on flat roads but I managed to creep a few blocks to a large parking lot to change the tires over.

With Blizzak's on the car was fine. Actually better than fine! I could go anywhere until the snow got more than 16" deep, as long as I could keep moving that is.

I am on my second set of Blizzak's now because the first set were worn down about half tread depth but the new tires give no better traction. It just means the old ones were still doing fantastic! I am running 175/65R14's (Blizzak's) in the winter and 205/50R15's (Falken Azenis 215) in the summer and 215/50R13's (Kuhmo V710) for autocross.

The Miata is actually much more fun to drive in the winter than the summer. In the snow and ice I can slide and drift every curve, but at safe speeds. Some put sand in the trunk, but I don't. I do keep a pair of snow boots and a parka in the trunk in case I have to walk.

The Miata has not got stuck yet, but our Subaru Outback with new studs has. My wife really felt she needed studs on her car. Studs wear out and after two winters they are worthless so we have them pulled and the tire restudded by drilling new holes. That costs almost as much as buying a new tire with studs in it.

Yes, I leave the hardtop on for the winter but I take it off for the summer. Some years it is off for a good 6 weeks or so!

Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/6/08 9:37 a.m.

I'd be afraid that Alaskan mosquitoes would be able to bore right through a Miata soft top.

Nate90LX New Reader
6/6/08 7:20 p.m.

I drove a '95 NA 85 miles a day for two winters. It drove better than my Mustang 5.0 and Ranger. It takes concentration, but it was much more fun than a FWD car. I wouldn't want to drive a Miata in rain or snow without an LSD. It's just too much fun, and you would rarely have enough traction on both wheels for deeper snow. The Miata did get stuck when start from a stop in snow over 6 inches.
I only had all-seasons tires, which may be why it got stuck so much in deep snow.

z31maniac HalfDork
6/7/08 12:57 a.m.

Grew up with a Z31 (RWD V-6 with lots of mods) and went through 3 winters and summer tires.

If you are not: 1) A in a hurry idiot 2) Understand slip angle 3)Like being sideways, and understand how to drive in tricky conditions

There is no reason a RWD sports car should be a big problem in inclement weather.

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