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Thread: S3 - Handling in The Wet / Snow

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    S3 - Handling in The Wet / Snow

    Hi guys,

    Not been on here for a while. An S3 question - anyone else out there finding their S3 to be a bit incompitent in the snow / slush / ice / wet?
    Car seems to lose it at times - just travelling in straight lines over wet slush, snow and ice. The roads are perfectly acceptable to drive on so why is the car not more confident in these conditions? also when my car does seem to struggle the ESP light doesn't come on - I believe it should? am I missing something?

    As usual, advice really appreciated!

    Thanks Nick.

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    mitch78's Avatar
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    Wrong tyres. That's all it is.
    Ex 8L S3 driver

    also A3, 320, Golf, Clio, Astra, Focus, Mondeo, Laguna, Escort, Calibra, 220, others and now back to a Focus...

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    Cheers Mitch - is this common behaviour with the S3 then? What would you reccomend?

    P.S. loving those muscle cars!

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    Mine has been great and ESP light has been constantly on! More than impressed with the S3 in the snow
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muneeb S3 View Post
    Mine has been great and ESP light has been constantly on! More than impressed with the S3 in the snow
    Really?? Wonder why mines not??

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    as mitch said, its the tyres

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    There have been a few S3 tyre threads recently and there is a general consensus as to the top 2/3 tyre brands/models for the S3. Can anyone confirm whether the same tyres are suitable for the 3.2 or which would be advisable to use?

    When I bought the car the dealer replaced the two front tyres and I'm guessing he got the cheapest he could find because in the wet traction can be poor - had my heart racing a few times to say the least...

    Edit: Apologies for slightly hi-jacking the thread.
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    I have conti sports & michelins on mine,they are not brand new but tread wise they are ok and mine has been poor to what i was hoping(STILL LOVE THE CAR THOUGH) compared with my astra & golf which also had wides on but were only 2wheel drive


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    Quote Originally Posted by phil76 View Post
    I have conti sports & michelins on mine,they are not brand new but tread wise they are ok and mine has been poor to what i was hoping(STILL LOVE THE CAR THOUGH) compared with my astra & golf which also had wides on but were only 2wheel drive
    Are you finding your esp light coming on when it struggles?

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    The car isn't really designed to be driven on snow neither are the tyres. The car may feel it struggles that's because it's limiting power to stop the wheels spinning.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leenx View Post
    Are you finding your esp light coming on when it struggles?
    It has done sometimes but you can tell with the road conditions if its going to slip and slide and the ESP light only seems to come on if your trying to power it through rather than drive


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    No real problems here on GoodYear F1s....yes it tramlines a bit,as you'd expect,and ground clearance isn't wonderful either,but the car goes up a 1 in 3 hill near us which is covered with ice and snow with no problems at all.

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    My S3 has been absolutely fantastic in the snow. Extremely competent and a massive amount fun especially if you turn the TC off and provoke a little rear end action
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    Sounds like we are all in the same boat then - to be fair it's been fine most of the time, but my car seat was brown when I got out this morning as some of the roads near to where I live and to work were a little hairy to say the least lol

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    Mine has also been awesome in the snow.... I would say not quite as good as my previous S4, but again it could be the tires..... I find mine seem to fill up the grooves with ice and then its like having slicks on.... I would think the eagles are good as it would allow the ice to slide out the groove!

    If all 4 wheels are spinning, ESP will not activate as it believes you have traction.... all four wheels will be spinning at the same time and speed....

    I made it up some huge hills in the ice where other cars were struggling..... one set of lights was changing from red to gree and back to red before a single car had pulled away.... when it came to my go, I was in the right lane and it just shot away, leaving the cars on the left spinning their wheels....
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    I've got to agree, the A3 Quattro is a massive improvement over 2WD in the snow. Just remember it's a small hatch with 4WD running on summer tyres - it will lose traction if conditions are beyond what it can handle.

    Other than a few slightly scary moments going downhill when gravity seems to beat Quattro, I've found my car incredibly planted in the snow - if I decide to be a twat and boot it, the ESP just ignores my foot and uses as much power as is sensible!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellz View Post
    There have been a few S3 tyre threads recently and there is a general consensus as to the top 2/3 tyre brands/models for the S3. Can anyone confirm whether the same tyres are suitable for the 3.2 or which would be advisable to use?

    When I bought the car the dealer replaced the two front tyres and I'm guessing he got the cheapest he could find because in the wet traction can be poor - had my heart racing a few times to say the least...

    Edit: Apologies for slightly hi-jacking the thread.
    Try these guys.

    These were the cheapest I could find for Goodyear Eagle F1 Assymetric. Very higly rated rubber, great allrounders and decent wear.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hellz View Post
    There have been a few S3 tyre threads recently and there is a general consensus as to the top 2/3 tyre brands/models for the S3. Can anyone confirm whether the same tyres are suitable for the 3.2 or which would be advisable to use?

    When I bought the car the dealer replaced the two front tyres and I'm guessing he got the cheapest he could find because in the wet traction can be poor - had my heart racing a few times to say the least...

    Edit: Apologies for slightly hi-jacking the thread.
    Worth speaking to the guys at Revolution in Gateshead - they're main stockists for various performance tyre brands, and do 4 wheel Hunter alignment at sensible money too. Good people too.
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    I was in car park which had a light gradient to get out. It was fairly icy but the tyres would just not grip all 4 wheel were spinning. I managed to finally get out by turning the ESP off and gunning it. Then a Mitsubishi Pajero went up without any problems. Just shows how important tyres are.

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    i think we all expect a little much from the s3, as a few people have said its mainly down to the tyres (your only as good as your contact patch in the snow)

    Also as the Haldex isnt a true 4wd in normal driving ie no wheel slip then its as good as a fwd car.

    Also being a relatively sporty car it doesnt have masses of travel which doesnt help things.

    The only plus point i have found is that its good at climbing hills when applying power to 4 wheels.

    It amazes me how many idiots use there brakes to slow down in bad conditions.
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    Sohrob, you talk of idiots using their brakes......

    Does the ABS not try to find as much grip as it can from the friction between the tyre and road surface therefore giving maximum braking for conditions?

    Just asking the question...

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    Quote Originally Posted by edition View Post
    Sohrob, you talk of idiots using their brakes......

    Does the ABS not try to find as much grip as it can from the friction between the tyre and road surface therefore giving maximum braking for conditions?

    Just asking the question...
    I thought ABS allows you to steer if the wheels lock while breaking. This doesnt necessarily shorten breaking distance but allows the car to be controlled in a skid.

    Please say if Ive got this wrong.

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    when its very slippy you should use the gears to slow down and the brakes when coming to a standstill. ABS or not in poor conditions once a skid starts its hard to control.
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    Not sure what people expect from Quattro.
    The 4wd will only help find traction when setting off, or going up hill. Reach a corner or need to stop, and you're bound by the same physics as every other car on the road!
    If some are finding the car underwhleming at getting going, try turning your TC off - it advises you do this in the manual, as the TC cuts power, meaning just as your getting some forward momentum and a degree of slip all power is cut.

    Also ABS is not good in the snow, and I find the S3 system intervenes to early. Think of it this way, the ABS kicks in because you've locked up a touch, the ABS knocks the brakes off, you start to put more pressure on the brakes, so when they go back on they lock up, then switch off again and so on... so your entire braking zone is either a slide or glide. You're much better off using the gears and modulating the brakes sensibly, give yourself plenty of room and don't stamp on the middle peddle!!!

    Personally I've found the S3 to be handy in the snow, it's managed to keep going where others have abandoned their cars (that's you Mr BMW and Mercedes ) and always feels predictable.
    Last edited by Jamiekip; 11th January 2010 at 23:11.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamiekip View Post
    Not sure what people expect from Quattro.
    The 4wd will only help find traction when setting off, or going up hill. Reach a corner or need to stop, and you're bound by the same physics as every other car on the road!
    If some are finding the car underwhleming at getting going, try turning your TC off - it advises you do this in the manual, as the TC cuts power, meaning just as your getting some forward momentum and a degree of slip all power is cut.

    Also ABS is not good in the snow, and I find the S3 system intervenes to early. Think of it this way, the ABS kicks in because you've locked up a touch, the ABS knocks the brakes off, you start to put more pressure on the brakes, so when they go back on they lock up, then switch off again and so on... so your entire braking zone is either a slide or glide. You're much better off using the gears and modulating the brakes sensibly, give yourself plenty of room and don't stamp on the middle peddle!!!

    Personally I've found the S3 to be handy in the snow, it's managed to keep going where others have abandoned their cars (that's you Mr BMW and Mercedes ) and always feels predictable.
    Interesting stuff - but say I'm going round a roundabout at a pretty slow speed the car seems to struggle and I can feel it almost rocking and on verge of going out of control - just would of expected a bit more confidence? Is this normal behaviour would you say?

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    Am i correct saying that these are not constant 4wheel drive unlike some cars and it only brings power into the others when one is losing grip? i know they are made for handling rather than bad weather ? but i know with where i work looking at the cars we get in(insurance crash repairers) it doesnt matter what car you have or what drive system in this weather makes no difference and if you drive ok yourself there is always chance of someone ploughing into you


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    Been loving the S3 in the snow. Driving around Merseyside & the Peak District before Xmas & recently in some atrocious conditions. Car has been brilliantly surefooted on new Goodyear Eagle F1s, gliding past the FWDers as they spin away all their power. Climbed some real steep slopes in the Peak District without any worries at all.

    Like V6Pete says, even when you go a bit hooligan and stamp on the throttle on a quiet, open stretch, the ESP takes what power it wants & keeps you going straight forwards. Magic.

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    I'm 99% sure that I read in my manual that you're supposed to turn ESP off in the snow. I have throughout the entire snow season and I have to say the S3 has been beyond awesome! I have almost new F1s on which probably helps
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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-hHWSQhKuc



    Hope this link works....It does say to turn your ESP OFF in the owners hand book...

    But then I watched the link above...Tiff from Fifth Gear was testing a load of cars I think in Norway and in the Jaguar he left the ESP ON and it went around the cones etc alot better than with the ESP OFF...


    Now confused...Audi says leave it off....But the tests show it's better to leave on in the snow. My car seems to work better in the snow with the ESP left on...When I did turn it off....Well... I soon turned it back on....I must admit that it's alot more fun with it off
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    Don't forget that ESPs all work differently and have different effects so what may be true in a Jag is not necessarily the same for an 8P with Quattro. It's down to personal choice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamiekip View Post
    Not sure what people expect from Quattro.
    The 4wd will only help find traction when setting off, or going up hill. Reach a corner or need to stop, and you're bound by the same physics as every other car on the road!
    If some are finding the car underwhleming at getting going, try turning your TC off - it advises you do this in the manual, as the TC cuts power, meaning just as your getting some forward momentum and a degree of slip all power is cut.

    Also ABS is not good in the snow, and I find the S3 system intervenes to early. Think of it this way, the ABS kicks in because you've locked up a touch, the ABS knocks the brakes off, you start to put more pressure on the brakes, so when they go back on they lock up, then switch off again and so on... so your entire braking zone is either a slide or glide. You're much better off using the gears and modulating the brakes sensibly, give yourself plenty of room and don't stamp on the middle peddle!!!

    Personally I've found the S3 to be handy in the snow, it's managed to keep going where others have abandoned their cars (that's you Mr BMW and Mercedes ) and always feels predictable.
    My thoughts exactly, why do people think they will become Hannu Mikkola just because they have a S3 Quattro, lets get real the S3 is a great car and will give great straight line traction in slippy conditions and allow you to get the power down earlier in corners than a 2 wheel drive car, but sorry that's about all. My S3 has been great in the snow, providing i don't pretend I am in the swedish rally.

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    Agreed. S3 is brilliant in the snow when getting going and pushing up hills where other 2wd or rwd cars fail. However there is no advantage when braking or going round corners, why would there be? Its just a normal car in that respect - normal tyres, small wheels (when compared to a proper off roader), low clearance etc etc

    So in a nut shell, with the S3 you can get about in the snow, and you STILL look cool!
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    l had arranged a test drive in an S3 in Feb 2008. We where in Dunfermilne and the snow just appeared out of nowhere, deep. l was driving a 1.6 mk5 golf. The wife was terrified as other cars where sliding of the road and having a general hard time. l told her youve got to be slow and steady and not over rev. We got home in one piece and the wife thought l was a god. We got the S3 in May of that year. Now l get concerned when the weather gets like it has been. lve been out the country since the 19th, basically when it started. l was worried for the wife but she has told me the 3 has been solid in the snow and ice with the ESP warning coming on on a few occasions. Apart from all the tech and tyres youve got to approach these conditions with conviction.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamiekip View Post
    Not sure what people expect from Quattro.
    The 4wd will only help find traction when setting off, or going up hill. Reach a corner or need to stop, and you're bound by the same physics as every other car on the road!
    If some are finding the car underwhleming at getting going, try turning your TC off - it advises you do this in the manual, as the TC cuts power, meaning just as your getting some forward momentum and a degree of slip all power is cut.

    Also ABS is not good in the snow, and I find the S3 system intervenes to early. Think of it this way, the ABS kicks in because you've locked up a touch, the ABS knocks the brakes off, you start to put more pressure on the brakes, so when they go back on they lock up, then switch off again and so on... so your entire braking zone is either a slide or glide. You're much better off using the gears and modulating the brakes sensibly, give yourself plenty of room and don't stamp on the middle peddle!!!

    Personally I've found the S3 to be handy in the snow, it's managed to keep going where others have abandoned their cars (that's you Mr BMW and Mercedes ) and always feels predictable.
    I agree, my S3 is great on wet/snowy conditions and on standard tyres, I just turn the traction control off and the car behaves as I would expect and I'm running stage 2+.

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    I know its been talked of before and sorry but whats the correct procedure for fitting tyres on the quattro's can you do them by axle as the dealer and loads of others have told me or do you have to do all 4 at once? people i have spoke to say its ok to do axle at a time aslong as there not brand new on front and bald on the back etc and as the dealer told me you cant be expected to put 4 tyres on drive a couple of thousand mile get an unrepaireable puncture and replace the whole lot again? plus what are peoples experiences which are good tyres which work with these cars,i have always had contis and goodyears in the past and thought they were amazing so what do people rate on here? i was thinking of vredstiens sessatana's has anyone got


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    Having recently had a nail in my passenger rear l was down at kwik fit. They said the nail was to close to the wall and would have to have a new tyre. No danger l thought. l asked this question as well after being told that l had to change all 4 on my old calibra 4x4 at a cost of 600 quid. My S3 had 4mm of tread left on all 4 tyres. They said that as long as there isnt a massive difference ie 2mm front and say a new tyre at back it was fine. l bought a tyre of ebay with 7mm on it so just 3mm a difference. l plan to change all 4 before summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dc240969 View Post
    Having recently had a nail in my passenger rear l was down at kwik fit. They said the nail was to close to the wall and would have to have a new tyre. No danger l thought. l asked this question as well after being told that l had to change all 4 on my old calibra 4x4 at a cost of 600 quid. My S3 had 4mm of tread left on all 4 tyres. They said that as long as there isnt a massive difference ie 2mm front and say a new tyre at back it was fine. l bought a tyre of ebay with 7mm on it so just 3mm a difference. l plan to change all 4 before summer.
    never go to kwik fit, they are scam artists. i have worked in garages and know many people who work in many garages and they get people coming in for a second quote with the first being from kwik fit, just the other day, a customer had slid and badly kerbed her alloy, she need a new alloy, wishbone, tracking rod, kwik fit said she needed two front calipers as they wont just replace one, new discs pads, shock and spring and every other suspension componant. sorry to throw that in..

    anyway back to OP, try and get yourself some winter tires, the main cause of bad performance in snow are the tires, as they are the point of contact. i have a FWD a3 2.0 and mine had been great, really impressed with it, so the s3 should handle better due to it having a 4WD system. dont really understand the logic behind them saying turn off ESP because, i know they all work differently, but they are all there to do the same thing, cut power, apply brakes to stop loosing control.

    i guess if you turn it off, u are able to control the car the way u want to and could be better, but if driving down a road and need to swerve, it could be fatal!
    rs6's, H&R 35mm, lamin-x, vinyl wrapped grill, cupra splitter, black wing mirrors, de-badged, bmc air filter

  39. #38
    Neutral

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    I have just taken my Continental Winter tyres off as the air temp is now back over 8 deg C........just !! Below 8C normal summer tyres DO NOT work properly, this is nothing to do with the S3/A3 Quattro system it is all down to your tyres, buy some old alloys off ebay and get some winter tyres then your S3/A3 quattro will act like you wanted it to when you picked an Audi Quattro ...

  40. #39
    The Maestro's Avatar
    S3 ~ MTM 330BHP ~ Milltek TBE

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    Quote Originally Posted by gixxer600k4 View Post
    never go to kwik fit, they are scam artists
    Here Here!
    ~ The Maestro ~

    • S3 MTM (Current)
    • A4 Avant S-Line 3.0L TDI
    • A4 Avant S-Line 2.0L TDI

  41. #40
    S3RYE's Avatar
    Interior Next!!

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    your meant to turn off esp in the snow!!

    my car was sweet as a nut in the snow.. must be a tyre thing....
    Gone but not forgotten......
    S
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    Mods: Revo Stage 2+ - 18" BBS ch/Michelin PS2 - Recaro OEM Buckets - Milltek TBE NonRes/Sports Cat - Evoms Intake - APR hpfp - H&R Springs/ARBS F&R - Sachs Clutch/Luk DMF - AP Racing 6 Pot BBK - 10mm Spacers - Black Rings
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