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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently moved back to the midwest. It's been one of the hottest summers on record and a horrific drought. We got a little bit of rain over the weekend and the temps cooled a bit. The cooler temps got me thinking about winter, and the prospect of driving my 100% rust-free Beast on the salted roads has me a bit worried.

On one hand, I absolutely bought this car to drive and enjoy daily. It it not a garage queen, it's a source of daily enjoyment. On the other hand, looking around at the local cars' variety of rust damage makes me cringe. I remember back in college, it only took a couple of winters to turn a spot of rust into a serious quarter-panel killer.

The lack of steelies in an adequate size for the Beast means that a winter setup will be quite pricey. I'll have to source some style 66's, or similar, and then wrap them in big Blizzaks. I'll then have to patronize the craptastic touchless carwash near my neighborhood so often, that I'll put one of the owners' kids through college.

--- OR ---

I can buy a winter beater on craigslist and hope it makes it! To make things fun (and practical), I've set my max listed price on CL to what I think a winter setup will end up costing: 1.5k -- a couple interesting things pop up when you're in that mindset. EG: Volvo 740 wagons, giant pickup trucks, etc :D

Downsides: I'd be driving a POS all winter, it could die a horrible death, and I'd have to look at the damned thing on my driveway ;)

What do you guys do? Any advice on a winter car with character?
 

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I drove it daily and through 3 new york winters. Very nice and handled snow like a champ with a set of Dunlop WinterSport 3Ds, but it would just be a mess with all the slush and crap on the ground.

So I got a second car not only to save the M5 from winters but to put way less miles on it (I racked up 60k miles in 4 years). I recommend it! It makes driving the M5 much more special.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am wishing I hadn't sold our B6 A4 a couple of years ago. That car was so awesome in the snow!

What kind of car did you go for? A beater, or did you get something nice? I honestly would have to get something *very* cheap to make this proposition realistic :p
 

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I am wishing I hadn't sold our B6 A4 a couple of years ago. That car was so awesome in the snow!

What kind of car did you go for? A beater, or did you get something nice? I honestly would have to get something *very* cheap to make this proposition realistic :p
Get a Japanese car. Aim for a Subaru. A 2.5 Impreza from 2002 or newer should be very good in the snow and fun to drive too.

I got something nice (not compared to the M5). A 2011 Mini Cooper Clubman S. I originally wanted a 2001 Subaru Impreza 2.5 but I couldn't find a good one and they all had a crapload of miles (over 120k), so I didn't want to deal with maintenance issues on what would become my primary workhorse commuter car. I'm currently leasing the Mini and I'll probably buy it at the end of the car behaves (no mechanical failures or things like that). It's the complete opposite of the M5. It's small, sips fuel, and I can use pretty much all of its performance on the street. The M5 is a suit but the Mini is a t-shirt with a funny face in it. The M5 is now my project car and will be treated as such. I even got cheaper insurance on it because I'll drive it 5k miles per year or less. And I chose the Clubman because I wanted the utility and preferred the looks.
 

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I definitely second the Subaru, they are great in the snow.

I went for a 1996 Jeep Cherokee 4x4, a little lifted, all terrain tires. Cheap, bulletproof, fun (in a different way, obviously) and useful for transporting stuff from Home Depot for projects around the house. I also drive it locally to pick up food, go to the post office, etc. to keep the slow city miles off the beast.

To me it's just not worth buying tires and wheels, getting the bimmer filthy, worrying about shoveling snow from my driveway :) or trying to tame 400 horses on ice.
 

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Get whichever is safer. Winter driving is unpredictable in the sense that even when you obey the rule of the road, other crappy drivers may not.
 

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I second the vote for a winter beater for all the reasons listed above. Coming from years of owning quattros, I found the red S4 pictured on Craigslist for $1500 2 years ago. Granted it looked a lot worse back then but was, and is, mechanically strong(250k mi!). Point is that UrS4/UrS6 cars are becoming very cheap, are pretty damn reliable, parts are plentiful, and you get the enjoyment of driving a German car, rather than Japanese.
 

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I drive a 2000 4Runner for most of the winter. 150K miles and still runs like a champ. Much easier to leave the beast in the garage when temps or road conditions are not good. I would suggest a winter beater, but at $1500, it may be tough to find something reliable. If it craps out in mid-December, you're either fixing it or looking for another. I would consider raising the spending limit to increase the chances that you get something that will last a few years at least.
 

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Indeed. Have done my fair share of avoiding clueless drivers with locked up wheels.
Get whichever is safer. Winter driving is unpredictable in the sense that even when you obey the rule of the road, other crappy drivers may not.
I don't know what winter is :dunno:, but from the videos I see on youtube/news during that time of year of people sliding into one another down icey hills, it'd be enough for me to keep my BM in the driveway. Drive something that's already busted to play bumper cars IMO.
 

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I don't know what winter is :dunno:, but from the videos I see on youtube/news during that time of year of people sliding into one another down icey hills, it'd be enough for me to keep my BM in the driveway. Drive something that's already busted to play bumper cars IMO.
+100 Ppl are crazy they cant drive straight and attentive when it is dry even, add snow ice to the mixture and you have disasters just waiting. I had a A6 for winter that will get replaced here in the next few months, but the M will stay in just because of crazy drivers on the road that cant stop.:confused3
 

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I drive a 2000 4Runner for most of the winter. 150K miles and still runs like a champ. Much easier to leave the beast in the garage when temps or road conditions are not good. I would suggest a winter beater, but at $1500, it may be tough to find something reliable. If it craps out in mid-December, you're either fixing it or looking for another. I would consider raising the spending limit to increase the chances that you get something that will last a few years at least.
itely go

I agree definitely go for a winter beater, but unless you find a steal or are a good DIY mechanic $1,500 might be a bit low to have something reliable. OP I am not sure if you mean you can't spend more than $1,500 or you don't want to spend more b/c that is what a winter setup would cost you. If it is the latter don't worry about it because keeping your car rust free is worth much more than $1,500. If you can't afford more than $1,500 then get something that is mechanically sound but may not look so hot so at least you know it will get you through the winter. Then you may be able to save up some money and sell the cheap beater and get a little bit better beater for the next winter.

As far as having to look at something else in your driveway or drive something less than an M5 in the winter, who cares. It is worth it to keep your car rust free. Just think about rust on your nice M5 and the cost to repair it properly. And if you really need your M5 fix you could drive it on the couple of nice snow free days you get (although I would worry about salt residue on the road). As others have said you can go for a fun little Subaru or and Audi if you want German instead of Japanese. Yeah its not going to be an M5, but its well worth it. The salt got to my e28 over the years (rocker panels, rear bumper) and now that I have a nice rust free e39 it is not going to see winter driving (I sold the e28 as I don't need a winter car right now with grad school in NYC). I am definitely in the camp of having a nice car and a workhorse/beater. How nice or busted your beater is depends on you and your budget. But a 2nd car is good to keep the mileage down on your nice car, run errands you would rather not use the nice car for, and use in the winter. It does not mean the M5 has to become a total garage queen, but you just don't have to drive everywhere because now you have options.

Bottom line salt is evil keep it away from your M5.
 

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This can and will be argued forever, but ask yourself:

Which is the better car, the one that will explode if it sees snow or the one that you trust to take you through the snow and other bad weather and you prefer to be in during the accident that you consider inevitable?

It starts with taping up the car before you drive it and ends with the car never leaving a climate controlled storage vault. In between the car spends a lot of time on a trailer ;)
 

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This can and will be argued forever, but ask yourself:

Which is the better car, the one that will explode if it sees snow or the one that you trust to take you through the snow and other bad weather and you prefer to be in during the accident that you consider inevitable?

It starts with taping up the car before you drive it and ends with the car never leaving a climate controlled storage vault. In between the car spends a lot of time on a trailer ;)

 

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Debating this right now. As it stands, it looks like I'll be getting a second set of wheels wrapped in snow tires. I already have a second car ('98 volvo C70 T5) but had been planning on selling it. Both cars have to sit outside and I'd rather not have to pay the upkeep/insurance on two vehicles.

(PS: Anyone have a beat set of rims for sale? haha)
 

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This can and will be argued forever, but ask yourself:

Which is the better car, the one that will explode if it sees snow or the one that you trust to take you through the snow and other bad weather and you prefer to be in during the accident that you consider inevitable?

It starts with taping up the car before you drive it and ends with the car never leaving a climate controlled storage vault. In between the car spends a lot of time on a trailer ;)
Heh, don't get me wrong, I have driven all my cars in the snow, including 2 beasts. I LOVE it and usually go out on purpose when it snows because it's that much fun (I grew up in Eastern Europe :wroom:) .

That said, even with the best snow tires, the bimmer will not be as good as my Cherokee in the snow. It grabs like crazy with all 4 tires and I can literally drive over or through most obstacles: snow piles, ice boulders, priuses. It's stick shift too, so fun to drive. The lift and bull bar makes me also not care too much about other drivers being stupid. It did NOT cost just $1500, and I don't think you can find a lot of good cars for that money, but I use it for other stuff too, so it was worth it to me.
 

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I picked up a set of quality rims (Rial Salerno) in 17x8 wrapped in really good winter tires with 80% tread for $600 or $650 from a forum member. I've owned several cars driven throughout PA winters and besides picking up some corrosion on the metal underbits, never have seen rust form on the sheetmetal itself in 5 years of driving those cars (that's as long as I kept any of them).

If you are going to pick-up a winter beater, don't look at it as a $1500 throw-away. At those price ranges, you can buy a car today for $5k that will still be worth $5k in a few years.

Look at Jeep Cherokee's (frequently $2-4k), circa 2000 Subaru's (though know their weak points), or if you are adventurous and willing to take a risk - pick up a ~1995-2000 land rover for $4k.

Many people also go find a nice e30 325ix for $5k.

For me, my favorite for winter beater is a 1995-1997 volvo 850 turbo. They can be had dirt cheap, are ridiculously solid cars, reliable with a few minor exceptions (power seat adjustments, stuff like that), and come with alot of comfort features like heated seats. I had a '95 volvo 850 turbo I picked up in 2003 (!) for $3,350 with 113k miles on it. Put 20k on it and spun it sideways into a fallen log hard enough to twist the frame. Then I drove it home and proceeded to drive it for thousands more miles :)

Sold it for over $2k with the now bent frame and broken front bumper/air dam.

That car's 2.3 liter inline 5 cylinder turbo put down very respectable low-end torque and felt great doing it.

...

Damn you, now I'm going to go and shop them out again.

Joe
 

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For me, my favorite for winter beater is a 1995-1997 volvo 850 turbo. They can be had dirt cheap, are ridiculously solid cars, reliable with a few minor exceptions (power seat adjustments, stuff like that), and come with alot of comfort features like heated seats. I had a '95 volvo 850 turbo I picked up in 2003 (!) for $3,350 with 113k miles on it. Put 20k on it and spun it sideways into a fallen log hard enough to twist the frame. Then I drove it home and proceeded to drive it for thousands more miles :)

Sold it for over $2k with the now bent frame and broken front bumper/air dam.

That car's 2.3 liter inline 5 cylinder turbo put down very respectable low-end torque and felt great doing it.

...

Damn you, now I'm going to go and shop them out again.

Joe
cherrsagai

Same basic car under the sheet metal as my C70 with the 2.3l T5. They are surprisingly fast and fun cars. :noSMG: I'd consider keeping it for winter but other than fears of rust (spotless underbody right now on the M5), don't really have a great need or space for a second car.
 
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