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Hi All,

My husband believes my Insight is unsafe for winter conditions because it is too light, and low to the ground blah blah blah. Granted we live in Massachusetts in an area wiht less than ideal winter conditions ( very steep hills, snow, ice, windy because by ocean), but I LOVE MY NEW INSIGHT!! I feel it can be somehow safely "winterized", since it already has front wheel drive and anti-skid brakes.

From what I've gathered from a search on this site I've found it's possible to indeed winterize my baby in the following ways:

1. Narrow tires are better for winter driving conditions. Are they also better for steep snowy, icy hills?

2. The prefrred( or at least most mentioned) winter tire seems to be the Nokian Hakka(peliitta) 1s or 2s in OEM size. What is the difference between the two? I understand that the Qs are best for icy conditons, but wear out faster because they are made out a softer compound.

3. Rims/wheels could be 13" or 14" steel Honda Civic or CRX rims. can the winter tires be put on the original Insight alloys? ( Sorry no tire knowledge here.)

4. Tire pressure should change according to weather/driving conditions.
mid 30s for snow, and even 25 psi for icy conditions. Is this the same for steep snowy hills?

5. There will be problems with ground clearance because of the skirts, and undercoverings. Have people actually gotten stuck or had them come off in the snow?

6. Some sort of heater to warm the IMA battery helps ( either 12V air heater or engine block heater) the former sounds like it is just plugged in somehwere but the latter? Help.

7. Car covers? I bought a covercraft Technalon Evolution to protect my car from the snow, sleet, dirt etc.--- but it's a bit unwieldy to put on quickly and by myself. Do any of you cover your Insights before a big snow? I'm afraid of it ruining the paint.. I had Touch Of Class, CalTex protective (Telfon) coating put on the inside and out, so I imagine it wouldn't stick, but who knows. I know it' s been great for rinsing things off like dirt and bird poop.

8. Snow brushes? The dealer where I bought my car said they use "Sno Pro" to clean off the snow from all the new cars. Anyone here ever use one of these? Again, I dont' want to scratch the paint all up with the cheap plastic snow brushes.

9. Car washing in the winter? I know there was a previous thread on this, but really how does one go about it in New England with the garden hoses now indoors and the outside water turning off soon? I don't want to take it through a commercial automatic car wash--heard too many nightmares. I'm pretty anal about having a clean car inside and out. Am I doomed with "bad car days" all winter?? Any other tips? I don't have a garage but boy do I wish I had one.

My husband doesn't understand my (normal) "obsession" with my car ( FCD, LMPG. MPG, segments, etc) He believes that cars are strictly for getting from place A to B, so you can see what I'm up against. I clean his car out of pity for the car. Please any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, so I can assure him that the Insight is indeed winter safe---or else it's the Bug for me. I look forward to hearing from some of you fellow winter Insighters.

Murasaki
 

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I think I've heard of the underbody covers coming off in deep snow, or maybe it was water or something.

I wouldn't worry about snow getting on your car. I fail to see how that would be harmful. Salty slushy stuff from the side of the road would be bad for cars that would rust, but I don't see how regular snow that falls from the sky could do anything but protect your paint from the elements.
 

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I haven't had the covers come off, but they did peel back a bit in about 6" of heavy wet snow - a sudden, localized storm.

I used just the normal tires all winter, with tire chains (cable type) that I had to put on 2-3 times. Drove it over 8900' mountain pass in a snowstorm, no problems.

It will not handle deep snow, due to the ground clearance, but should be fine for day to day driving.
 

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I use the Nokian Hakka 1 since the (2) did not exist in 2000. My winter tires are still my original year 2000 tires. I have them on standard steel Civic rims and I use standard 14 inch wheel covers.

I do not think that there is much difference between the (1) and the (2)

The size I use is 175/70R14 More on it later.

I use a No-touch car wash. I lower the pressure by 5 psi (from 44 to 39). I actually do not lower the pressure but let it go down as the colder temps lowers the pressure (or tire loss with time)


My very 'personal' view: The tires are the biggest tire that can be comfortably put on the car. They raize the ground clearance by an inch and are wider for a larger contact patch. They give an error on the odometer of 6% so the MPG is showing a lower MPG average but I consider this only a nuisance

I do not think that narrow is better. The difference is very small in the way it needs to cut in snow. I think that bigger diameter is better since it steps on the snow instead of pushing it (an image is a 6 inch wheel in 6 inch snow does push compared to a 6 foot wheel in 6 inch of snow it crushes)
 

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Foxpaw wrote:
I think I've heard of the underbody covers coming off in deep snow, or maybe it was water or something.
I don't think that the panels would come off in water because where I live when it rains really bad and I mean pouring outside, the roads flood really bad, and I know that the lady who lives by me that owns that Green Insight drives her car around when the roads are flooded, and her panels don't come off of her car. As for them comming of in the snow I would say yeah it could happen just like it could happen in water, but usually the roads are plowed(use to live in cold weather) so I wouldn't see them comming off as long as you stay on the road and didn't go in deep snow as well as water. If your worried about the panels comming off then just take them off when it rains real bad and snows real bad, that is what I would do.
 

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The Honda factory engine block heater would be the one you want. Just have it plugged in, on a timer, and fire it up 2 hours before launch.

The only way to help the IMA batteries is keep in a heated garage. Cold should not be as harsh a aging factor as heat.


HTH! :)
 

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Chris said:
Foxpaw wrote:
I think I've heard of the underbody covers coming off in deep snow, or maybe it was water or something.
I don't think that the panels would come off in water because where I live when it rains really bad and I mean pouring outside, the roads flood really bad, and I know that the lady who lives by me that owns that Green Insight drives her car around when the roads are flooded, and her panels don't come off of her car. As for them comming of in the snow I would say yeah it could happen just like it could happen in water, but usually the roads are plowed(use to live in cold weather) so I wouldn't see them comming off as long as you stay on the road and didn't go in deep snow as well as water. If your worried about the panels comming off then just take them off when it rains real bad and snows real bad, that is what I would do.
I'm just saying, I think someone posted a thread here saying that that had happened to them. I don't recall if it was snow or deep water.
 

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Someone recently posted about hitting a puddle that turned out to be more than a puddle and I think they lost part of the front airdam.

I bet that is what you are recalling.

I don't recall any posts about the skirts ever coming off.
 

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The first year I owned my Insight I drove it through the winter. No problem at all. The second year I used my CRX. The question you have to ask yourself is if you feel comfortable driving your Insight in the winter. Winter driving is hazardous for any car with more than a little chance of a fender bender. Most folk don't have the option of driving another car in the winter. You do? My choice to use the CRX had nothing to do with my personal safety as the Insight is in my estimation a safer car. I still feel reasonably safe in the CRX and would much rather put it into a snow bank if you catch my drift (pun intended). When I got back into the Insight this spring it was like owning a brand new car again. I really missed it!


Take a look under some other cars if you get a chance,. Many cars have all kinds of cables muffler components and suspension components hanging down. The Insight appears low but has a very clean underside.

You never Know, Insights may become highly collectable, and Hubby's idea might be the right choice even if his reasoning is wrong. :wink:
 

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Another Massachusetts Insight Driver

I live in MA too. Drove my Insight all winter last year, with no complaints, once I bought some snow tires.

You may have seen one of my posts: I went with Nokain Hakka 2s in OEM size. I've driven jeeps and Audis for years, and found that the Insight with real snow tires had plenty of traction. By contrast, the Insight on the standard tires scared the heck out of me on the first icy day.

I kept the tires at 40 psi, same as I keep the normal tires in the summer. Never had a problem, and kept my mpg in the high 50s. With a full year of experience, I'm hoping to stay above 60 this winter, but we'll see.

I put the tires on a set of CRX alloy rims which I bought on ebay. The seller was local, so I picked them up with no shipping charges, and the total cost was the same as a set of cheap steel wheels. I think they look nicer than the Insight rims; it's a shame the snows are on them... <g>

I take my Insight to drive-through car washes; never had a problem. I wash it by hand in the summer, but in winter the outside hose bibbs are shut off. Besides, I like the drive-throughs because they wash the undercarriage and get the salt off -- even though this car is aluminum, there has to be something that can rust or corrode.

Never had a ground clearance problem. It snowed enough last winter to count as a real winter, but we didn't have the same kind of huge snowfall we've had in other years.

I don't have a battery heater. Never seemed to be a problem.

I don't have a garage; I don't have a car cover. I brush the snow off with a cheap brush, and use my arm (hand in a glove) to get the heavy load off if I'm wearing a waterproof coat -- nice to have a car I can just reach across... But I'm not too finicky about my paint job -- I have two little boys who ride bikes in the driveway all summer, and they can't help but bump the cars with their handlebars every now and then. They try to remember, but I was a little boy myself once. We chalk the occasional scratch up to parenthood. All of which is to say that a little snow can't be any worse.

Get some snow tires; other than that, you don't really need to do anything to get ready for winter.

Yours,
MF

Edit, 11:40 on Saturday morning. Just got the snows on, and then finished shoveling the driveway. Time for some hot cocoa.
 

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As far as other cars go, I can only say that for any winter driving excepting deep snow, I'd rather drive the Insight than my 4WD Toyota pickup. I feel that I have much better control. Now if I had a large variety of cars to choose from, I'd take on of the 80-84 Subarus I used to own. They'd go through darned near anything, and I got such a kick from (as would happen a couple of times each winter) pulling stuck SUVs out of snowbanks :)
 

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I've had the underbody panels come loose a couple of times. It's a heck of a sound when they are dragging on the road! Both times was because of deep snow. If you drive through 5 or more inches, snow, ice and slush will collect under the panels, and the weight causes them to come loose. You have to check them and clean the junk out if anything has accumulated.
 

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I'm not sure why you think a Beetle would be better? It too has a low, low ground clearance.

No one's mentioned the weight. If you're sliding down a hill, a 2000 pound Insight is easier to stop than a 5000 pound "normal" car.
 

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murasaki said:
Hi All,
My husband believes my Insight is unsafe for winter conditions because it is too light, and low to the ground blah blah blah. Granted we live in Massachusetts in an area wiht less than ideal winter conditions ( very steep hills, snow, ice, windy because by ocean), but I LOVE MY NEW INSIGHT!! I feel it can be somehow safely "winterized", since it already has front wheel drive and anti-skid brakes.
So what if he thinks it's "unsafe"?

From what I've gathered from a search on this site I've found it's possible to indeed winterize my baby in the following ways:
The Insight is already a fully capable "winterized" car to begin with, however...

1. Narrow tires are better for winter driving conditions. Are they also better for steep snowy, icy hills?
Nothing is really good for steep icy hills, except perhaps tracks. However, since that's not an option, pick up a good set of snow tires. They will work wonders.

3. Rims/wheels could be 13" or 14" steel Honda Civic or CRX rims. can the winter tires be put on the original Insight alloys? ( Sorry no tire knowledge here.)
Yes, but the salt attacks the wheels. It's better to pick up a cheap set of "steelies" for the winter.

4. Tire pressure should change according to weather/driving conditions.
mid 30s for snow, and even 25 psi for icy conditions. Is this the same for steep snowy hills?
Honestly, I drive with 50 PSI all year. We get plenty of snow an ice here, and I have never had an issue.

5. There will be problems with ground clearance because of the skirts, and undercoverings. Have people actually gotten stuck or had them come off in the snow?
Sometimes. I have high-centered the car doing something stupid, and have torn off the passenger side undertray. It's not the end of the world though.

6. Some sort of heater to warm the IMA battery helps ( either 12V air heater or engine block heater) the former sounds like it is just plugged in somehwere but the latter? Help.
I have not found this necessary, but a block heater would be nice to speed the warmup. The car properly manages the IMA battery regarding temperature, but becuase the tiny 3 cylinder is not much of a heat pump, it can take FOREVER to get up to operating temperature.

7. Car covers? I bought a covercraft Technalon Evolution to protect my car from the snow, sleet, dirt etc.--- but it's a bit unwieldy to put on quickly and by myself. Do any of you cover your Insights before a big snow? I'm afraid of it ruining the paint.. I had Touch Of Class, CalTex protective (Telfon) coating put on the inside and out, so I imagine it wouldn't stick, but who knows. I know it' s been great for rinsing things off like dirt and bird poop.
You'll do more damage with a cover then without. Car covers should NEVER be put on a dirty car. The dirt and grime acts like sandpaper everytime the cover moves. As long as you waxed the car before the snow, you'll be fine.

8. Snow brushes? The dealer where I bought my car said they use "Sno Pro" to clean off the snow from all the new cars. Anyone here ever use one of these? Again, I dont' want to scratch the paint all up with the cheap plastic snow brushes.
I just use a cheap plastic brush, GENTLY. No problems over here.

9. Car washing in the winter? I know there was a previous thread on this, but really how does one go about it in New England with the garden hoses now indoors and the outside water turning off soon? I don't want to take it through a commercial automatic car wash--heard too many nightmares. I'm pretty anal about having a clean car inside and out. Am I doomed with "bad car days" all winter?? Any other tips? I don't have a garage but boy do I wish I had one.
I wash my car by hand in the -40 degree weather around here. But then, maybe I'm crazy.

My husband doesn't understand my (normal) "obsession" with my car ( FCD, LMPG. MPG, segments, etc) He believes that cars are strictly for getting from place A to B, so you can see what I'm up against. I clean his car out of pity for the car. Please any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, so I can assure him that the Insight is indeed winter safe---or else it's the Bug for me. I look forward to hearing from some of you fellow winter Insighters.
Tell your husband to screw off? ;)
 

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Husband is silly?

We drove a 1980 Toyota Tercel as the family car for eight years while I was growing up in Maine. I can't believe that car was any heavier than the Insight except maybe with the five of us in it. My grandparents had a 1974 Corolla in Vermont for a number of years which was then passed to my uncle, who often took it skiing in Maine.

Anyway, I'd be a lot less nervous driving my Insight in snow conditions in New England where they know how to plow and drive in it than the four or five times a year we get snow in the Pacific Northwest.
 
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