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Well, it's not right here yet. But I bought my Exige around easter and I live in Norway and I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the car under winter conditions. Or should I just park it in the garage until spring comes?

How does it handle on snow/ice? Do I need to worry about the open engine solution (and the fact that it might snow right onto the engine? Any other winter precautions I should be aware of?
 

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Well, it's not right here yet. But I bought my Exige around easter and I live in Norway and I was wondering if anyone has any experience with the car under winter conditions. Or should I just park it in the garage until spring comes?

How does it handle on snow/ice? Do I need to worry about the open engine solution (and the fact that it might snow right onto the engine? Any other winter precautions I should be aware of?
I don't see the Exige as a winter-friendly car. A rather high power-to-weight ratio and a mid-engine layout in snowy and icy conditions has disaster written all over it. As if that wasn't enough, you'll risk getting rear-ended since your car will stop a lot faster than others in difficult conditions.

Winter here isn't exactly Exige-friendly either:

  • Your suspension in untreated against rust.
  • Bare aluminum corrodes badly when it is exposed to salted roads and there is a lot of it on these cars.
  • Plastic and fiberglass does not really work well in the cold
  • The front on these cars is low. A lump of ice or snow could easily get you a $5,000 fix/paint job.
And the list goes on, salted roads being the biggest no-no...

When winter comes I advice you to park it and buy another car. Any car as long as it runs through the winter. Or take the bus, whatever. Exiges don't do well as a car number one...
 

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I'm guessing this also applies to Elises. But I can keep driving it until the snow starts, right? I just cannot imagine having to drive the accord everyday for 3-5 months :(
 

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I'm guessing this also applies to Elises. But I can keep driving it until the snow starts, right? I just cannot imagine having to drive the accord everyday for 3-5 months :(
For everything but the power to weight ratio.

I put my car away when it drops below 5 C since that is about when you risk hitting salted roads.......
 

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And now for the counterpoint

Yes, you can drive an Elise in the winter. I have a second set of wheels, and the correct snow tires. The handling is fine, the hard top is snug, and the heater is great (much better than the AC). Because you can doesn't mean you want to. You do have to be even more careful. BTW it isn't just big SUV's who think they can defy the laws of physics; I see plenty of small front-drivers go into a slide, too.

You have to watch out for deep snow, and no car works well on ice (I guess maybe if you have studded tires, which aren't legal in too many places in the US anyway).

But, with the proper wheels, tires, and paying the right amount of attention, it's no worse than anything else.
 

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The car is fine in the cold, terrifying in snow.

Cold tires don't have as much grip, but the car drives fine on cold and clear days. The heater rocks.

In snow, things change. On stock tires, just don't do it. Been there, done that (had to), won't ever do it again. I'd call a cab before I drove an Elise in snow on stock tires.

I don't have experience on snow with real snow tires. Pirelli Snow Sports get the nod from Lotus (see your manual) and other places. This gives you a fighting chance in light snow.

Ground clearance is an issue. I hit a rabbit last week and it costs $2,000 US to fix. The clam can be fixed, but taking it on and off is a lot of labor. If you hit something more substantial, it may cost you a new clam and $5,000 US.

My advice: not in snow, but OK in the cold if you take it easy.
 

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Another winter tire which I have had great experience with on my 2005 Elise is the Nokian WR G2, which I'm running on Sector 111 Ethos wheels. For rough pavement, expansion gaps, and survivability, I stepped down from 16"/17" wheels to 15"/16" and the extra bit of sidewall makes a huge difference in comfort here in the northeast, while sacrificing very, very little in terms of handling or fun.
 

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yeah, unless you get stranded in a snowstorm why would a lotus owner willingly drive one in the winter?

chances are if you can afford a lotus (old or new)... than you should be able to budget a few grand for a decent beater/2nd car (hell i bought my 94 civic for $550 off craigslist & the way it sits now is no less reliable as a commuter than my Elise)

& ill agree with Iveria that snow isnt the problem with an Elise (since a set of blizzaks & very cautious driving will get a Lotus through the snow just fine)... but why expose a car you care about to the elements of winter like salted roads & potholes created by plow trucks & ice chunks in the road that could damage the clams instantly

its not smart when there are many affordable options available to keep Lotus off those types of conditions

oh & resale value... if you get interest from a potential smart buyer when it comes time to sell your Lotus i bet they wont be too excited to buy one that was winter driven unless the deal is too sweet to pass up (& it will be noticable if you let the salt eat away at that car through the winter months, especially on the suspension parts that arent aluminum)

i certainly wouldnt even contemplate buying an enthusiast car that was driven in winter conditions
 

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Now i need a fun car for winter, buick regal here i come
 

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I live in an area that has Winter for 8-9 months of the year and there's no way that I'm tempted to drive in it with the Exige even if it kills me with anticipation to get it out of the garage. I just sit in her a few times a month, start her up and leave her running to keep the fluids moving and cycled through. Drive back and forth to keep the tires from flat-spotting and works the transmission at the same time. All that good chit.
Other than that, no way is she seeing Winter. The chance of an accident at any time in the year in a Lotus would suck. Accident rates go up in Winter and wouldn't want to be in it when a pick-up or SUV loses control around me. So many other issues like mentioned. Fragile and expensive body pieces, low to the ground, and salt corrosion. I'm sure you can find good snow/ice tires, but why punish your car, unless your getting it for Winter rallies, or ice race events.
As for snow and/or freezing rain getting through the engine hatch mesh and freezing the engine,......I wouldn't say that would be great either.
All around, just say no to Winter.
 

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Once again, on the other hand, I've never seen a response to a for sale ad here that asked whether the car had seen winter driving. What you often see is whether it's been raced or autocrossed, accidents, modified, salvage or rebuild, repainted, smoker, oil lines, toe links, does it have sport/track/touring package, original exhaust/wheels, hardtop, starshield, etc., with raced/autocrossed seemingly the number one question.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the feedback, I think I'll stick it into a garage, at least this first winter.
 

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Once again, on the other hand, I've never seen a response to a for sale ad here that asked whether the car had seen winter driving.
to be fair, i think most of that has to do with the fact that nobody would ever think they would have been driven in snow to begin with...

however there are a few members on this forum that do winter driving... & had i not known & one day went to pursue a purchase of one of those cars i bet i could tell a significant difference in quality/shape between some of the parts on those cars compared to another lotus not driven in those elements

that would certainly be enough for me to move in another direction
 

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I use the car yr round.

While I don't take it out in snow, I can come back from a trip when it's snowed/snowing.

I use all-seasons, Kuhmo.

MOST important is the salt issue.

I got Salt-Away, a marine store product (Amazon too), hook it up to hose and garden sprinkler and neutralize the salt.
 

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yea... salt AND other drivers are what you have to be careful about. You should just spend some $$$ for a cheap car to drive in the winter. Like a honda or something.

You'll definitely need proper tires. I'm even afraid to drive my car in light rain. It's good to have another car for those conditions (subaru & mini :))
 
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