Originally Posted by sixshooter
Good to have you on board. Much of what you might want to know as you proceed will be in the FAQ thread.
So you only get to drive the Miata when there is no snow on the ground? What is that, six weeks a year or so?
You know, the summer weather here is perfect for top-down motoring ... most sunshine hours in Canada ... annual total hours is similar to Arizona and as good or better than anywhere else in the US, and if you look at it in terms of summer only, where we're getting 14~18 hours a day from May to September, it's better than anywhere else on the continent.
In June the sun comes up before 4AM and goes down at 10:30PM, and it's "real" sunshine ... not a cloud in a bright blue sky, typically, and no smog. Summer temps normally are in the +20~30 range (70~86F) and it can go to +40 (105F). There's lots of water here (94,000 lakes in SK and if it's not at least a mile long, it's not a "lake", it's a "pond") so, like you in FL, we get plenty of thunderstorms, but they mostly happen late at night ... around 10 PM or so.
Winter (below 0F daytime) starts here sometime in October and is over by early April, usually. My birthday is early November, and about half the time, we haven't had any snow yet by then.
Right now (12 October) it's +20 to 28 in the day (70~78F) and +5~10 at night (40~50F). It's going start to drop below freezing at night in the next two weeks, and probably in the day by November sometime. Last summer was very wet here, like a lot of places, but that's not normal, and I wasn't here then anyway.
We don't get much snow here ... we're too far away from the ocean or the Great Lakes ... everything else freezes over so no moisture from the local lakes. You won't get many or sometimes any winter melts, so whatever falls stays. By the end of winter you can expect somewhere between 6 inches and 2 feet of accumulated snow. Last winter was about 8", the winter before 2 feet ... that was considered a pretty heavy snow year.
I've seen the first snow in late September and I've seen it where it didn't snow once before Christmas, and I've seen it where it melts in February and I've seen it where it hangs around till the end of April.
I've lived in Minneapolis in the winter, where the average winter day is about 5~10F warmer than here ... basically it's 2 months less winter there but the Lake Effect snowstorms they get half a dozen times a year would be once-in-a-decade events here.
People do drive their Miatas in winter here ... they start very well and the heater easily keeps up in the coldest of weather, which is not something you can say for a lot of 4-cylinder cars. Ice is more of an issue on the streets than snow is, although if you get off the main roads you're going to see packed snow too.
But, the Miata isn't my only car, and the Direzza's are useless with even a light dusting of snow (you won't even get moving, period), not to mention any temp below about 40F.
I run Ice Radials on the PT Cruiser + the truck in winter (haven't had to change over yet), but you can only buy so many tires. The Miata will be summer only.
I've used Ice Radials on everything I've owned since the 80's. The best I've found for light cars are the Continental ExtremeWinterContact and for the truck, Cooper WeatherMasters in load ranges C and D. I don't run passenger car tires on my trucks ... what do you have the truck for if you don't haul loads?
The Miata would be sick with the Conti's, by the way, if anyone is curious. Highly recommended ... I've run most of the highly touted tires ... Nokian Hakkapolitas, Bridgestone Blizzaks, Michelin X-Ice, etc
The only other true winter tire I would personally recommend for a Miata are the Bridgestone Blizzaks. If I had to sum it up I'd say you want the Conti's on your car and the Blizzaks on your daughter's car.
FWD is the way to go for overall winter driving, but RWD is way more fun ;-)
People here think nothing of having 4 seasons worth of fun stuff to drive on and off-road; a boat, a quad, a bike and a snow machine in the same yard is hardly unheard of. Some guys have airplanes and if you're a farmer you might have a grass strip ... average farm is 12 sections, some guys farm 20 and 30 (a section is 1 sq mile or 640 acres). I love getting outdoors and I love all four seasons. Winter can be drudgery if you just drive to work and back every day ... you gotta get outside and live a little.
I'm drilling through the FAQ and Rookie Stickies, lots of good stuff there. I'd pretty much ruled out turbos for the engine because the ECM stuff was too intimidating, but you guys have lots of good info there and you're all starting to get me thinking ... Thanks for the shout out.