The Ford Mustang has typical sports car qualities–sharp handling, thrilling speed, and exquisite styling. Many claim the Mustang cannot drive in snow, given its small size and RWD drivetrain. Are these claims correct? Find out in this article.
Here is the short answer about whether the Ford Mustang is good for snow and winter driving:
The Mustang comes with several features that enhance traction and stability in slick conditions prevalent in winter. A rear-wheel-drive model, Ford Mustang isn’t the best car for snow. But with improved driving skills and plenty of caution, your Mustang should be drivable in winter.
Is a Ford Mustang Good in the Snow?
Detractors often point to the Mustang’s rear-wheel-drive platform as proof that it drives poorly in snow. And they are not entirely wrong–RWD vehicles are less suited to driving in snow than other models.
Because the weight on the rear axle is minimal, rear-wheel-drive models often have their rear wheels slip when driving on snow. This is called “fishtailing” and some Mustang owners have reported experiencing it.
Does this mean you can’t drive in snow? No, it doesn’t. Learning useful winter driving skills can help you avoid rear wheel slips when driving in snow.
If you look past its small size, the Mustang actually makes for a great snow driver. Its lightweight nature allows you to regain control if it slides in snow. Additionally, it sits much closer to the ground, which helps it stay balanced on roads, including those covered in snow.
However, there’s a limit to your Mustang’s drivability in snow. We wouldn’t advise driving your Mustang after a heavy snowfall, as the car’s low ground clearance limits its performance in deep snow.
What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?
The Mustang is hardly the best vehicle for traveling in winter, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely bad, either. The Mustang’s decent winter driving capabilities are due to the following features:
Traction Control System
The Mustang’s Traction Control System ensures its wheels don’t lose their grip and start slipping in slick conditions. By preventing wheel slip, the TCS keeps your Mustang from sliding off roads.
The Traction Control System uses several sensors to detect when your wheels start slipping. Once it does, it will apply the brakes on the slipping wheels to reduce their slipping. This stops the tires from slipping and allows them to grip the road properly.
In addition, the Traction Control System will perform ‘engine braking’, which is reducing engine speed. This limits power to the wheels and decreases wheel spin, preventing wheel slip.
Electronic Stability Control
The Electronic Stability Control system works to maximize your Mustang’s stability while driving. On winter roads, the ESC system prevents loss of traction and control, both of which reduce your vehicle’s stability.
The ESC continuously monitors your car’s wheel speed, steering angle, and rate of acceleration via sensors. This enables it to determine if your car is stable or not.
If ESC judges your vehicle to be unstable and likely to go out of control, it will activate to prevent an out-of-control situation.
First, it will reduce engine performance to reduce your vehicle’s acceleration and restore control. Then it will apply the brakes on the wheels to stop the vehicle from skidding off the road.
Antilock Brake System
The Antilock Brake System on your Mustang increases your ability to brake safely on wet roads. Without it, your wheels could lock while you brake and make your vehicle enter a skid.
You generate brake power when you brake; and sometimes, you need to brake harder, and generate higher braking power, for quicker stops. However, excessive brake power on your wheels can cause them to cease spinning, causing your wheels to lock.
ABS is designed to protect your car from wheel lock–even if you brake hard. The system can sense when a wheel may stop spinning due to excessive brake power and forestall this. It will reduce brake power on that wheel to stop it from locking.
Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Like the ABS feature, the Electronic Brake Force Distribution averts wheel lock under hard braking. However, instead of reducing brake power, EBD redistributes it across the wheels so no wheel receives more brake power than it can handle.
This prevents application of excess brake power on any of your wheels and preempts wheel lock.
Emergency Brake Assist
The Mustang uses Ford’s Emergency Brake Assist system that reduces the time it takes a vehicle to stop after you applied the brakes. Brake Assist makes winter driving safer by enabling you to brake faster in slick conditions.
When you apply the brakes, you may not apply enough force for your vehicle to halt. The EBA system will sense when you do not apply enough force and increase it if necessary.
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Does a Mustang Have Snow Mode?
The Ford Mustang has an Adjustable Driving Mode feature that allows you to adjust steering, stability control, and throttle response to suit various road conditions. It has different preset modes you can select, including one for driving in snow/wet conditions.
Pressing Snow/Wet Mode on your Mustang will reduce engine power and improve wheel spin. Together, these actions help increase your vehicle’s stability and traction in snow.
Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Mustang?
Owners say it’s possible to install snow gear on a Ford Mustang. Snow chains are a popular piece of snow gear used by many Mustang owners. Snow chains go on your tires and increase grip on snowed-out roads. This stops your wheels from sliding in snow, preventing loss of stability on your vehicle.
Snow socks are another piece of snow gear you can consider. Like snow chains, snow socks fit on your tires and improve traction in snowy conditions to an extent. However, they are illegal in certain regions, so check local laws to see if it’s legal to fit snow socks on your tires.
How Much Snow Can a Mustang Handle?
The Ford Mustang has a low ground clearance of 5.7 inches. As such, it is limited to driving in light snow.
The Mustang cannot handle thick snow because it sits close to the ground. If it were to drive in such conditions, snow would fill the wheel wells, causing your vehicle to stop moving.
The Mustang is good for use in areas where winter is mild and brings light snowfall with it. But, if you commute in an area where harsh winters are common, you should choose another alternative.
We also have an interesting article on Ford Mustang facts and statistics you should know
How Do Mustangs Handle Low Winter Temperatures?
For many years, Fords manufactured Mustangs that used carburetors in their engines. These models ran poorly in low-temperature conditions such as winter. Why? Carbureted engines find it difficult to reach operating temperatures in cold weather.
However, newer Mustangs use Electronic Fuel Injection systems in place of carburetors. EFI-equipped engines reach operating temperatures faster, even in low temperatures. Thus, they often run well in winter, and will still run when temperatures dip to subzero levels.
If you’re using a classic Mustang with a carburetor, it may have difficulty operating in cold weather. However, if you’re using a modern Mustang that uses Electronic Fuel Injection, it should have no problems running well in freezing temperatures.
Can a Ford Mustang Drive on Ice?
Due to their rear-wheel-drive nature, Mustangs are difficult to drive in icy conditions. Rear-wheel-drive vehicles such as the Mustang have less weight over the main drive wheel, which makes it hard to accelerate on icy roads.
Moreover, RWD-equipped vehicles are more prone to losing control on ice. Particularly “fishtailing”, which refers to a situation in which your rear wheels bottom out, is common on Mustangs.
However, we have some tips that can make your Mustang drivable in icy conditions:
- Increase the weight in your vehicle’s rear area: Since Mustangs are RWD vehicles; the rear has less weight and can easily slip. Owners suggest placing bags of sand in your trunk to give the rear more weight and stability.
- Use the Traction Control and Electronic Stability Control: These two features are designed to prevent your car from losing traction, particularly on slippery pavement. Using them will stop your vehicle from going out of control and help it remain stable on icy roads.
- Drive carefully: We cannot overemphasize this. RWD makes a Mustang a bad, if not the worst, vehicle to drive on ice. You would only increase risk of a road mishap by driving on icy roads like a racecar driver. Maintain a reasonable speed while traveling on roads covered with ice. Avoid making any sharp turns.
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Does the Mustang Have 4WD?
The Mustangs don’t come equipped with 4WD, which would’ve improved winter driving somewhat. Rather, Mustangs have a rear-wheel-drive drivetrain, which is poorer in winter compared to AWD or 4WD.
Still, you can learn to drive in winter with RWD. A great deal of owners have done this and report experiencing less risky winter driving.
What About Older Mustang Models And Winter Driving?
Most old model Ford Mustangs didn’t have features designed to aid winter driving. For instance, Mustangs didn’t get Anti-Lock Brakes until the 90s.
Similarly, Traction Control was first offered as an option on Mustangs in 1999. The lack of such safety features leaves us to conclude that the early Mustangs aren’t good for winter driving.
Do Mustang Need Snow Tires?
Among Mustang owners, there’s a consensus that snow tires can significantly improve performance in winter conditions (ice, snow, and slush). Snow tires are non-negotiable if you want to drive in winter.
Stock all-season tires, designed for use in different weather conditions, are poor in winter. By comparison, snow tires offer first-rate traction and stability in winter weather.
Can You Mount A Snow Plow On A Mustang
You cannot mount a snow plow on a Mustang. The vehicle is a muscle car designed for adrenaline-pumping performance on the drag strip, not shoveling snow off the pavement.