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Discussion Starter #1
This is my frist car with ABS, Traction Control and Stability Control. I appreciate that Mazda allows you to turn off the DSC. My last car was an 2002 Mazda Protege with no electronic aids (ABS, traction, etc.).

We've finally received significant rain in San Diego. I'm impressed with the system and it's ability to help the car maintain it's lane (rather than sliding to the next lane). It also seems to help on slippery starts.

I'm curious how the DSC system does in more severe climates especially on ice. Also, how does DSC compare to systems in other cars you've had?
 

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This is my frist car with ABS, Traction Control and Stability Control. I appreciate that Mazda allows you to turn off the DSC. My last car was an 2002 Mazda Protege with no electronic aids (ABS, traction, etc.).

We've finally received significant rain in San Diego. I'm impressed with the system and it's ability to help the car maintain it's lane (rather than sliding to the next lane). It also seems to help on slippery starts.

I'm curious how the DSC system does in more severe climates especially on ice. Also, how does DSC compare to systems in other cars you've had?
I live in the northwest chicagoland which got 7 inches of snow. Lots of freezing temps and some ice on the roads. Having the stock tires and rims on it, the traction control really helps get going on snow, but its not a foolproof system. I still had several occasions where i could not get traction to get going, especially when i was stopped on a hill trying to go up it when the light turned green.

It seems to work great in the rain and other conditions to prevent you from breaking the tires loose...keeping me safe and my rubber lasting a little longer.
 

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yea i live in MA and we to just got snow.. my driveway is steep and had some ice on it! and the car barely made it up.. but i think thats every car and ice.. but in the rain its really good i have no problems!
 

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i got stuck this morning. woot. and i actually had to turn the DSC off so i could rock the car since i was doing it all solo. when i had it on, it just kept killing the power as the tired slid more. had i not let off and engaged the clutch it probably would have stalled the engine to stop it from spinning the tires. pretty good system i'd say.
 

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most of the time its really annoying, but in inclement weather it can be useful.
 

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On my way home from work this morning, I had a chance to test the DSC out a little. We just got a light covering of snow so on a couple back roads I decided to see how the DSC did. In most cases, I feel that it definately added to the stability of the car. In one case, while accelerating into an easy "s bend", the car seemed to fish tail back and forth a few times. It seemed very unnatural, considering I was not swinging the wheel back and forth, but it did recover on it's own.

Overall, I like the system and I don't find that it interferes with regular driving or is annoying in any sense.
 

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if anything interferes with regular driving at all, it's the stock tires. they are useless. i wonder how the system responds with GOOD tires. i may as well have slicks on.
 

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Compared to the 04 caddy i had this cars DSC is shit. Most of the time i just turn it off. The DSC is overbearing in this car. In my Caddy the dsc didnt feel like it was retarding the car it just did its job. The mazda i cant even tolerate it it just is way to interfering.
Ditto! I have DSC on my G35 (Infiniti's version of it) and the Mazda's system is way to active. Driving in the snow (with good tires!) the car feels like it wants to kill its self way too often.
I'm glad it's defeatable though.
 

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AH DCS!!!! a blessing and a curse.... For your question of how it deals in snow /ice. Well Im in Calgary Canada and its been winter for a month now. -30F this morning. The key thing to remember its an assit system. DCS does everything in its ability to take driver input (speed /steering wheel direction/ ABS) and brakes are applied on individual wheel(s) to ensure your car is driving in the right direction as to your steering input. Failure or lack of success to this is that tire grip plays a critical role to its ability to do it in an effective manner.

In rainy conditions loss of grip is usually for a slight period of time (less than a second) by hydroplaning Once grip is regained the DCS/ABS can get you back on track to your steering inputs.

On true ice /snow conditions grip is so poor for such a long period of time, tire grip becomes critical to success. Tire grip is not neccesarily related to just tire tred depth but cold weather turns tire rubber very hard (think hockey puck on a hockey rink). I run true winter tires the rubber is very soft and pliable even at very low temperatures. Winter tires also have sipes on tires (slits on the tire that act as squeegees -remember ice does not cause you to slip but the thin water layer between the ice and your tire caused by ice melting from the initial friction of the tire) and many tires have studs (metal picks in the tire ) that dig into ice and give you grip. So think of the DCS/ABS system on snow and ice as a measured help - but definiately will not save you every time.

I work as a firefighter/paramedic and I cant tell you how many times I have gone to MVA to a single vehicle rollover, there $40 000 pick up rolled over and the guy fine - stating - I have ABS and DCS but the truck still went sideways and hit the ditch.

If I had a choice between DCS and really kickin winter tires - i would choose tires.
 

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^ excellent reply!^ Get better tires!

I swapped my stockers with 250 miles on them for Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S. I know they are not a dedicated snow tire but they are still worlds better than the stockers!
 

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The 2010 3 is my first new car -- my older ones were all decade+ old beaters with very few features. Never had ABS before, never had DSC (or ESC, which I believe is the non-Mazda-branded term for it). So I've become an expert "break pumper" in my almost 10 years of Minnesota winter driving.

Despite the fact that it doesn't technically start till Dec. 21, winter is here AFAIC. It's regularly 0'F out, and there's snow all over the roads. Good enough for me.

A couple days ago I was on an abandoned straight stretch of road. Due to either poor plowing or inconsistent salting, I drove over a patch in which both left tires were completely on top of nicely packed down snow -- and both right tires were on perfectly dry pavement.

I decided to test the safety features my salesman had briefly mentioned, and slammed on the brakes. Sure enough, there was no horizontal rotation -- nose straight forward, and the car came to a quick stop.

From my understanding, ABS and DSC are very closely intertwined. You can't have the latter without the former. If I had had my DSC switch off would the car have rotated? Was this behavior a result of ABS or the slightly more futuristic DSC? Or is DSC just used for curve correction when traction is lost in a turn? I played around with that button a bit in the summer, but never noticed a huge difference when I pushed the car to its limits. Haven't had a chance to get a feel for it in snowy conditions yet. Though I'll be testing around in the next couple months.
 

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from what I understand, the DSC manipulates the ABS on individual wheels as well as altering engine output in order to maintain "stability". you'd still have the ABS if you had toggled DSC off, but it'd likely be the traditional 4 wheel ABS.
 

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from what I understand, the DSC manipulates the ABS on individual wheels as well as altering engine output in order to maintain "stability". you'd still have the ABS if you had toggled DSC off, but it'd likely be the traditional 4 wheel ABS.
Yep, this is one of my main reasons for never turning it off.
 

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i leave it on in the rain, especially tonight i was hydroplaning like crazy x.x
 

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Alaska offers some of the most challenging winter roads. I drive both an AWD Subaru Legacy and the FWD Mazda 3. The weight of each vehicle is nearly the same, both with 2.5L engines and similar outputs each running winter tires.

Subaru's AWD is balanced and offers excellent straight-line stability on it's own. The Subaru offers easy off-the-line start with no wheel spin. Stopping with ABS is swift. Without DSC however, the car can drift sideways while turning corners or stopping quickly but is easy to correct by adding power and steering to the intended direction.

The Mazda is balanced but the suspension isn't as advanced as the Subaru and does allow the vehicle to be pulled by road imperfections. On slippery roads, accelerating from stop, wheel spin is certain until traction control limits spin to available traction. The DSC will attempt to correct any event where the vehicle direction is not matched by wheel input.

What that looks like is that if both cars approach the same standing water affecting the left wheels. The Subaru will power through by shifting power to the right wheels and require the driver to correct any directional change. The Mazda will float into the standing water and cut power to the left wheel and then as the vehicle direction changes DSC will apply brakes to each wheel to bring the speed down until the steering input and power output match the vehicles ability to apply power and direction.

Both cars rely on available traction to correct driving situations. AWD shifts power/torque output and DSC cuts power to match traction. In all cases the tires are key and the stock tires absolutely suck for winter driving--for both vehicles.
 

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all i can say based on my experienced lately is that..mazda3 DSC/TCS is not adequate/sophisticated enough compared to AWD.
 

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The Mazda3 isn't AWD but handles about as well or better than the Subaru--except the road rut wandering that doesn't seem to affect the Subaru as much at the Mazda. The DSC works pretty well with good winter tires.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
My Mazda 3 handles very well and is predictable. I rarely noticed the DSC until we saw rain a few weeks back. It had been dry here since I bought the car in August.

Last night, we had standing water on the San Diego highways after continued rain. I slowed 50 or 60 mph on my way home (down from the posted 65 mph that's mostly ignored when it's dry). I was very happy to have the DSC including the traction control and ABS that are a part of it. The DSC took away the slipping and cut into the throttle when the wheels started to slip. For me it's a great benefit for emergencies and wet roads. The rest of the time I don't notice it and I'm very happy Mazda gave us the ability to turn it off.

I did notice the tires getting loose in standing water or floating and believe better tires would help. San Diego is dry most of the time and the worst we see is wet roads. The worst roads are after the first rain when oil and other material mixes with raind and makes roads slippery.

I'd love to have a Subaru Legacy GT or other AWD vehicle but it's rare we need the AWD. For the rare occasions I travel to local mountains all season tires and DSC will be a big help.
 

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^ excellent reply!^ Get better tires!

I swapped my stockers with 250 miles on them for Michelin Pilot Exalto A/S. I know they are not a dedicated snow tire but they are still worlds better than the stockers!
Off topic: Is the ride any quieter with the new tires? I'm trying to figure out if the noise in the car is road noise from the tires.

On topic: In normal driving, to include rain coming down so hard I could barely see the stripe on the shoulder, I've never had the DSC kick in. The only time I could get it to activate was by purposely putting the front tires on a patch of ice and gunning it.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I've been looking at the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus as a replacement for the stock tires. TireRack liked the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S Plus until recently when they started saying other tires were better. The Pirelli PZero Nero All Season is rated higher. However, the Pirelli doesn't come in 205/50/17 and doesn't have a treadwear warranty. The Michelin comes in the 205/50/17 and have a warranty.
 
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