Posted on: 5 November 2017
Driving in cold and snowy conditions can be a scary and dangerous experience even for the most experienced drivers. Luckily, there are a few simple ways you can make your car a much more capable and convenient performer throughout the winter months.
Buy a Set of Winter Tires
Installing a set of winter tires is by far the most drastic way to improve your car's cold-weather performance. Most vehicles come stock with a set of all-season tires, which are designed to be a jack of all trades. They'll give you adequate performance throughout the season, but they won't come close to offering the level of traction you'll get from a proper set of winter tires.
Winter tires are constructed with a specially-tuned rubber compound that is designed to remain amply soft when the temperature drops. In contrast, the rubber of your stock all-season tires will be much stiffer when it's below freezing outside. Softer rubber allows the tires to stretch and conform better to the road surface, giving you much better grip in all conditions.
Additionally, winter tires have specially-tuned tread patterns designed to tackle snow. When taking off from a stop or going up a hill in snowy conditions, winter tires will be much better at digging into the snow and moving your vehicle forward. It's like the difference between walking through the snow in winter boots versus sneakers.
Buy a Spare Set of Wheels
Instead of installing winter tires on your stock wheels, buy a spare set of wheels to swap onto your car. While winter tires are a huge improvement in cold and snowy conditions, the rubber compound and tread patterns aren't designed to perform well in warm conditions, so you'll want to swap your all-season tires back on in the spring.
Unfortunately, you can't simply have a tire shop swap your winter tires on and off when the seasons change. Installing and uninstalling tires is harsh on the sidewalls of the tires. If you swap the tires on and off multiple times, the sidewalls can become weakened, making the tires unsafe. However, once you have your winter tires installed on a spare set of wheels, you can easily swap them on and off at home as needed. All that's required is a floor jack and a lug wrench.
Fortify Your Windshield
In addition to traction, visibility is one of the most hazardous aspects of driving in the winter. When snow and ice accumulate on your windshield, it becomes extremely difficult to see the road. Furthermore, ice can form on your windshield wipers, making them almost useless in some conditions.
First, drain out your stock windshield washer fluid and replace it with a specialized de-icing fluid. De-icing fluid eats right through snow and ice, so you won't suddenly find yourself blinded when you have to drive through a storm. You should also keep some de-icer in a spray bottle and coat your windows in it before every storm. That will help keep ice from sticking to the glass so you don't have to spend so much time standing in the cold scraping your windows by hand.Share