Tag Archives: winter

winter driving

What’s The Difference Between Winter and All Season Tires

The winter season is upon us, which means cold temperatures, snow, and ice will cause adverse driving conditions.  Which tire you equip your vehicle with can have a positive or negative effect on your winter driving ability.  This article will talk about the differences between winter and summer tires, more typically called summer tires.

Let’s look at the most obvious difference, tread pattern.  The tread pattern on winter tires are designed to assist in slush, ice, and snow.  The ability to channel snow and slush will assist in keeping rubber contact with the road.  This contact will ultimately lead to a more stable control of your automobile, whether it’s a front wheel drive car, minivan or 4×4 SUV.

Continue reading

prepare for winter

Is Your Car Ready For Winter?

It’s that time of year again, when the snow starts falling and bloggers start making recommendations for winterizing vehicles.  Here at the Grayline, we are no different and we have our own ideas on what it means to be winter prepared.  So come on cold weather, this household has taken steps to ensure we can get around when mother nature does her worst.

Preparing your vehicle for winter means actually performing the maintenance you put off all summer.  Inspection and replacement will head up the effort, which includes fluid levels, tire wear, and making sure all lights are working.  It may sound simple, but low tire pressure and worn out wiper blades compound and multiply in the winter months.

Continue reading

4 Wheel Drive In Snow Is Not 4 Wheel Brakes

4 Wheel Drive vehicles are fantastic to have in snow emergency situations, especially like those currently striking the Midwest.  I personally have a Jeep Grand Cherokee that gets me around in the snow, ice, mud, and whatever else gets thrown my way.  It instills confidence in myself and my wife’s driving when behind the wheel during questionable conditions.  The 4 wheel drive also allows us to provide services to friends and families who are unable to get out during the 8 inches of snow that have fallen in the past 24 hours.  But when we are out running, we also play it smart, by respecting the 4 wheel drive.

Having 4 wheel drive allows easier movement and perhaps even a more controlled movement in adverse weather conditions like snow.  However, introduce ice and having 4 wheel drive does nothing for stopping and can complicate matters during certain maneuvers.  When possible, only use part-time 4 wheel drive.  Moving at highway speeds in all wheel 4 wheel drive can cause instability and becomes less safe than moving in along snow and ice in normal 2 wheel rear-wheel drive.

Still allow time to stop before an intersection, you will not be stopping any better than that small Honda Civic in front of you.  Consider the life left in your tires when setting out on a wintery mix adventure, 4 wheels might be turning but if there is no grip left, it’s all for naught.

Go prepared, don’t think you are immune to being stranded while driving a 4 wheel drive vehicle.  Make sure your vehicle is stocked with snacks, water, blankets, and first aid kits, should the worse happen.  During a blizzard most towing companies will not come to your aid until after the storm passes, so you may be stranded for hours.  Those shriveled up raisins start looking awfully tasty after setting for 3 hours in total darkness.

Lastly, if you don’t have to be out, just stay home.  Don’t go play with your 4 wheel drive, let the emergency vehicles and road workers do their job.  Don’t risk becoming another emergency phone call into 911, if you are able to stay home, make some hot chocolate and enjoy being snowed in.

Tips For Working On Your Car In The Cold

A broken down car sucks, being stranded sucks, and being out in the cold sucks.  Basically there is no way around being in a sucky situation when you must work on your car in the middle of winter.  However, there are tools, items, and tips that will help you brave the elements and make them slightly more bearable.  Although some of these are simple, it’s important to be reminded.

Gloves – Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, big duh.  But I’m not talking about the cute little mittens grandma made you for Christmas, I’m talking about some rough leather gloves or some padded mechanix gloves.  You need to protect those hands from cold metal, sharp edges, and the occasional smashed finger.  Try changing the oil in some suede or faux whatever and you have the formula for destroyed winter hand accessories.  Throw an extra pair in the glove box or in a side holder where you can get to them quickly and forget about it untill you really need them.

Nuts and Snacks – Maybe it’s obvious here my mind always is, constantly planning my next meal. Thankfully that’s normally not a problem, but when a car breaks down it puts a hamper on my dinner plans. The stress of not making it on time to my next food source is compounded by cold temperatures and frigid winds. Simply having some salty snacks like peanuts or having a sweet non perishable like raisins makes the wait more bearable.

Chargers – I’m guilty of not always having a charger for my cell phone or other electronics in my car. It’s because I’m cheap and not always because I live in the stone age. This is not a good practice, especially with my wife and daughter riding with me more times than not. Just a simple flat tire could have been more tolerable for my daughter if I had the tablet charger. Also, that more severe break down that was over my head would have seemed a lot less stressful had I had a way to recharge my phone. Long walks on cold winter nights are no fun.

Blankets – I wish more of what my father has taught me over the years had stuck, thankfully this tip will always be with me. When it starts getting cold, start keeping at least a couple blankets in the trunk of the car. Worst case scenarios are obviously not the norm, but I’d rather be prepared and keep myself and my family from freezing. It’s worth the few extra bucks to keep some old comforters or quilts in the back in case we have to spend the night on the highway.

More than just being an educational post, this should serve as a friendly reminder to always be prepared when you are out in the highways and byways. Also, be sure to help others if you came prepared and see a fellow traveler in need. Spread the karma around.

Electric Vehicle Concerns for Winter

[ad#Top of Post Left]The big push for electric vehicles or EV, has been targeted at large population centers.  Specifically in the US, where pollution, traffic, and even safety can be bettered if more people drove short distance electric vehicles.  However, as EV owners are finding out, there are more bumps in the road when driving an all electric commuter.

Most notably is the recent outcry by individuals who find that their electric vehicles distance capabilities are greatly decreased during the winter months.  Heating the cabin of a vehicle requires a lot of extra energy from the battery, energy that would normally be used to spin the tires to advertised lengths.  However, large population centers like New York and Chicago get quite cold during the winter, lowering the usability of green technology.

Some work has been put into redesigning EV cabins, to supposedly make them super insulated.  There are designs being tested right now that claim to be able to heat a cars cabin using only the passengers body heat.  Unfortunately, this isn’t being put to use right now and those frigid winters in the Windy City are mighty freightening in a tiny little electric car.

Consideration is also being given to electric vehicles that remain on a power grid, which would allow them to be preheated before the driver even gets in the car.  However, some doubts have been raised over any savings that would normally be made by driving an all electric vehicle during the colder months of the year.  Turns out that the  inefficient internal combustion motor is great at giving off heat and providing a toasty drive to work in January.