The change in weather can create challenging conditions for many parts of the country including places that may only experience a couple winter weather events a year. These tips will help you be ready to hit the road when colder weather comes, so that you safely reach your destination even in harsh conditions.
Do I Need to Make the Switch? All Season or Winter and Summer Tires
The most important preparation you can make to get ready for winter is determining if you have the appropriate tire for your vehicle. Most cars these days are sold with all-season tires, but despite the name, they may not be up to the task for winter driving in many some parts of the country. If you live in an area of the country that sees light snow and only brief periods of below-freezing temperatures , an all-season tire like the Hercules Terra Trac Cross-V or Roadtour 855 SPE are both good choices based on the type of vehicle you drive.
However, if you live in an area that experiences regular snow and below-freezing temperatures, all-season tires may not be sufficient. Consumer Reports has proven in testing that winter tires are far better at maintaining traction than all-season tires in snow and ice, whether the car is two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. This is due to different rubber compounds that get better grip in colder weather, tread patterns optimized for ice and snow, as well as options for adding winter studs. These advantages are built into tires like the new Hercules Avalanche RT or Avalanche XUV winter tires that are specially formulated for winter conditions.
The ideal scenario is make the switch to winter tires once temperatures consistently dip below 45 degrees. While you may balk at the cost of buying a set of winter tires, Hercules is committed to helping everyone get affordable tires for all vehicle types. The extra investment will also give you confidence when accelerating and braking during winter driving conditions.
Other Important Winter Considerations:
Winter tires aren't the only thing your vehicle needs in colder weather. If you need an oil change, make sure that you use the correct type of oil, as some manufacturers may specify two different types of oil for warm and extremely cold weather. At the same time, check coolant levels to make sure the antifreeze is mixed with distilled water at a 50:50 ratio. You'll also want to test your battery, as the cold weather can make them unable to hold a charge as well as they did before.
Other important things to check are your windshield wipers and fluid. Make sure you replace your old wipers, and that the windshield wiper fluid is rated for cold-weather so that it doesn't freeze. It's also highly recommended to keep a box of cold-weather supplies in your vehicle like an ice scraper, a cell phone power bank, a first aid kit, some non-perishable snacks and water, a flashlight, sand for traction if you get stuck, jumper cables, a thermal blanket and extra warm clothes in the rare event that you get stuck.
Lastly, don't leave home without clearing the snow and ice off of your vehicle. Flying chunks of ice and snow can cause serious accidents or damage to the cars behind you. Cleaning your car off is necessary to keep everyone safe on the road, and it should be done after every accumulation.