Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Winter Driving Woes


There's lot of fun winter things to do in our area... skating on an outdoor rink or pond, cross country skiing across a frozen lake, downhill skiing at a nearby mountain park, tobogganing. Some of these activities are within walking distance of the house but others require driving.

Ice Magic Festival, Lake Louise AB January 2017
Winter driving as a whole doesn't bother me but there are a few things about it that do; noisy tires, increased fuel consumption and dirty cars.

Winter tires usually have a more aggressive tread pattern than summer tires which tend to generate more road noise. Add studs into the mix and the noise level goes up. The winter tires on our Festiva are studded and the noise generated is considerably louder than the all-season tires we run most of the year. I normally wouldn't run studded tires but when you find a deal like I did for them you don't complain too much. How good a deal you ask? Well I'll tell you. The tires were only 6 months old when I got them, they were already mounted on suitable rims and cost less than $75.00 for all four!

Studded Hankook I-Pike winter tires

Fuel consumption also tends to go up over the winter. There are a lot of factors that play into this one; winter traffic jams, idling to warm up, cold batteries... the alternator has to work harder, thickened fluids on start up particularly engine and transmission oil, but the biggest offender I think is "winter gas".

Gasoline refiners change their formulas in winter to help the gas evaporate faster and therefore burn faster. I don't know what they did this year but I noticed a significant increase in fuel use in both the Festiva and our Ford Escape, more-so in the Festiva.

Driving in the deep stuff
Hard to keep clean

I like to keep our vehicles clean and the winter brings additional challenges. Vehicles tend to get dirty much faster than in the summer time which means that they need to be washed more often. Washing a car in the summer is easy... drive it into the car wash, wash it, and drive it out. With winter's freezing temperatures that's not the case. Steps have to be taken so that locks, doors and windows don't freeze up. I've found that if it does happen it does so at a most inconvenient time. Windows freeze up when you're in the drive-through at your favorite place and there's a long line behind you! Locks freeze up when you're in a hurry and running late! Lock de-icer comes in handy but it's not much use if it's in the glovebox and you're outside trying to get in.  

What are your winter driving woes or better yet, suggestions you have to make winter driving more bearable. Leave us a comment to let us know.

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