There are a handful of “helpful” winter car care and driving tips/images circulating around Facebook and other social media platforms. We recommend you don’t follow those. Here’s a list of some popular ones you will regret actually using.
- Defrost your windshield with a pot of hot water
This will more than likely lead to a shattered windshield. This is because the extreme change in temperature causes the already brittle glass to flex and shatter. If you want a simple homemade “de-icer,” mix just two parts of rubbing alcohol to one part water in a spray bottle and apply liberally to effected area.
- Leave Your headlights on overnight to avoid them freezing
The only thing this will leave you with is a dead car battery and probably a headache from dealing with it.
- Your breaks might freeze, be sure to add antifreeze to prevent this
Please do NOT add antifreeze to your break lines. This can lead to a whole slew of damages, including the possibly of full break system replacement or at the very least your breaks will need to be drained and refilled. Break fluid is designed to work at a specific pressure. Adding a foreign fluid to this could make your breaks stop functioning all together.
- Add screws to your tires for better traction
If you do this you’ll have such great traction that your car won’t move anywhere, because all of your tires will be flat. The logic behind this is the screws allow the tires to grip better, unfortunately they also turn your tires into swiss cheese, and swiss cheese doesn't hold air all that well. The inspiration for this comes from actual manufactured studded tires which are designed to handle the studs and not destroy the roadway.
- It's too cold, so be sure to take the coolant out of your car so it doesn't cool down too much
The really cool thing about coolant (anti-freeze) is that it keeps the car cool and helps keep it from freezing. When dissolved in water, Antifreeze/Coolant raises the boiling temperature of the water and lowers the freezing point.
Less Heinous Car Care Myths
Let your vehicle warm up to full operating temperature: It’s not a myth that colder climates are harder on engines as it takes a bit longer for the cold oil to make its way to the places that need it, however this doesn't mean you should leave your car to warm up for 5 minutes. In actuality, it only takes about 15-20 seconds for the oil to be flowing enough to properly lube your engine. The only thing letting it warm up more than this will do is waste gas.
Deflate your tires for better traction: You should never operate your vehicle with you tires inflated outside the manufacturer suggested tolerances. Doing so can lead to premature wear-and-tear or even a blowout. If you really want better traction in the snow, consider swapping out your tires between seasons. Winter tires will disperse the water better and are designed to operate in the colder climate.
I have four wheel drive, so I’ll be fine: Just no. If you put any bad driver behind the wheel of any vehicle in the snow, they will figure out a way to end up sideways on Kellogg (inevitably during rush hour). Proper winter driving techniques take practice, if you're worried about your skills, find a nice empty parking lot to practice in. If you're confident in your winter driving skills, go ahead and give yourself a refresher course to get the feel of things again. You'd be surprised the edge you lose during the warmer months.