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Cold weather car myths


Friday, March 7, 2014, 2:15 PM -

It’s cold out! 

During these winter months we all have our tricks to make sure our cars survive the freezing temperatures, but I’m sure we’ve also been given tips that we’re just not sure works.


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Putting sandbags in your trunk can help, but it all depends on the type of car you drive. Traction is determined by a few factors; the weather and condition of the roads, rear wheel or front wheel drive and the type of tires you have just to mention a few. Car manufacturers now cater to specific markets based on our needs. For example, (“slangish”), sedans were usually heavy in the front and rear wheel drive. In that case, people would put sandbags directly over their back tires to provide added weight, which helps when you accelerate.

Putting sandbags in your trunk can help, but it all depends on the type of car you drive. Traction is determined by a few factors; the weather and condition of the roads, rear wheel or front wheel drive and the type of tires you have just to mention a few. Car manufacturers now cater to specific markets based on our needs. For example, sedans were usually heavy in the front and rear wheel drive. In that case, people would put sandbags directly over their back tires to provide added weight, which helps when you accelerate.


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Today, most cars have all wheel drive or front wheel drive, which means better weight distribution. For front wheel drive, sandbags are not needed and will actually make driving more difficult! There is already added weight from the engine in a front wheel drive vehicle, putting sandbags in the trunk actually adds too much and you’ll notice the nose of your car tilting up. This actually deters from better traction by making you over steer on slippery surfaces, while also throwing off the balance and suspension of your car. At the end of the day, the best way to get better traction, is to invest in a good set of winter tires.

Plus, as this one Twitter user points out, you may need that extra trunk space for something else!

NEXT PAGE: AN ECO FRIENDLY ALTERNATIVE TO SALT?

Can you use kitty litter as an eco-friendly alternative for melting ice?

This one sounds like a winner, but it’s still up for debate. The short answer, yes and no!

Yes, kitty litter can help you out in the snow, but not by melting it, because it doesn’t.

If you use kitty litter, it can add a lot of traction to the snow, which can help you out if your car ever gets stuck, so keep a bag in your car, it can be a lifesaver.


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It will do the same thing if you use it on your driveway and front porch, it adds traction to slippery surfaces, but it will not melt the ice and snow. It does, however, prevent the white stains that are leftover from using salt. Salt is still one of the best products to use to melt snow, because it lowers the freezing point of water and it also adds traction once the ice has melted.

But if you’re trying to be eco-friendly and opt for kitty litter, just make sure you do NOT buy the clumping kind. Kitty litter essentially just sucks up the water, buying the clumping kind will lead to a very sticky mess to clean up when the temps start to warm up!

Steve is absolutely correct, you should definitely not pump your brakes if you have ABS. In slippery driving conditions, pumping the brake pedal is a technique that is taught to slow down your car and to unlock the wheels. In vehicles that have ABS, the wheels should never lock. Pumping your brakes will actually take you longer to finally slow down and stop your car.

If you’re in a situation where you need to make an emergency stop, the best thing to do is to put all your weight on the brake pedal and hold it down firmly. You’ll feel a whole lot of grinding underneath your foot, and you may feel your brake pedal shake violently, but that’s just the ABS doing its job, so don’t let go. Your car will eventually come to a full stop, quicker.

Do you have any myths to share? Let us know!


BEAT THE TRAFFIC : Get The App. Get There Sooner. Beat the Traffic helps ease your commute with recommended routes and real-time adjustments. Beat the Traffic by downloading it today for Apple and now on Android devices as well.


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