As this week’s flash freeze creates dangerous driving conditions for unprepared drivers in Eastern Ontario, be sure to know these facts behind four of winter’s most common driving myths.
You Should Keep Your Gas Tank Half Full in The Winter
It’s true that keeping your tank half full will help if you ever get stranded in wintery conditions, but there are other reasons for this tip that help preserve your car’s engine life during the winter. Keeping your tank at half helps to reduce condensation in the gas tank. Drops of condensation can freeze in the winter and form small frozen blocks of ice, which can get into the fuel line of your car and cause problems when starting. Having more gas in your tank also helps to add weight to your car, which can be critical in icy conditions.
Rear or Front-Wheel Drive Vehicles Only Need Winter Tires on Their Rear or Front Wheels
Even if your car is not AWD, you should ensure that you put on all four winter tires. Having two separate treads on your tires can create uneven traction between your front and rear-end tires, and this can cause problems when stopping or turning—even more so for emergency stops.
Using All-Season Tires May Give You Less Traction, But Save You More Money
Summer, all-season and winter tires are all designed to perform at different temperature ranges. Winter tires are designed to withstand road conditions when temperatures dip below 7 degrees Celsius (think freezing and road salt) and can shorten braking distance by up to 25%. (ontario.ca)
Driving all-season tires in these temperatures will cause unnecessary wear. If you are an adamant believer that all-season tires do the job while saving money, consider this: a study done by a Swiss auto club found that after five years, the total cost of tires is less for a sedan that switches between tires rather than one that uses all seasons due to the increase in wear. (wheels.ca)
In the Morning, Cars Need to ‘Warm Up’ For a Few Minutes Before Driving
Myth and Fact
The Myth: Cars do not need to idle for more than 30 seconds in the winter, and will actually warm up more when being driven.
The Fact: In freezing temperatures, ‘cold’ cars are about 12% less fuel-efficient (according to the Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department), and may take a while to warm up the engine to an ideal temperature. Because of this, you shouldn’t drive your car too hard until the engine has time to warm up.