Practical Winter Driving Tips
Itâ€™s that time of year â€“ almost.
You will likely be reading â€“ and hearing â€“ about how to make the best of it when the flakes begin to fall.
I wonâ€™t recycle the boilerplate recommendations about all-wheel-drive (not really that much of an advantage) or suggest you buy a set of snow tires (Iâ€™m assuming youâ€™ve thought of that).
Iâ€™m figuring you might like some useful tips. Things you may not have read â€“ or heard about â€“ before.
* Make sure your AC is in good working order â€“
It might not sound sillyÂ â€“ itâ€™s cold outside; why worry about AC? â€“ but itâ€™s not. The air conditionerÂ is an important element of the heater/defroster system because itÂ dehumidifies the interior of your car. Without that vital function, the moisture-heavyÂ winter air will fog up your windshield and leave you guessing where the road is.
Cars without working AC can be as un-fun in winter as they are when itâ€™s 98Â degrees outside. And much more dangerous. This is whyÂ itâ€™s a good idea to make sure the AC is working in Fall.
Before the bad weather starts rolling in.
Related: Check/change your carâ€™s cabin filter (many late-modern cars have these). Lots of dust in the air in Fall â€¦Â like pollen come Spring.
*Polish and then wax your windshield â€“Â
A smooth surface will help dissipate water better and the wax coating will bead water and make it easier to slough off. Your windshield wiper blades willÂ last longer, too.
Youâ€™ll want to start with a cleaner/polish (some waxes are â€œall in oneâ€) which has a light abrasive to gently clean the surface. The wax is the protective coat that will slough off the water.
Do the side/door glass and rear glass, too.
Especially the side and rear glass. Because they havenâ€™t got wipers (usually) to clear them.Â If you wax them, the airflow over the car should keep them clean â€“ and youâ€™ll be able to see.
There are also products (RainX is one) that are â€œhydrophobicâ€ â€“ they repel water, forcing it to bead and roll off the surface of the exterior glass. In light rain, you may not even need to use your windshield wipers â€“ or you can use them less. Which ought to make them last longer.
Related: If you havenâ€™t already, change out the windshield washer fluid for a winter formulated fluid. Itâ€™s usually orange-colored rather than the usual blue-ish stuff. If your fluid reservoir is still full of the old stuff, you can easily suck it out using a turkey baster or a large medical syringe.