Best car features for driving in the snow

The first snowfall of the year has already hit many parts of the country, and if you haven’t winterized your car yet, now is the time to do so. If you are looking rent or buy a vehicle at the start of winter, you may want to consider some additional features that make it easier to drive in the snow.

Top 5 features for winter driving

When researching cars, it’s important to keep in mind where you live and what type of winter weather your area typically experiences. How unpredictable is it and what features should you look for prepare your vehicle for winter conditions who comes his way? If you experience all four seasons, you know how important it is to have a car that can handle unexpected tough conditions.

Whether you’re looking for vehicles or want to improve the performance of your current car, consider these five features that make winter driving more bearable:

1. Winter tires

The rubber in winter tires is softer and more flexible than all-season and performance tire rubber. They are designed to adapt to the road in colder conditions and to maintain better traction on icy, snowy or muddy roads. You should replace your all-season tires with winter tires if you live in an area known to be hard hit by snow and ice. Even though the weather is unpredictable in winter, prevention is better than cure.

2. All-wheel drive

All-Wheel Drive (AWD) distributes power to all four wheels to improve traction and stability. Front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive only distribute power to both wheels, which can limit traction and stability. Depending on the vehicle you have and how perfect its AWD system is, it can transfer power from the wheel or wheels that are slipping to those that have traction, making it easier to regain control. While all-wheel drive can help with traction and control, it doesn’t add any additional braking assistance, so be sure to stay careful when slowing down.

3. Anti-lock braking system

Traditional braking systems lock the tires in place, and if you drive in icy or wet conditions, you could experience loss of traction and extreme skidding. With anti-lock brakes, instead of squeezing, the system pumps the brakes quickly, allowing you to stay in control. This feature is standard on all cars built after September 1, 2013, but cannot be added to vehicles without this feature and built before that date.

4. Stability control

Traction control is important, but so is stability. Traction control monitors when one or more wheels are spinning, while stability control uses a sensor to direct lateral movement. Once the car hits the ice and slides, stability control kicks in to help the driver resume straight-line driving. The main purpose of stability control is to prevent the wheels from spinning in case they catch ice or the seaplane. Like ABS, stability control is standard on all vehicles built after September 1, 2013, but cannot be retrofitted.

5. Remote start and heated seats

Safety should be a number one priority during winter driving, but once you understand your safety features, you should think about comfort. Heated seats and remote start are perfect for preheating the car and driving comfortably. Push the button and let the defrosting and warming process begin, all from the comfort of your home.

Choosing the best car for the snow season

If you are looking to buy a vehicle better suited to winter, what should you be looking for in addition to the five features listed above? One thing you need to consider is ground clearance, especially if the area you live in gets a few inches or even feet of snow each year. Ground clearance is the distance between a vehicle’s frame and the ground. The more clearance you have, the more space you have.

Most sedans and cars have low clearance – typically four to six inches – and while some can handle heavy snowfall and icy conditions, they are at a greater risk of being stuck. SUVs, trucks and crossovers are better options with higher ground clearance – an average of six to eight inches – and are less likely to get stuck. A few SUVs and trucks have height-adjustable suspension, which means you can increase ground clearance if needed.

The essential

Winter driving is no fun, and if you live in an area that’s hit hard by snow and ice, you need to make sure your vehicle is equipped to handle these harsh conditions. If you are looking to finance a car that can better cope with winter, Auto Express Credit can put you in touch with a dealer who can help buyers with less than perfect credit.

We work with dealerships across the country who team up with lenders who specialize in bad credit auto loans. We’ll work to connect you with a dealer in your area if you start the process by submitting our free and easy car loan application form.

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