One of the most difficult weather conditions to drive a vehicle is in snowy conditions, especially the heavy snow conditions. The problem for most motorists, especially in North America, is that there conditions are a fixture in the winter months. Vehicles are not suited to these conditions and end up being grounded in the garage until the rescue of the friendlier summer months. But since motoring is not a season exercise, it is imperative to get a machine that is qualified for the heavy snow conditions. There are discussed below;
The all-wheel vehicles are suited for the dreaded winter conditions. They offer comfort and safety, added to a solid grip that is aided by all the wheels working together. The hallmark of a heavy snow car should be a good traction system. The all wheel vehicles are at times confused with the four wheel ones. This is however not so, as the all-wheel vehicles use all the four wheels at all times while the four wheel vehicles only use them part time. The all wheel vehicles are able to navigate the heavy snow due to their advantageous starting, acceleration, handling and stopping abilities.
The four wheel capabilities allows each tire to rotate independently of others, which is vital in sliding conditions brought about by heavy snow. They come in different types like cars, trucks, saloons and hatchbacks. They range from small family cars that ferry four people to big ones for mass movements. You can find them in many dealerships at varying prices.
Four Wheel Drive
These are vehicles that engage the four wheels, but on part-time basis. They are also useful in difficult conditions just as the all-wheel drives because the driver can summon on the four wheels when need arises. Again, just like all wheel vehicles, the four wheel drives offer good traction and control in difficult conditions like the heavy snow ones. These cars have good torque, traction and great wheel slip. Torque is the twisting force produced by the car engine. It is this phenomenon that actually moves the vehicles. It is aided by the gears in the transmission.
Traction on its part is the maximum force that either the tire or the ground can apply against the other. Heavy snow conditions are low traction situations and as such four wheel and all wheel vehicles are suitable to tackle them. This is because when you apply all the four wheels at the same time you will double the force that the tires impact on the ground. It takes a lot of force to navigate a vehicle though heavy snow. This force is dependent on the traction force available. With four wheel drive you will be able to use the force available in each of the four wheels to pull the car through.
Front Wheel Drive
Even though not as effective as the four wheel and all wheel vehicles, the front wheel drives are also useful in heavy snow conditions than the rear wheel vehicles. The front wheels offer better traction control than the rear ones. Also see: Tips for Buying Heavy Snow Cars:
Tips for Buying Heavy Snow Cars
Listed below are tips to follow when buying a vehicle to use in heavy snow conditions. By following these guidelines, you will ensure your vehicle will be well equipped to handle the rough conditions winter brings.
Antilock Braking System
The system prevents the wheels from locking and skidding when you are braking, and hence keep the vehicle under control. The anti-lock brake system also lessens the distance the vehicle takes to stop. They control the steering even in situations where you make sudden stop.
Electronic Stability System
The system helps to stabilize the vehicle by detecting the vehicle’s direction, relative to the direction the driver is steering, and then steer the vehicle to its intended direction by using individual anti-lock brakes. This feature is important in icy conditions. The feature is considered one of the most important vehicle safety innovations, and even though they are pricey, they are worthy it in the long run.
In heavy snow conditions the importance of good winter-friendly tires cannot be overstated. Look for tires that will aid in braking, traction, and reduce skidding.
Winter Transmission Modes
This is an important feature that deals with slippery conditions during acceleration, even without the aid of a traction control as back up. With this facility the car will be able to accelerate in the second gear, as opposed to the first gear, and then move up the higher gears.
Traction control helps the vehicle to accelerate in slippery surface. When the wheels are slipping, the traction reduces engine power. Look for cars with advanced traction control for best results.
Naturally, snowy conditions are very cold and call for good heating facilities in the car.
Headlight Washer and Wiper
This is vital as it helps to clear the snow accumulation that dims the headlights. This facility is vital as heavy snow affects visibility which can lead to accidents. It is vital that your car has this feature.
Engine Block Heater
Heavy snow bring with it very cold temperatures that means that engine blocks need to be heated to keep them warm. This will make the starting easier, with the added bonus of reducing pollution and wearing out, not to mention keep the oil thin. You should make sure that your car has this facility. But if not, there are some aftermarket solutions in the form of electric dipsticks and battery warmers.
The remote start system applies the heat to the engine compartment, and hence prevents the fluid from freezing. Although it is not environmentally friendly, it helps to keep away the ice and keep the engine in working condition.
Even with the advanced systems on the car, heavy snow conditions are not for the novices. The combination of challenging surface and limited visibility is a potentially disastrous combination that calls for utmost care and experience between the wheels. The constant skidding and slipping can lead to panicky driving that can result in accidents.