Which Winter Driving Tips Are Actually Myths?
Now that the weather has turned frigid, it seems like everybody is sharing cold weather driving tips. Some of them make sense, but it turns out many do not.
"In very cold weather it's not essential to start your car and let it sit and warm up but it's a good idea," said Joe Erickson, an automotive services territory manager with AAA Mid-Atlantic. "It's always optimal if you can wait 30 seconds to two minutes, let everything start to circulate, then put it in reverse and go."
According to Erickson, many other cold weather driving tips are nothing more than myths.
Some people insist you should keep your gas tank filled in very cold weather to keep it from freezing but Erickson said "gas should never freeze. If you gas freezes there's a problem with it and the car probably isn't running at that point anyway."
He also said you should not be under or over-inflating your tires according to temperature or road conditions.
"Your tire pressure remains the same throughout the year," noted Erickson, "if you add air, the tire pressure will expand as the tires rotate and get a little warmer, so in this weather it's not a good idea to add air to your tires."
He said another myth is that you should be using higher octane fuel in cold weather.
"That does nothing," Erickson said. "Just use the fuel you've always used, the octane doesn't make any impact in the winter months."
He also said if you're driving around normally on paved roads, there is no need to change to so-called winter tires.
"For the most part every tire manufacturer today for passenger cars and light trucks are all-season rated. Unless you're driving in extreme situations - like you know the vehicle is going to be in snow all the time - there's no need to change your tires," he said.
Erickson added in any kind of extreme weather situation it's always a good idea to check fluid levels and your battery.
"Extreme temperatures whether they're high or they're low," he said. "If there's something wrong with your vehicle you'll find out about it in this type of weather."