Winter is here in full force, and with it comes a variety of winter-weather hazards on the roads. Half of Americans have found their car stuck or buried in snow; therefore, it is important to keep your car care knowledge as fresh as the snow on the ground.
The latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index looks at some of the major misconceptions that Americans have when it comes to winter car care and driving.
True or False? It’s best to let your car warm up before you start driving.
False. When those bitter winter temperatures hit, it’s common to see people idling in their cars, waiting to warm up the engine—and their seats! According to the Gauge, 82 percent of Americans believe it’s best to let your car warm up before you hit the road. However, your car will warm up much faster while driving at a normal operating speed; idling does very little to actually warm-up the engine and instead wastes gas.
True or False? Gas in your tank can freeze if you leave your car outside in extreme cold conditions.
True & False. The gas in your car’s tank will not freeze if you leave your car outside in extreme cold conditions, which should ease the minds of the 35 percent of Americans who think it will. However, there is a chance that the condensation inside the gas tank can freeze, which might damage your fuel line. Keep the tank at least half full to prevent a fuel line freeze if you park your car outside this winter.
True or False? If your car begins to slide, apply sharp braking and quick counter-steering to correct the car’s position.
False. About 1 in 4 Americans could use a defensive driving refresher, as 22 percent of drivers incorrectly believe sharp braking and counter-steering will help correct a skidding car’s position. Half of Americans (51 percent) have skidded off the road at some point, so if you find yourself in that slippery situation, experts at DefensiveDriving.com suggest that you steer into the skid, and keep your foot off the gas and brake. Begin to accelerate or apply the brakes only when you regain control of the car.
True or False? Your vehicle’s tire pressure can fluctuate due to changes in outdoor temperature.
True. Most Americans (94 percent) know that a vehicle’s tire pressure can fluctuate due to changes in outdoor temperatures, so be sure to keep an eye on your tire pressure this winter. The general rule is that for every 10 degrees that the temperature changes, your tire pressure will change about 2 percent. If left unchecked, underinflated tires can shorten the tread life and reduce fuel economy.
True or False? All-season tires aren’t designed to handle snow.
True & False. Two thirds (67 percent) of Americans think that all-season tires are equipped for snow. While they can certainly handle mild winter conditions, for those in particularly snowy climates, winter tires provide greater traction.
The Hankook Tire Gauge Index is a quarterly survey of Americans that uncovers their attitudes and opinions about all things related to driving. The winter installment of the survey, conducted Dec. 2-4, 2016, polled 1,022 randomly selected Americans.