It’s official – winter’s here in Nebraska.
After the recent snow, we can’t deny it. Although snow may look pretty, it’s not the most fun to drive in. Star Class Motors can help to make driving your luxury vehicle in the Omaha area this winter a little safer, and maybe even enjoyable.
#1. Invest in Snow Tires NOW!
The biggest recommendation we have for enhancing your winter driving experience is to invest in a set of snow tires. Snow tires, also called winter tires, definitely live up to their name – most snow tires claim to cut the distance it takes to stop in snow down to half the distance. This is because they’ve been specifically designed with a softer compound of rubber making them “stickier,” which is good for grabbing cold surfaces. They also have more traction than all-season tires because they have more tread depth. The best part: there isn’t much of a cost difference; they cost about the same as a quality set of all-season tires and they don’t really affect your luxury vehicle’s MPG either. You don’t want to leave them on all year, though; the rubber is much too soft for warm Nebraska summers. Star Class Motors has a tire rotation program in place where we’ll not only switch out your vehicle’s tires, but offer first-come first-serve storage space for the off-season tires when you’re not using them. Our preferred brands of snow tires are the Bridgestone Blizzak, and the Michelin X-Ice, which are the highest rated on the market.
#2. All Wheel Drive (AWD) and Snow Tires
On another note: let’s talk about All Wheel Drive (AWD). There seems to be a bit of confusion on the best use for it, so let us offer some clarity. AWD can be found in many luxury vehicles and can be a great tool when you’re trying to get going on a slick surface or make it through a few inches of snow. The downfall is that it won’t improve your vehicle’s steering or braking. In fact, it can still take a good distance to stop in slick conditions, especially with all-season tires. That’s why, if you ask any of the Star Class Motor techs, they’ll recommend snow tires over AWD any day! And, having both would be even better.
#3. Check Your Wipers and Washer Fluid
In addition, two of the most important details to have up to par are your wiper blades and washer fluid. If you can’t see or have a way to clear your window, you should not be driving! Too often, these details are overlooked until you’re already on the road. In very cold or inclement weather, you should always check your wipers and washer fluid before you hit the road. Check them while you’re still in the driveway or parking space. Don’t just check to make sure they work, though. You should also look for signs of wear like subtle cracking. This could mean that your wipers are getting dried out and won’t work as well as new ones. If you need to replace your wiper blades, Star Class Motors usually recommends Bosch or Trico, but most brands will get the job done. It’s a small expense to change them out, especially if you do it yourself, but the benefits are worth it. Windshield wiper fluid is also important, but beware–don’t necessarily buy the least expensive one on display. Some washer fluids won’t help in colder temperatures and, if you read the fine print, say “Summer Formula.” Look for one that gives a temperature range; Star Class Motors recommends a 30-degree-below formula. Face it, there are few things worse while driving than getting caught in the rain or snow, or having some other vehicle splash your windshield, and not being able to clear it completely.
#4. Check Your Antifreeze
Antifreeze, also known as coolant, is also crucial. It serves three purposes: helps the water stay in liquid form as opposed to boiling over or freezing, lubricates your water pump, and cools down and dissipates the heat made by the engine (where the term “coolant” comes from). Antifreeze is a mixture of propylene glycol and water, and it must remain within a certain ratio to work well. If there is too much water in the tank compared to the amount of propylene glycol, the tank could freeze in cold weather and cause major problems for your engine. Excess water can occur if you’ve recently had a leak fixed or came from a warmer climate, so, checking this is very important. There’s a special tool most shops have, including Star Class Motors, which can measure the amount of water in the coolant system. Keeping your levels up is another area you can DIY. Most stores will sell either premixed, or, if you’re up to it, full strength antifreeze which you can mix with water yourself. Star Class Motors uses Peak Antifreeze because it mixes well with any other type of antifreeze that might already be in your tank.
#5. Wash Off the Road Grime
Another great service Star Class Motors offers, and most don’t think about when it’s cold, is a thorough car wash, including the underbody. In most of the Midwest, the road crews use salt and other road compounds to keep the roads from becoming slick and helping to melt anything frozen. These are great for the roads but not for your luxury vehicle. If not taken care of, it can cause rust. Star Class Motors recommends a weekly car wash, including the underbody, to help maintain your vehicle’s exterior.
#6. Let the Car Warm Up
The final point we’d like to make is one that always seems to be questioned: Is warming up your vehicle important in the winter? The short answer: YES. Warming up your car not only makes it comfortable for you, but helps your car bring the fluids to top running temps; the oil flows better, fittings and plastics will wear more easily, and your car will drive better overall. Just like an athlete wouldn’t compete without warming up, neither should your luxury vehicle. This is especially crucial for BMWs with a crank shaft – driving without warming up first can cause huge problems otherwise.
Star Class Motors wishes you safe travels this holiday season across Nebraska and the Midwest this winter!