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Posts Tagged ‘winter tires’

McBlog: Keeping Your Cool in the Snow

Our intrepid columnist offers some winter driving tips - and recollections of icy roads past.

by on Jan.18, 2011

Winter driving can be fun - if you develop some basic skills, explains Denise McCluggage.

Thirteen Vermont winters and a class win in the Monte Carlo rally might lend me cred as a driver in snow. However, probably even more useful, and certainly more concentrated, are a number of sessions I had over the years at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School in Steamboat Springs CO.

Learning to drive in conditions of limited traction is the most valuable experience for acquiring car control on any surface. Go take a day’s basic lesson on snow. Or if you’re already hot on the cold stuff stretch your skills with the session suitable for winter rally wannabes. Then treat yourself to a day on the welcoming slopes of Steamboat and make it a winter holiday for the books. Or Facebook.

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But what I’m writing at the moment are random notes on driving in snow, my experiences of it and my suggestions for those struggling with it this winter. Judging from what’s on my TV unfamiliarity is breeding undue contempt.  (Why is a video of someone’s van waltzing inexorably down an incline into a waiting tangle of ovine cars so mesmerizing?)

When I was the ski editor for the now long-gone New York Herald Tribune I spent all winter attending all the ski areas of upstate New York and New England.  Sometimes a trip to Colorado and Utah. I suppose someone had to do it. I wrote five columns a week and covered college ski races on the weekends. (I’m glad I was the one who had to do it.)


Improve Your Car’s Comfort, Performance, Safety and Mileage in One Simple Step.

Your tires deserve more respect.

by on Jun.07, 2010

Whether you're a Formula One racer or a Soccer Mom, you need to take care of your tires.

It’s not very often you can improve the comfort, performance, safety and fuel economy of your automobile in one simple step.  Yet all it takes is making sure your tires are properly inflated.

Tires are the most under-rated part of your car, truck or crossover, and studies show they’re also, typically, underinflated.  Yet a tire that’s low on pressure is likely to impact almost every impact of the way your car behaves – which is why motorists might use National Tire Month as reason to make sure those black donuts are both properly inflated and in good shape.

A tire that’s low on pressure not likely to deliver the comfort designed into your car.  But it is likely to wear out faster – and even increase the risk of a blow-out.  It can be slower to accelerate and take longer to stop.

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Then there’s fuel economy. On average, a tire consumes about 20% of the energy used to move your vehicle forward.  Improperly inflated, they can reduce your fuel economy by 10% or more.  The Department of Transportation estimates that 5 million gallons of fuel are wasted every day due to under-inflated tires.  For the average motorist that can translate into an extra $150 or more in extra fuel costs each year.


Give Your Tires Some Respect

Few things do more to improve safety, mileage, performance.

by on Jan.06, 2010

The right tires can make a big difference in performance, safety and fuel economy, especially on winter roads.

They’re the automotive equivalent of Rodney Dangerfield, but while tires typically “get no respect,’ they should, because arguably no single part of your car has a bigger influence over matters ranging from performance to mileage – and especially your safety.

Today’s car is a high-tech wonder, with some models featuring more than a dozen different computer systems onboard.  Yet the tire is decidedly low-tech, or so you might think.  In reality, rubber companies have invested billions into computer-aided design and manufacturing systems designed to improve the performance of those four black donuts at the corners of your car.

The latest designs last far longer than the tires of a generation ago.  They also achieve the seemingly impossible: giving you both a better grip on the road while reducing what the industry calls “rolling resistance.”  In layman’s terms, that translates into better mileage.

No Retreads!

In the wake of the Firestone/Ford fiasco, in which 280 deaths were linked to tire failures on Explorer SUVs, federal regulators ordered the use of tire pressure monitoring systems designed to alert motorists when tires lose pressure.