Every time it comes, the winter is a test for drivers. Not only because you need to adjust your driving style more carefully, but also because you have to thoroughly prepare your car to be good in shape for the cold season. Winter can be fun behind the wheel, but you certainly need to take care of some crucial aspects to make the most out of it. There are a few important things to look out for if you are to ensure a safe and pleasant ride all the times.
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Winter Tires Are A Must
First of all, the winter tires are the most important aspect in ensuring a safe ride. The winter rubber is the perfect choice for the cold season, as it is perfectly adapted to improve safety and braking efficiency in extreme weather conditions. First of all, the tyre compound is different from summer tires, being softer in elasticity as to ensure a better grip on snow and ice. Furthermore, the tire channels and overall pattern is highly different on a winter tire compared to a summer tire, as it caters to different needs.
While in the hot and warm season, the wheel adhesion is hardly an issue, on the winter surfaces which combine water, snow and ice, traction is jeopardized, so a different wheel pattern is needed. A more intricate radial design with deeper channels is the solution needed to have the optimal track adhesion as well as better braking performance.
Also, the rubber compound is softer than on summer tires, which prevents them from freezing and turning into plastic. The depth of the tyre channels is also crucial and, in many countries, it is compulsory to run with proper winter tires which do not fall below the minimum limit for the channel depth.
Driving Style In The Winter
But winter tires are not the only solution to combat snow and ice on the roads. The driver must also adjust its driving style in line with the exterior conditions. You cannot solely rely on the winter tires to save you from an extreme situation. You can try to drive at the top limit of your skills during winter like in summer, but you will be faced with situations when simply the car will not be able to brake within a safe and comfortable distance.
No matter how packed-full of technology a car is, the winter will always show you cars can have very limited capabilities. Braking fiercefully on an icy-snowy surface will result in your car simply sliding far more than wanted and expected. The anti-lock braking system, or ABS as it is better known, does have some shortcomings and limited capabilities on snowy roads. Therefore, you really need to take care of your speed and embrace an anticipatory driving style.
Adding Chains To Your Tires
For further improving the traction, chains are a solution, although limited. They must be installed only on the powering axle of the rear or according to manufacturer specification on AWD vehicles, for example. They must be carefully installed on the tires using special hand gloves and they must only be used on snowy or mixed surfaces. Running with chains on wet roads can damage both the tires and your car.
Don’t Forget The Antifreeze
Checking the antifreeze and setting the climate control unit on automatic mode are also a must in winter. Ensuring an optimal level of antifreeze liquid in the engine helps the engine function properly at cold temperatures and prevents overnight freezing and further damaging. A warm and comfortable climate in the cabin of your BMW is also desired in the winter season, as it also helps you avoid window frosting.
Heated Seats And Steering Wheel
BMW models can be optionally equipped with engine pre-heating devices, which can help heat up the engine and precondition the interior before starting off on in a cold morning. Depending on the model, such systems may vary in price, but they are still starting at a hefty 1,650 euros (1,841 US dollars) on a BMW X5 in Germany, for example.
Also, BMW offers the choice of a 4-seat independent automatic climate control system for the extra price of 700 euros (781 US dollars). You can also choose the heated rear seats for an extra 700 euros and the already very popular and convenient heated steering wheel for an extra price of 250 euros (280 US dollars).
No Need To Compromise On Ugly Wheel Designs
Furthermore, your very own BMW can look as nice in winter as in summer with the help of the dedicated original winter accessories, such as the various wheel designs specially designed for winter tires, and the rooftop transportation systems. The wheels are specifically developed for the winter season, featuring enhanced strength and suitability for cold temperatures.
Also, they are adapted for both M Sport and non-M Sport models, ranging from 17 inches to 20 inches in diameter. Of great visual impact are the wheel models finished in matte black, such as the 18-inch 796M choice for the 3 Series lineup (G20/G21), the 20-inch 748M wheels for the X5 (G05) or the 19-inch 786M model for the 8 Series (G14/G15/G16).