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Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD) vehicles route their power strictly to, you guessed it, the rear wheels. RWD vehicles are known for offering responsive steering, optimized acceleration, and increased towing capacity on dry roads. If you have an RWD vehicle, you may live in a dry climate (where RWD vehicles excel). But when the occasional snowfall happens, you may wonder if an RWD vehicle can handle wintry conditions.
The short answer is yes, but you need to take extra precautions. Keep reading to learn more about driving in the winter with an RWD vehicle and some tips on driving safely in snowy conditions.
RWD vehicles are often known to be tricky to drive in snowy conditions. The reason? Weight distribution. In an RWD vehicle, the engine and drive wheels are located on opposite ends of the vehicle. This design can negatively impact stability since the engine doesn’t weigh down the wheels. As a result, the wheels may lose traction when there’s snow or ice on the road.
Front-Wheel Drive (FWD) is one of the most common drivetrains found in vehicles. As the name suggests, FWD vehicles send power directly to the front wheels. The engine is located over the top of the drive wheels, providing extra weight to the wheels that can help improve stability and maintain traction in slippery terrain.
Given its design, FWD vehicles may have a natural advantage in snowy conditions compared to RWD vehicles. However, RWD vehicles can be adapted to handle winter driving effectively.
So, what should you do if you have a RWD vehicle and need to drive in the snow? Fear not! These tips can help you navigate the snow and help you safely reach your destination.
Add Weight to the Rear
Adding weight to the back of your vehicle provides extra stability on the axle that delivers power. So, pop open your trunk and load it with heavy items (placing the weight over the rear wheels, if possible). Consider using multi-purpose items like bags of sand or kitty litter, which you can use to sprinkle around your tires to give them extra traction if your vehicle gets stuck in snow or ice.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Underinflated tires can be dangerous on snowy roads. When driving, they create extra heat where the rubber meets the road, which can diminish the tire structure, wear out the tread, and reduce traction. You should regularly check your tire pressure in the winter to ensure your tires are properly inflated. Use a tire pressure gauge on each tire to determine its current psi (pounds per square inch). If the psi is lower than your manufacturer’s recommendations — which you can usually find in your owner’s manual or on your driver-side doorjamb — fill your tire to the recommended level.
The key to driving an RWD vehicle in the snow is to be smooth and gradual with all your inputs. Sudden movements can cause the car to lose control, so always be gentle with the steering wheel, gas pedal, and brake pedal. If your vehicle has an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), let the system do its job and don't pump the brakes.
No matter if you drive an RWD vehicle or not, these winter driving tips can help you navigate the colder weather.
Make Sure You Have an Emergency Kit
You never know when the unexpected will happen, especially when it comes to winter driving. To help prepare for unforeseen events, always keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. Make sure to include these items in your emergency kit:
● Flashlight with extra batteries
● Bottled water
● Ice scraper
● First-aid kit (including a few dosages of prescription drugs)
● Jumper cables
● Non-perishable food
● Portable phone charger
● Tire chains (if allowed where you live)
Whether your vehicle is RWD, FWD, AWD, or 4WD, you can bring your vehicle to Jiffy Lube to help ensure it is ready to handle the winter weather. Trained technicians can perform a wide range of auto services to help winterize your car, including oil changes, battery inspections, tire replacements, and more.
NOTE: Not all services are offered at all Jiffy Lube service centers. Please call ahead or check jiffylube.com to ensure the service is available at the Jiffy Lube location near you.