If you live in an area with harsh winters and substantial snowfall, commuting can become a daunting task. That's why a lot of drivers opt for all-wheel-drive trucks and SUVs to get them through the cold season. However, buying a new truck or SUV is a huge investment. Moreover, large vehicles with all-wheel-drive systems are substantially less economical than a small front-wheel-drive car throughout the rest of the year when the roads aren't frozen.
Luckily, with the right set of tires, your front-wheel drive car can be made to drive very competently even in the worst weather. There are also some additional modifications you can perform to turn your car into a true winter warrior without breaking the bank.
A set of proper winter tires will drastically improve your car's traction and handling when the temperatures drop. In fact, a front-wheel-drive car equipped with winter tires will potentially perform better than an all-wheel-drive truck or SUV on generic all-season tires. No matter how advanced an all-wheel-drive system is, it can't fully compensate for a set of tires that don't properly grip the road.
The rubber compound of winter tires is specially tuned to deliver maximum grip in low temperatures. In contrast, the rubber compound of all-season and summer tires will become much harder and stiffer when the temperatures drop, substantially reducing grip. Additionally, winter tires have specially-tuned tread patterns to bite into snow and ice and deliver maximum traction.
Once you have proper rubber on your wheels, undercoating should be the next modification you perform to get your car through the winter. Road salt is remarkably harsh on the metal components underneath your car. When driving at high speeds, the salt blasts its way into your car's undercarriage and begins to eat away at exposed metal.
Even after a single harsh winter, your car's frame, suspension system, and other underside components may start to develop rust. Having a proper car undercoating sprayed onto your car will do wonders when it comes to staving off rust, improving your car's reliability, longevity, and resale value in the process.
Once you have your car's undercarriage protected, you should also consider protecting your paint from road salt and other debris. Generally, stick-on film covers your front bumper, lower hood, fenders, and side mirrors, as those are the areas most exposed to oncoming debris. You can even purchase clear film that is almost invisible so that it doesn't ruin the factory look of your car. It will protect your delicate paint from pockmarks, dings, and scratches.
Replacement paint-protection film can be substantially cheaper than the cost of a new paint job, so keeping your car looking like new won't break the bank. Furthermore, if you decide to sell your car down the road, you can remove the film to reveal a perfect paint job underneath, which can drastically increase your car's resale value.