How to Choose A Good Winter Vehicle in Washington State

There is no question that we get our fair share of inclement weather here in the Pacific Northwest. Snow, sleet, rain, hail, there is a good chance you could see any of these weather elements strike during your commute to work in Seattle. This is why you should consider purchasing a vehicle that can handle whatever conditions mother nature throws at it. There are many vehicle features that can help you better handle poor weather. Here are some tips for choosing a car that is good in the snow.

Consider Front Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive

When searching for your next vehicle make sure to check whether it is rear wheel drive, front wheel drive, or all wheel drive. If you plan on doing a lot of winter driving, you will probably want to avoid is the rear wheel drive vehicle. Rear wheel drive vehicles sometimes lose control or “fish tail” in bad weather. Many sedans are front wheel drive or all wheel drive, while the rear wheel drive models are more common in the coupes and sports cars. Front wheel drive vehicles should be able to handle most of the weather conditions we face in the Pacific Northwest. If you plan on doing a lot of driving over the pass, or making frequent ski trips to the mountains, it’s a good idea to find an all wheel drive (AWD) vehicle. With all wheel drive, the car is capable of sending power to all four wheels which makes gaining traction easier, and also makes it harder to get stuck in the snow.

Check the Safety Features

Many cars today have safety features that can help reduce your chance of losing control of your vehicle in bad weather conditions. Different manufactures have different names for these features but you will want to look for features that help control your vehicle’s traction. Many new cars are capable of detecting when a wheel slips and reducing power output to that wheel to help the driving maintain control. Ask your salesperson if the vehicle you are considering purchasing has these features.

Consider an SUV

If you are having a hard time finding an all wheel drive car that you like, consider purchasing an SUV. There is a large variety of SUVs that come in either all wheel drive or four wheel drive. With the small SUV market expanding, there are many of these vehicles that get pretty good gas mileage. Another nice feature of SUVs is they make the driver feel like they are sitting higher in their vehicle which helps with the sense of security and visibility.

After Purchasing, Buy Winter Tires

After you buy your new car, consider purchasing winter tires or studded tires for the winter months. Studded tires can drastically help your vehicle’s performance in the snow, and will help you feel more confident when driving over the mountain pass. You can’t have your studded tires on your car year round in Washington State, so make sure to check your local laws to see when you can install them and when they need to be removed.