I hope many read this thread and pick up some tips...and have a safe winter!
Dallas, I know you also believe in the 'adding weight to trunk' idea...there was just a thread specifically on this, but I'll repeat that I fill 2 5-gallon buckets with sand, a small shovel, and bungie cord them in the back of trunk.
Also, before winter really sets in is a great time to get under car and have a look at things...change oil if it's due, check coolant level...and look for signs of leaking fluids. Having a car reliable is the best winter driving tip I can think of! Do some of the things you've been putting off...belts, pulleys, actually looking for leaks in the cooling system, checking your cluster for voltage and coolant temp.
Check air pressure in tires, wiper blades, battery terminals/compartment (one guy found his battery encased in a block of ice from some leaking gasket). Look at grounds...look all around at stuff with your xl50.
As far as cooling...Mango has covered all the details in his sticky...so that's the 'do it all' approach covered well. Otherwise, you should flush coolant every few years and keep a close eye on this system.
Oh...good time to gummi pflege and lubricate window tracks with silicone spray (don't open the windows when it's covered in snow and ice...you'll break the regulator).
I'm guilty of using all-seasons, but I live in a place where all the roads I need are plowed and I don't overdrive my car, but I never knew there was an all weather tire, so I'll look for them next time.
Trail cars a good distance in the snow...like 9 seconds behind. You might need that time someday!
I don't think the car notices winter that much more than any other season. I actually think my car prefers it! But, every winter here we'll hear of some accidents that could have been avoided...so I sure hope you kids are thinking out much further ahead when driving in bad conditions.
One thing I often do is blip the throttle on a snowy road, just to get a sense of how little traction I have...not enough to go into a drift, of course, but just a test of road surface.
Also, I like the principle of 'try not to stop'--unless there's, say, a cop car right ahead of you!
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Last edited by dmax; 11-10-2012 at 05:11 PM.