First of all, you have a great car for getting around. There is not much, besides 4 wheel drive, that can get through snow like a front wheel drive.
To protect your wipers, pull them away from the windshield until the spring holds them up. Some cars don't work with this little trick as the wipers are to far below the back edge of the hood. If you can, keeping the wiper off the windwhield, in the rear as well, keeps you from risking damage to th ewiper. Damage is caused from pulling the wiper off of the frozen windshield or getting damaged by using a scraper.
If you can keep some extra windshield washer fluid around, especially any blends for de-icing, use it to pour onto windshield and it will melt the ice away. Some. Even regular windshield washer fluid is mostly aclohol. It has to be or it would freeze in the fluid reserviour of your windhsield washer sytem, so it is a gentle way to help get snow/ice off of the windshield. Don't use things like Gas-Dri or Boiling Water. Gas-Dri, or other chemicals like it, are very harsh and will eventually eat at the windshield gasket and widshields in modern cars are glued into place with a special silicone blend of glue. It could eventually be very dangerous as anything that can damage the glue will compromise the integrity of the installation of the windshield. Using Boiling Water is an old trick that will change the temperature of the windshield and other parts too rapidly. This will cause cracks to form and possible failure of glass.
As far as tires go there is a way to look at the tread pattern to determine what will work well in the snow. I have never been a big fan of snow tires as they are a pain to change out, hard to keep stored and when it is not snowing, they will wear out quickly on the asphault/concrete of the road. Studded tires are tough on cars too and are not legal in many states.
To get a good all around tire, first make sure you get an, "All Season" radial. It will provide you with good traction in all road conditions as well as when the roads get slushy. When you purchase a tire, look at the tread pattern. The areas that are cut into the face of the tread that allow water and other road material to escape, not to mention that air escapes through these channels in the tire tread, these are called, "SIPES". I used to think that truck tires with large blocks of tread and huge wide sipes were the best in the snow. This is the opposite of the truth. You want to find a tire that has a lot of sipes and that are smaller in size as far as the width of the sipe goes. This is importnat because the more sipes there are, the more the surface of the tire canflex and tread can, "Grab" at the surface of the snow. It will also be able to throw off snow more easily as it cannot get packed into the smaller sipes compared to a tire with large sipes which will pack with snow. This leaves you with a big donut of snow to get traction with, that is why the large sipes are not advantageous at all.
Chains are better than wires for a few reasons. Wires cut into tires more so than chains. You will have the great experience of putting them on in the dark blistering winds when it is snowing. Getting on a set of wires is impossible, I had a friend who had them as they are harder to find, chains are much easier to deal with. When you come to a tunnel and it says, "PUT ON CHAINS" do so. Even if there is no snow as the elevation change in the tunnel will give you a huge surprise at its exit, snow.
Don't buy cheap chains. Buy chains that are made specifically for your tire size and try putting them on at the store that you buy them from, I reccomend a tire store, before you purchase them to see how easy they are to put on, how tight of a fit against the tire thay are, there are 2 kinds of chains in a good tire chains. Get back to that, and that they will stay on the tire once put on. Tire chains that are good will have chains that hold the tight to the tire and then some that are a little loose. This is too give you optimal traction. However, keep in mind that you may have to buy tighter chains without the double chain design as your car does not have the tire to fender well clearance for these types of chains. Cheap chains that come off easily will damage fender wells too. The most importnat things when buying chains is a tight fit against the tire and a good locking sytem to hold the chaiin on that is not too complicated. You will get to be a pro at putting chains on and you should know how to put them on before the season hits.
Depending on where you live, you might not need chins as they are a pain and can come loose and damage your car, kind of rare if you buy good quality chains. I have seen chain cost $100 a pair which is all you will need for the front tires as back tire chains won't do you a lot of good.
Chains are great if you have to drive through un-plowed snow that is more than 6" deep and a great help on steep grades. If you don't need them because you are going to be in an area where they are prepared for snow and keep the roads clear and your all season tires do the job, you don't really need them. I lived in washington State and they spread gravel on the roads. My paint under my truck and windshield were trashed. I had good chains for trips where the roads were not plowed as it was a more rural area.
I hope this information helps. If you have any more questions, I will keep any eye out for your reply and get back to you ASAP.
Good luck in Massachusetts.
Friday, October 28th, 2011 AT 6:17 PM