Best Way To Protect From Snow

Tiny
TOKI TOVER
  • MEMBER
  • 2009 HONDA CIVIC
Hi!

Just moved to Massachusetts.

I have a 09 Civic Si and was wondering the best way to protect my front wipers and keep the snow/ice from the front/rear windshield.


Also what would the best tires be to get for this type of weather. Should I get chains/wire chains for this car too?

Thanks,

Toki
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Friday, October 28th, 2011 AT 2:53 PM

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Tiny
DRCRANKNWRENCH
  • EXPERT
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.
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Friday, October 28th, 2011 AT 6:17 PM
Tiny
TOKI TOVER
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Thanks DrCranknWrench! This gave me an all round good idea of what I need to do. Going to be getting some chains, washer fluid, shovel/scraper and stash them in a bin in the trunk. (I also put my wipers up, as I saw for the first time others doing here in my apt complex.)

Not sure if you are super knowledgeable about tires, but I found these from tirerack that are all season: Continental ExtremeContact DWS. Would those be good? The picture of them seem to have a lot of tiny "sipes" as you stated. They do keep the areas here in MA plowed and salted. So I am thinking a set of all seasons will do the trick, although I know that getting a set of snow tires and a set of summer tires would be best, but its not feasible financially at the moment.

Also, with the streets being salted, how will that effect my undercarriage of the car? Should I get the underside washed weekly to help protect the rubber boots and such?

Another question, with the tire size. My stock size is 215 45 17. I read around that its best to get a taller size and skinnier size? Like get a 225 50 17? Or should I just get a 215 50 17?

Thanks!

Toki
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Sunday, October 30th, 2011 AT 5:20 PM
Tiny
DRCRANKNWRENCH
  • EXPERT
I am glad the information is helping you. That is good that you can put up the wipers as some cars don't allow this because the wiper arm hits the hood before the wiper can get into that, "locked" position. That is the best trick I have ever learned for snow country. I have also seen people put traps over there windshield so they can just pull it off when they are cleaning off the car. They used a tarp just the size of the windshield as any bigger would be too heavy if a lot of snow fell on it. I think they anchored corners with twine that they ran, the top strings, into the doors and the bottom strings into the fender or hood somehow. Not sure if that is a really good trick as I have only seen it on 2 cars. Just a thought.
As far as tires go, the TireRack is probably the best and most reputable place to get tires on-line. However, consider that you will have to pay for mounting and balancing, I think they give referred discounts, and you can't get leaks fixed for free as well as the very important service or rotating and balancing the tires. You can get any tire shop to match the TireRacks price if you include shipping/handling. If they won't they are not a good shop to deal with. You can also get things like; alignment warranties, another important service that gets neglected, road hazard insurance, sounds like a rip-off but I get it every time and everyone get nails in there tires that can be plugged, but severe damage, a bad tire or a nail or screw in the edge of the tread or sidewall and you will wish you had it as they replace the tire.
Rotating and balancing is very important as you can get 50% more life out of your tires as well as improved fuel economy. Alignment will give you even more tread life and improve fuel economy more than B&R as mis-aligned cars can actually, "drag" tires down the road.A bit of an exaggeration but an analogy to get the idea of the point that they will not be rolling as freely as possible. The other thing about alignments is that they catch worn or damaged suspension parts because the car will not align if anything is wrong. Most places offer an alignment warranty that allows for an alignment every 6000 miles or any time you get a replacement form road hazard, if you have it. Yes, it adds up but the saying is true, "A hundred dollars in maintanance will save you a thousand dollars in repairs". All the tire wear and gas add up too, it just goes un-noticed. Road hazard is a judgement call based on personal experience. Working with and being loyal to a local shop can get you things in a time of need that you can't get any other way.
With that said, a good company makes a good tire and then you get what you pay for. A quality A/S will do just fine with a front wheel drive and chains. Getting snow tires won't be enough of a difference that you will be even able to notice, especially for the cost and trouble.
As far as salt goes, washing under the car every spring is adequate. I used to put on a full rainn suit I had from riding motorcycles, duct tape the areas in between the top and bottom and at ankles and take a brush and hose to remove salt. The big thing, as I probably over did it but maybe not, is that salt will get into the places you can't rinse out with a hose sometimes. I recommend finding a good car wash that has a high pressure under-carriage flush. It still does not guarantee that all the salt will get rinsed out, but unless you are willing to get under the car and rinse out everywhere that the salt settles into, it is the best option.
You can purchase a #M clear tape that may car maufacturers use to protect paint. I think you can find it at an professional paint/re-finsihng auto supply store or try Summitracing. Com. You will want to cover the area underneath each door up to the bottom of the door and behind the rear wheels to the same heigt. I did not do this and found that gravel removed my paint to the metal after a season or two. If they don't put down gravel, not such a worry.

I would not change the tire size for several reasons;
It will change the gearing.
The vehicle speed will read incorrectly and not only will the speedometer not work, the incorrect speed will be sent to the car computer and result in miscalculations that will affect shifting, load bearing setting for the engine, fuel economy as well as some other issues.

Also, regarding the Dri-Gas that I said not to use on the windshield. You should get some for the gas in your car as being in a cold climate water in the gas can occur more often as snow build up melts into places and then refreezes. The Dri-Gas eliminates even frozen ice and that is why people use it for every thing, but it is highly caustic and toxic. What if a puppy drinks some water that came off of someones sidewalk that used it?
It can also be used as emergency gas. Keeping 2 bottles in the trunk may get you that half mile or a mile to save you from a harsh walk and a forced purchase of a gas can.

If you get any other questions in your head, please feel free to ask. I hope my suffering in Washington State was worth something. It was pitch black at 4PM in the winter and started snowing in September, once in August. I know why the Eskimo have a hundred words for snow.

Take care.
Dr, C
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Sunday, October 30th, 2011 AT 9:09 PM

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