Don’t Fill Those Sandbags Quite Yet, There Is a Better Way!

A stock photo illustration of a vehicle driving on snow.

Should You Add Extra Weight to a Vehicle in Winter?

One of the many great things about working in the automotive industry is how quickly things change. On the other hand, sometimes outdated information can lead people astray, which can be challenging. One of the more pernicious myths that we deal with is people filling the trunks of their cars with sandbags or other heavy items for better winter traction. There was a time when this was necessary. A time when rear-wheel drive was the norm and electronic stability systems were but a dream. Let’s take a look at some helpful information.

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Why Do People Put Extra Weight in Their Cars?

In the old days, cars were heavy, and the weight was distributed differently. Also, the vehicle was being pushed by the rear wheels, far away from the center of gravity. Combine all of that with an icy road, and things could get very interesting very quickly. Putting sandbags in the trunk was an effective way of expanding the rear tire’s footprint on the road, which increased traction. 

The advent of things like better winter tires and front-wheel drive drivetrains has made this practice largely obsolete. 

There are still some people who may want to consider adding extra weight to the rear of their vehicles, namely those who drive older compact pickup trucks. However, it’s important not to go overboard because too much weight can cause issues of its own.

Benefits of Front-Wheel Drive in Winter

Front-wheel drive was nothing of a game-changer in the automotive industry. It first appeared in sedans, coupes and hatchbacks before being adopted by the incredibly popular crossover SUV segment. Regardless of what type of vehicle it is, the benefits of front-wheel drive for winter driving remain the same. Having the weight of the engine over the front drive wheels increases traction on slippery surfaces and makes slides easier to recover from.

Ultimately, a good set of high-quality winter tires and defensive driving behaviour will do the job of lifting heavy sandbags in and out of your vehicle. If it’s time for you to look for a new tires, regardless of the season, make an appointment with Bannister Honda today.