Category Archives: buyers guide

2018 New England International Auto Show: Key takeaways

JOTD visited the New England International Auto show about a week ago and we wanted to share some of our impressions, takeaways, and general thoughts on the show itself and some of it’s more notable attendees.

The good:

Photo credit: MotorTrend

The Audi RS3 looks even better in person than it does in publications (certain wheels aside).  It has a presence beyond it’s size and it’s up there in the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” category with the older M5.  Bonus points to Audi for making in tall-person friendly!

 

The Genesis lineup had a strong presence there and the cars did not fail to deliver.  Interior fit and finish is very tight and overall material quality is excellent.  I’m not saying they are on-par with the S-Class (yet), but at a fraction of the price, they are most definitely worth a serious look.  We loved the look of the G80 Sport with the copper accents and aggressive wheels (pictured here), well done Hyun…errr…Genesis!

The new favorite of many automotive publications everywhere, the Kia Stinger, was there as well.  Once again, pictures simply don’t do it justice.  It looked great up on stage and not overly bedazzled as it might appear in pictures.  The lines are aggressive but not overly so and we think it will age well, but the verdict on that will, obviously, have to wait.

The Lexus LC500’s taillights are an incredible detail on an already drop-dead gorgeous car, see for yourself.

The bad:

While the new Ford Expedition does look the part of the big family-hauling, highway consuming behemoth with a handsome, masculine exterior, the interior was far from impressive.  For a $70k truck, we’d expect more than a sea of hard black plastic for a dashboard (with a comparatively miniscule infotainment screen) and a few more luxuries to accompany it.

Where were Mercedes Benz and BMW in all this?  Did they both decide to call in sick?

Thanks for reading!

 

Performance bargain spotlight: Audi RS4

What do you get when you take an average AWD family sedan and inject it with 8 cylinders that scream to a glorious redline of 8250 rpm?  The answer, folks, is the Audi RS4.  Long coveted by enthusiasts looking for subtle speed, the RS4 was the fastest variant of the B7 A4 platform and is no longer available in the states.  We had the opportunity to glimpse one for sale out towards western Massachusetts, and it did not disappoint. 

With an original MSRP of over $80,000, this particular example from 2008 is finished in the ever-popular Daytona Gray with just a hair over 75k miles.  From the outset, it is clear this was a well-maintained car.  Service receipts are plentiful, and creaks and rattles are basically non-existent.  There are a few very minor blemishes on the car, but only ones you’ll spot if you’re really looking for them.  But then again, vehicles like this were never meant to be center stage at a concours d’elegance, these cars were meant to be driven. 

The interior shows some wear consistent with a nearly 10-year-old car, but there’s nothing that a little bit of TLC couldn’t fix.  The white interior sets off the gray exterior nicely and could look almost brand new with a good leather treatment.  

The car is located at Right Way Auto Sales in Southborough, MA and is listed at a very fair $29,995.  Considering the level of refinement, gobs of power, and overall desirability of the RS4, the price is quite appealing.  Here’s to hoping it finds a new home where the new owner will appreciate it for the wolf in sheep’s clothing that it is.    

How to sell your car properly

Selling your car can be a daunting task to say the least.  Whether the attachment is emotional or financial, your car isn’t going to market itself and finding a way to make it stand out from the crowd can be difficult.  We’ll cover some of the basics to help you get rid of the old so you can bring in the new.

  1. Take good, high quality pictures:  Too often you see blurry pictures that look like they were taken by a 5 year old on the world’s first cell phone camera.  This really puts sellers off and can downplay a car that is actually in great condition.  Make sure you snap pictures of both the interior and exterior, ensuring that the car has been cleaned thoroughly (both inside and out) and that all of your belongings are removed.
  2. Provide proof of service history:  If you haven’t been saving receipts for work done, you’re in a bit of a tough spot here.  But proof that the car has been maintained well goes a long way to easing potential new owners’ minds.  If you don’t have receipts, call shops or dealerships where you know it’s been serviced to see if they have any records they could send.
  3. Be descriptive:  Describe the condition of the car (accurately of course) in more than 2 words.  A short ad that says “runs great, new tires, no A/C” often turns off potential buyers.  Talk a little about the car (but don’t write a dissertation on it) to let the buyer know you cared about maintaining the car and know it well.
  4. Include a Carfax report:  A Carfax report for around $40 will give the buyer peace of mind that is has not been in an accident or experienced flood damage etc. – well worth your money.
  5. Do your research on value:  A car that isn’t priced well will likely either not sell or leave you with less cash than you should have gotten.  Check all of the usual valuation sites like www.kbb.com and www.nada.com to find out what your car is worth and list it accordingly.  Always be prepared to negotiate if you are motivated to sell.
  6. Prepare documents:  Make sure you have the title (or know exactly where/how to get it if you financed) and make up a Bill of Sale (easily found online) to make sure you cover all of your bases.
  7. Stay safe:  If you are planning on meeting potential buyers to have them inspect the car, meet during the day in a public place (parking lot of a restaurant, gas station etc.) to avoid any potential danger.   If you don’t feel safe, bring a friend with you.
  8. Minimize risk:  Only allow test drives to potential buyers who have cash or have proof of financing, that way you can avoid tire kickers.  A free joy ride is a quick way to damage the car and you could potentially be out even more money to repair it on your own dime.
  9. Where to list:  Craigslist is very popular because it is free, but Autotrader is a good option as well.  Ebaymotors will get your more visibility, but you encounter more out-of-area buyers and that can complicate things.

Don’t be afraid to attempt this on your own.  You can always trade the car into a dealership if you are unsuccessful selling it, but if you are able to sell it yourself, you could potentially gain thousands of dollars more than what a dealership would have offered you.

The Subaru Impreza: Why 2017 is a big year

As much as we New Englanders love our AWD Subaru chariots to get us to/from wherever we need to go no matter what the conditions, the word phrase “refined ride” isn’t exactly part of their brand vocabulary.  Utilitarian is just one  word that comes to mind when describing an older Forester or bare bones Impreza, and it seems Subaru was listening to consumers as is evident in the newly redesigned Impreza.

Photo Credit: Consumer Reports

For 2017, Subaru has announced to the AWD faithful that their new Impreza (based on an all-new, shareable platform) will be quieter, ride better, and be an all-around more comfortable vehicle.  Sure, they’ve been saying that for a little while and with the exception of the Outback or Legacy, their vehicles have remained relatively “tinny”.  However, this is now a completely different ball game.

Photo credit: Consumer Reports

At first glance, not much appears to have changed.  The updates to the exterior are there (but subtle) and while the interior does benefit from some choice upgrades like a nice big touch screen and soft-touch materials, it isn’t a completely different vehicle, and for good reason.

Photo Credit: Subaru

The biggest changes become apparent when you get it out on the road.  Noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels have been reduced significantly and overall the cabin feels much more solid than past generations.  Steering response is great and the vehicle feels much more planted on the road, all adding to the image of a vehicle that really can “do it all” and be reasonably priced.  All of a sudden, you realize that Subaru took all of the successful aspects of the old Impreza, and simply refined it to the point where it functions as a much more comfortable vehicle without losing the Subaru character that people love.

Photo Credit: Motor Trend

As a whole, the new Impreza has certainly upped it’s game.  As pricing stays relatively flat, it will likely now appeal to buyers looking for the functionality of an AWD hatchback but want a little bit more refinement than hat was previously available at Subaru.  This new platform will be shared with other vehicles in the lineup so we look forward to driving the CrossTrek and Forester, among others.  Time will tell if this is what Subaru was going for, but we’re predicting that this can only mean good things for the unofficial car manufacturer of New England.

Best Bug-Out vehicles

While I think most of us can agree that the zombie apocalypse isn’t going to happen next week, that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to dream about building up or buying a vehicle as the ultimate bug-out, go-anywhere-and-survive type of transportation.  So, without further ado, here is a list of the top vehicles that will keep you out of harm’s way in the most extreme (if not altogether unlikely) of scenarios.

 

1)      Avtoros Shaman:  You probably haven’t heard about this low-volume, Russian-made beast but that doesn’t mean it won’t put most anything to shame off the pavement. 8 wheel drive, 8 wheel steering, amphibious capabilities, and seating for 7 of your closest friends/family, what’s not to like?  Throw a mattress and a few packets of Quaker oatmeal in the back and you’re good to go. 

 

2)      Hagglund BV206:  Ever wanted to own a mini-tank but just didn’t pull the trigger because, well, it didn’t have a trailer?  Your search has ended.  The Hagglund was built for the sole purpose of going absolutely anywhere on the planet with all of the necessities to survive the harshest environs, including Antarctica.

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3)      M35 2.5 ton cargo truck: Affectionately called the “deuce and a half” this military grade truck is a go-anywhere 6X6 that is fairly readily available.  Though its top speed is nothing spectacular, it will run on pretty much anything and laugh in the face of small road obstacles.  Throw a camper on the back and you’ve got yourself a pretty bulletproof truck.    

 

4)      Earth Roamer XV-LT:  If the zombie apocalypse forces you into the great outdoors, the Earth Romer is the vehicle to have.  Based on the Ford F550 platform, these cab-over expedition duty campers are designed to keep you comfortable wherever the path may lead you. 

 

5)      The “Kira” Expedition RV:  Brian Ferren of Applied Minds has built the ultimate go anywhere vehicle.  Designed to tackle terrain with the most powerful technology this planet has to offer, (not to mention a turbo-diesel motorcycle for light reconnaissance) you’d be able to head to the most remote reaches of the planet with ease (and a hot shower).

 

6)      The “Burlak”: Once again, the Russians deliver a monster of a truck capable of toppling mountains with a punch of the skinny pedal.  From the guys who brought you the Sherp (a smaller version of this, essentially) this vehicle has the space to take you and your family of 4 anywhere in relative comfort. 

 

7)      Russian “Vityaz” or DT-30PM: This is a just a fancy way of saying a tank with another tank as a trailer.  This “articulating tracked vehicle” or ATV is basically two tanks strapped together with a payload of 10 tons.  Popular in the then USSR, these vehicles saw military and civilian action all over the world gaining access to remote areas where nothing else could dream of going.

 

8)      Arctic Trucks Toyota Hilux AT44 6X6: One of the slightly more civilized and attainable vehicles of this bunch, the transformed Hilux has already performed admirably on Top Gear’s Arctic special (albeit in a slightly different form).  Toyota build quality with Icelandic arctic ingenuity and know-how, doubtful there’s a better cold weather combo out there. 

 

So when you’re preparing for the end of days, be sure to save up for some suitable transportation because these aren’t going to be cheap (or easy to find).  Drool away preppers, your vehicle has arrived! 

The legend lives on: The 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser name has always been synonymous with go-anywhere capability but only in the 1990’s did it begin to garner some respect as a luxury vehicle as well.  Well this trend continues with this mid-model refresh for 2016, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more capable luxury vehicle than this uber-posh off-roader.

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For 2016, the front fascia of the Land Cruiser gets a refresh, the most prominent new feature being the quad-projector LED headlights that light up the night like the 4th of July.  The revised grill has been accused of being too Highlander-esque but there’s no mistaking this for the Toyota cross-over with much less machismo.  From the A-pillars forward, we have all new sheet metal and the taillights get a slightly refreshed look, but overall, there aren’t very many significant changes to the exterior of the Land Cruiser for 2016, unless of course you count the multiple little “Land Cruiser” embellishments on the headlights and bottom of the rear doors.

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Inside is where you’ll notice the biggest changes.  2016 brings in a new era of gadgetry with a 9” touch screen shoe-horned into the center console.  In keeping with the Land Cruiser tradition, every feature is standard equipment, meaning you get Bluetooth, navigation, heated/cooled seats, 2 rear entertainment screens and a plethora of other luxury bits to keep you and your riders happy.  Quality materials are still used everywhere, and the new steering wheel not only looks and feels great, but also heats up for those cold winter days.  Legroom and headroom are still ample in both front and rear seats, but you do feel like you are in a bit of a cockpit with this latest generation having all manner of knobs and buttons very close to the driver.  Worth noting is that any surface, button or knob that gets used frequently exudes true quality.  The aforementioned knobs feel like solid metal, the switches most commonly used are like a well-oiled bolt-action rifle, simply perfection.  Additionally, the seats are very comfortable and would serve anyone well on long family expeditions.  Overall, a very nice place to be, especially with this author’s favorite, the optional Terra (brown) leather.

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Safety is still a Toyota priority and the Land Cruiser is no exception.  As standard equipment, you’ll find blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warnings, and radar guided cruise control that can brake the vehicle in case the driver isn’t paying attention.  Not only is this vehicle a great cross-country hauler, but these features add a new level of safety that comes standard. 

On the road, the Land Cruiser still feels as solid as ever.  Speed bumps simply flatten out in fear, potholes and road imperfections are coerced into submission, there is really no better riding full-size SUV on the planet.  Road noise is minimal with the huge amount of sound deadening used, and the only drawback to this latest Land Cruiser is the visibility.  With the newly designed hood that is about the same size as a soccer field, forward visibility is reduced a bit.  The same 5.7L V8 comes back unchanged for 2016 as it still puts out a hefty yet buttery smooth 381hp and 401 lb/ft of torque, but don’t expect this monster to win any drag races as it tips the scales at 5765 lbs, not exactly light.  The new 8 speed transmission does its best to help in these cases, but you’d be hard pressed to notice a difference from the last gearbox other than that it seems to shift a bit more frequently and perhaps it does so q bit more quickly and smoothly.  Overall it still has great manners on or off the road, but long distance drivers especially will appreciate just how stress-free piloting one of these behemoths has become.

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At roughly $85k, there’s no denying that this is not an inexpensive vehicle, but when you crunch the numbers on just how long these legends last with so few repairs required, things start to add up.  If you want the ultimate vehicle in luxury, capability, and reliability, look no further than the Toyota Land Cruiser.

Another 10 for under $10K

A used, one owner, under 100k miles, clean CarFax Toyota Corolla? For under $10k?  Yes please.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=0&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=440654416&Log=0

Don’t let the mileage fool you, this Lexus is ready for another 100k miles with a reliable buttery smooth V8.  An easy way to get some luxury in your life for a bargain.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=0&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=438701309&Log=0

Looking to haul the family on a budget?  Check out this 2007 Honda Pilot.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=25&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=440934024&Log=0

Not looking forward to winter driving?  Gain some confidence with this sure-footed Subaru Outback.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=50&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=438112128&Log=0

Here’s a great little low mileage Mazda 3 that is sure to last for years to come.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=100&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=438533127&Log=0

If you want to go green on a budget, then there is your chance!  A used Toyota Prius with plenty of service records.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=125&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=439804941&Log=0

Here is an exceptionally low mileage Toyota Rav4, the perfect small SUV to get you around town and wherever else you need to go.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=125&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=440732025&Log=0

Looking for off-road capability in a reliable package?  Then look no further, at only 122k miles this Toyota 4Runner is just barely broken in.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=150&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=439933264&Log=0

If you need to go full-size, it’s hard to find something better than a Chevrolet Suburban.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=02118&endYear=2017&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=1981&listingType=used&firstRecord=150&listingTypes=used&searchRadius=25&maxPrice=10000&listingId=419905431&Log=0

The ultimate in reliability, ruggedness and go-anywhere capability, the Toyota Land Cruiser.  Don’t let the mileage fool you, this one is ready for many more adventures.

http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?endYear=2017&zip=02118&listingType=used&listingTypes=used&engineCode=8CLDR&maxPrice=10000&showcaseListingId=0&mmt=%5BTOYOTA%5B%5D%5B%5D%5D&startYear=1981&makeCode1=TOYOTA&showcaseOwnerId=0&engineCodes=8CLDR&firstRecord=0&searchRadius=25&listingId=438996623&Log=0

 

10 good cars for under $10K you can buy NOW

The title says it all really…

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/2T1KU40E49C007553-used-2009-toyota-matrix–malden

Toyota Matrix:  A great little economy car with a lot of miles left to go at only 73K miles!  Great on gas too, a good bargain at this price.

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/JM1BL1SG4A1227266-used-2010-mazda-mazda3-i-sport–malden

Mazda 3:  Another great affordable car, but this one has a nice interior that feels much more expensive than it actually is, hats off to Mazda for making a great little all-around car.

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/JTMBK32V365002513-used-2006-toyota-rav4-sport–brockton

Toyota Rav4:  If you need a bit more space but don’t need a full-size SUV, a Rav4 is a excellent choice that will last for years to come.  Don’t spend up on a new one when this one has plenty of life left!

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/JTHBA30G045005498-used-2004-lexus-es-330–shrewsbury

Lexus ES330:  For those who want luxury on a budget, it is hard to beat a used Lexus ES.  With great service records and low mileage for the year, this is a great find that will run smoothly for years to come

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/1FTYR10D18PA84754-used-2008-ford-ranger–north-hampton

Ford Ranger:  If you don’t want to pay the premium for a Tacoma, a Ranger is a great option for a small utility pickup.

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/1GKEK13Z12R328904-used-2002-gmc-yukon–storrs-mansfield

GMC Yukon:  This is a full-size family hauler that could be negotiated down a bit.  Solid SUV with a traditional body-on-frame construction that’ll run for years to come, a family truckster on a budget!

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/JTJHA31U040049429-used-2004-lexus-rx-330–manchester

Lexus RX: the quintessential crossover SUV with all the luxury you could ever need.  A bargain for under 10k and a car that will keep you floating over the pavement for many more miles.

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/JN1AZ0CP1CT021707-used-2012-nissan-leaf–dedham

Nissan Leaf:  If you want to go green on a budget, this ultra-low mileage Leaf will get you there with cash to spare.  All electric means a limited range before you need a charge, but this would be a great second car or dedicated commuter vehicle.

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/JTEBT14RX58027385-used-2005-toyota-4runner-sr5–haverhill

Toyota 4Runner V8:  The V8 will run forever, tow anything, and never break on you,  need we say more?

http://www.carfax.com/vehicles/5TBBT44144S455584-used-2004-toyota-tundra-sr5–auburn

Toyota Tundra:  A full-size work truck on a budget, V8 that will last forever, what more could one ask for?

 

New cars for 2017: What do we have to look forward to?

Every year seems to bring something new and exciting, and 2017 looks like it’s going to be no exception.  From the “needs no introduction” Ford GT to a Mazda Miata hardtop enthusiasts have been pining for, manufacturers are really bringing their A games in technology, style, and performance.  What we have here is a few of the vehicles we’ve been anticipating since the prototypes were released.

Mazda Miata RF:  The RF stands for retractable fastback so while it is not the stiff, rigid and reworked coupe many enthusiasts would have hoped for, one can’t deny that it looks great and will keep drivers smiling for miles even in colder temps.  It is without any major drivetrain changes, but why mess with perfection?

Bugatti Chiron:  While you won’t hear anyone say that this is a completely new beast when compared to the Veyron, you can’t argue with the fact that is does look lot less bloated and more purposeful.  While still utilizing the ground-pounding quad-turbo W16 engine from the Veyron, Bugatti says the new 1500 horsepower figure is enough to tie the 0-60 time of the Porsche 918 of 2.2 seconds.  For those of us that loved the technological breakthrough that was the Veyron but didn’t care for the looks, prepare to open your wallets to the tune of 2.6 million dollars.

Ford GT:  This re-work of the re-work of the LeMans winning vehicles of the 1960’s has probably received more press than any other vehicle being released in 2017.  With Ford dialing back the cylinder count to 6 from 8, purists haven’t been afraid to vocalize their disappointment.  But Ford is saying that this will pack over 600 horsepower and couple that with a lightweight, mostly carbon fiber chassis and you’ve got a recipe for a car that will be very happy at a track indeed.

Toyota Supra:  Few vehicles are reveled by the tuner crowd than the Toyota Supra.  From a manufacturer that produces some of the most reliable vehicles on the planet comes a car that produces reliable high power numbers.   We don’t have many details on this concept pictured above, but if it is anything close to its predecessor, it will already have a cult-like following.

Acura NSX:  You’ll be hard pressed to find a more recognizable name among JDM fans than the NSX.  Long heralded as a handling and chassis benchmark for performance, the first generations delighted drivers with impeccable handling and a driver focused experience that beat most anything else on the road.  This newest generation is staying true to its roots with V6 mounted amidships, but adds electric motors to the front wheels for a bit more kick.  We’ll see if this new kid on the super car block can live up to the hype.

Volvo S90:  The Swedes are going hunting for Germany car buyers with this all new luxury sedan dubbed the S90.  A completely new platform for Volvo has this big Scandinavian boat riding smooth but also handling well according to most reviews, with enough pickup to get you into a little trouble.  With a base price under $50k, this car could mean a big comeback for the beloved brand of safety-minded buyers.

Alfa Romeo Giulia:  For those who think that the BMW e39 M5 was the best car to come out of the doors at Dingolfing, you might want to take a glance at the new Alfa.  The Quadrifoglio model with a turbo 6 that offers up 505 horsepower going to the rear wheels via a true 6 speed manual is probably the closest thing we’ll see to a true driver’s sedan for years to come.  It certainly doesn’t hurt that this is probably one of the prettiest cars to be coming out in 2017 either.

Cadillac XT5:  A new crossover from Cadillac, how is that exciting?  Well it is not so much about the vehicle itself as much as it is about the company as a whole.  Cadillac struggles with the image that their cars are only driven by retirees and the XT5 is an attempt to shed that image.  With less-than-stellar sales across the board, the XT5 needs to be a saving grace to help bring the manufacturer back from a slow decline.

Lincoln Continental:  Lincoln finds itself in a similar situation as Cadillac in that they are trying to appeal to a different buyer, but the Continental is far from a vehicle for younger drivers.  With big aspirations to take down the well-established German competition, Lincoln has re-worked the Continental with available AWD and an optional twin-turbo V6 pushing out 400 horsepower.  Only time will tell if this all-American luxo-barge is up to the task.

Winter tires: why you need them

Many people out there don’t quite understand just how drastically different winter tires are from others and as a result, those same people really don’t think that winter tires are completely necessary.  “I have all wheel drive, what more do I need?” some will think, or “I have a truck, nothing can stop me” still others will say.  Well sadly, circulating the internet one will find plenty of funny Youtube videos of attempts at winter driving that prove otherwise.

Winter tires are unique in several important ways, a significant one being that they are made of a softer rubber allowing them to flex more than the standard summer (or even all-season) tire.  The flex causes the sipes to essentially grab an edge, much like a ski does, and grip the loose snow, sleet and ice.  Think of it this way, when the car turns it causes the rubber to deform (more easily than other tires thanks to the softer rubber) and instead of driving on comparatively flat surface, you are now driving on many tiny rubber edges, giving you the unparalleled ability to turn.  There is a similar reaction when you accelerate or brake, causing an incredible difference in stopping, going, and turning abilities when compared to any other tire.

Some people consider themselves good winter drivers.  Either they grew up in climates with adverse conditions or have taken a winter drivers-ed class.  However, it’s the unexpected that gets you, that point when you need to turn to avoid the piece of lumber that fell off the truck in front of you, where you really need the winter tire.  The only downside to these rubber wonders is that because of the softer compound, they won’t last quite as long as standard tires.  It is recommended that you only run them in cooler temperatures as the softer rubber will wear much more quickly on warmer days.

Admittedly, nobody likes lugging an extra set of tires to and from the local tire shop, but we promise you that when you avoid the deer that decided it REALLY wanted to give you a heart attack by standing on the other side of the blind corner, you will be thanking yourself for investing in those tires.  Do yourself, and other motorists around you, a favor and get a set of snow rated tires.