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What’s the Best Cold-Weather Car Mod?

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Image for article titled What's the Best Cold-Weather Car Mod?

Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA/AFP

Folks, I have bad news: It’s getting colder out. At least for those of us in the north, the heat of summer is firmly in our rearview — we’re now faced with the ever-decreasing temperatures of fall and winter. But before you go trading in your existing car for something all-wheel-drive, know that you can make do with what you have. Especially if you modify it.

Today, we’re talking about cold-weather car mods. Whether they’re for safety, for comfort, or just to make your life a little bit easier, plenty of modifications exist just for the cold of winter. Before we’re fully in the throes of snow, it’s time to ask: what’s the best cold-weather car mod?

Image for article titled What's the Best Cold-Weather Car Mod?

Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA/AFP

For my pick, I’m going with the easy one: snow tires. They may not be as luxurious as heated seats or a remote starter, but they’ll meaningfully impact your car’s performance through the winter months. All-wheel-drive may help you get un-stuck, but snow tires will also give you the traction needed to get going — while also helping you turn and stop.

The reason snow tires are so important is actually less their design, and more their material: the rubber of snow tires is softer. Rubber, like many malleable solids, get harder when cold. This makes for a reduction in grip, which is partly why your high-performing summer tires feel slick on even bone-dry December pavement. Snow tires are softer to begin with — they’d tear themselves apart in summer use, but they’re perfect for the colder months.

For a cold-weather car mod, my pick is snow tires. But what’s yours? Do you have heated covers for your seat or steering wheel, or have you put a remote starter in your car to warm it up before you even open the door? Give us your best picks in the comments below, and we’ll collect our favorites tomorrow.

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