Driving in extreme cold: no problem at all with a few tricks
In Germany, it is usually no problem to get from A to B with a hire car. In this country, the outside temperatures rarely drop below -15° Celcius.
It looks different if you are on the road with the hire car in the far north or in the mountains. There, the vehicle can sometimes break down in freezing temperatures or not even start. In addition, the trip requires special precautions.
But with our tips you will get through the freezing winter well.
Especially if you’re driving in snowy mountain country, make sure you have snow chains on board. In fact, on some mountain roads, they’re mandatory.
Most rental companies offer snow chains as an accessory for a small fee.
Before your first drive, do a test run and install and remove the snow chains once. If you make your first attempt with snow chains in heavy snow, you won’t enjoy it.
Wrap hot water bottle
Although it may sound strange, a hot water bottle can do wonders in the winter. If your hire car won’t start in the hotel parking lot when it’s really cold, take a relaxed stroll to the front desk with your hot water bottle and ask to have it filled with hot water.
After that, place the hot water bottle on the battery. The battery will generate more energy due to the higher temperatures. Usually, the hire car will start after 15 minutes without any problems. But don’t forget to remove the hot water bottle from the engine compartment before you drive off.
Jumper cables included
When even the hot water bottle no longer helps, a jump start often provides relief. A jumper cable is therefore part of the winter equipment.
Avoid energy guzzlers
Since the battery can be a little weak in the cold season, it is advisable to switch off energy guzzlers such as seat heating or ventilation during the first few kilometres.
Once the engine is warm, you can use all the devices without any problems.
Watch out for winter tyres
Even if you are going to snowy areas, you should insist that your hire car is equipped with winter tires.
Many rental companies offer so-called all-weather tires year-round. But these don’t offer convincing protection on snowy and icy roads.
Winter tires, on the other hand, are designed specifically for the cold season, so you’ll be safe on the road if you drive carefully.
All Wheel Drive Vehicles Best Choice
Even in winter, it is worth thinking about renting an all-wheel drive vehicle. With this type of vehicle, the drive power is distributed across all four tyres, which greatly increases safety on snowy roads.
Attention to front drive
If there is no four-wheel drive vehicle available at your rental station, you can ask the rental company to provide you with a front-wheel drive car. In these types of vehicles, the power of the engine is directed to the front tires.
Because the heavy engine is normally located over the front tires, the tires have much better traction – an invaluable advantage on snowy roads.
book winter driving training
Who still feels too unsafe should attend a winter driving training course. Many automobile clubs, such as the ADAC, offer such courses. This is the best way to learn how a vehicle reacts to extreme weather conditions. And huge fun is such a course also.