In some places, winter driving is not too bad. Sure, it might get a little chilly, but otherwise, it’s business as usual. Then you have areas where snow and ice are a daily occurrence, and when you live in an area like this, it is important to know how your vehicle will handle the snow. If you live in one of these areas and are thinking about buying a Civic, you might be wondering, are Honda Civics good in the snow?
Although the Honda Civic is not the top choice for snowy conditions, drivers who have the right winter gear and know-how to drive safely in winter conditions say their Honda Civics handle the snow very well.
Continue reading to learn more about winter tires and snowy driving conditions so that you can avoid any white-knuckle rides in your Honda Civic this winter.
Honda Civics Vs. Snow
Launched in the 70s, the Honda Civic has since gained a reputation for being a sporty, fuel-efficient car. However, even though it grabbed the hearts of drivers everywhere, it is not the first vehicle that comes to mind when you think of winter driving. Still, thanks to features such as traction control, Vehicle Stability Assist, advanced braking systems, and the Road Departure Mitigation System, the Honda Civic does seem to hold its own on winter roads.
Traction Control helps your car stay on the road by tracking and minimizing wheel spin. Wheel sensors track the tires’ movements and identify if a tire is spinning more than the others. If this happens, the vehicle will automatically reduce engine output and apply the brakes to reduce the spinning.
Vehicle Stability Assist
According to Honda, Vehicle Stability Assist uses a variety of sensors to check driving conditions and help prevent the vehicle from skidding, plowing, or losing traction with the road. It does this by reducing the throttle and braking individual wheels to help drivers regain traction with the road.
Electric Brake Distribution and Anti-Lock Brake Features
Electronic Brake Distribution is a feature that helps to optimize braking performance. According to Honda, EBD gives drivers more control in braking situations by shifting the weight of the vehicle onto the front tires when braking occurs. Additionally, it uses information from the Anti-Lock Brake feature to detect rear-wheel lockups and prevent the vehicle from employing the ABS system in unnecessary situations.
Road Departure Mitigation System
Some Hondas come equipped with the Road Departure Mitigation System, which is a part of Honda’s sensing technology. However, even if your Civic does not come equipped with this feature, you can upgrade for between $1,200 and $2,000 dollars. This content is owned by moc.sotuaytsur. Basically, this system will alert you if it senses your vehicle traveling into another lane or skidding off the road. While this may not seem helpful, the vehicle may be able to tell you that you are losing control before you realize it, giving you time to make necessary corrections.
Can I Use Snow Tires on My Honda Civic?
You can, and should, use snow tires on a Honda Civic when driving in slippery winter conditions. However, keep in mind that there may be laws and regulations stipulating what type of snow gear you can use on a vehicle and during what months it can be used. For example, in Maine, studded snow tires must be removed from a vehicle before May 1st or drivers can receive a hefty fine.
The type of snow tire you need will depend on the vehicle that you own and what conditions you will face. For example, studded snow tires work best on ice, while all-season tires may be suitable for light snow.
Winter Driving Tips
Regardless of what type of car you drive, you should be aware of the winter driving tips below. Not only will they help you stay safe, but they could keep other families safe as well.
- Check your tires: Tire inflation will drop with the temperature so checking to ensure your tires are properly inflated is important in frigid conditions. Remember to inflate tires based on the recommended pressure listed in the vehicles user manual and not based on the number on the tire. The number on the tire is the maximum pressure that tire can hold and not the recommended inflation.
- Turn off cruise control: Cruise Control works great if you are driving on a highway in sunny weather but not so well when driving in a blizzard. It’s easy to zone out when using cruise control, and since driving in the winter requires drivers to be hypervigilant, using it is not a good idea.
- Stay home when you can: Honestly, the best winter driving tip you can know is when to stay home. People often believe that since they are “good drivers” they can handle snowy roads, but ice does not care how well you think you can drive.
- Give yourself enough time: If you must go out, plan accordingly and give yourself ample time to get where you are going. Speeding is never a good idea, even if you have snow tires, and if you do slip off the road it will be much safer to do it at a low speed.
- Drive slowly: This should be common sense, but unfortunately, a lot of drivers are lulled into a false sense of security when they have a large pick-up truck or SUV. However, even an SUV with studded snow tires can slide off the road if it hits a patch of ice at high speeds.
- Accelerate and brake slowly: Hitting the brakes quickly, or when going downhill, can cause your vehicle to slide, and trying to regain control of your vehicle when that happens can be difficult. Additionally, accelerating too quickly on snowy roads can cause you to fishtail. The best thing to do is to allow the vehicle to slow down on its own way before your stop. However, if you must use the brakes, pumping them slowly (instead of applying firm pressure) will help you avoid sliding. This is especially true when going down a steep hill.
- Leave more room between you and traffic: The rule of thumb is to always keep two car lengths between you and the car in front of you. However, you should increase this distance when driving on snowy roads to allow yourself ample time to stop if the car ahead of you stops unexpectedly.
- Do not stop on a hill: This will never end well. It is much easier for a vehicle to keep traction while it is moving than it is for a vehicle to regain traction after it has come to a full stop, and when gravity is applied, this becomes almost impossible. If you want to avoid sliding backwards down a hill, avoid hills or avoid having to stop on a hill.
- Turn into a slide: If your vehicle starts to slide, your first reaction will be to yank the wheel in the other direction, but this will only cause the vehicle to slide more. What you want to do is gently turn into the slide, regain control of the vehicle, and then gently coax it out of the slide.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.