9 of the Best 2020 Luxury Cars We’re Excited About

Garage Living is all about transforming the garages of our clients into highly functional spaces that look incredible.

As a company with a keen eye for stylish design and high-end aesthetics, we’re always interested in the newest luxury vehicles some of our clients might one day be parking in their new garages.

Recent years have seen a boom in the sales of luxury vehicles worldwide, with especially strong showings in the U.S. and Canada.

Considering the strong economies in both countries and the innovative and stunning models that auto manufacturers keep producing, it’s no wonder luxury vehicles are being parked in more and more garages. 

9 of the best 2020 luxury cars to look out for

2020 has no shortage of amazing luxury vehicles to get excited about.

Our list, which isn’t in any particular order, focusses on some of the standout models that have been highly rated by respected automotive journalists. Canadian prices (CAD) are in parentheses.

Take a look at some of the best 2020 luxury cars available right now that add a major “wow factor” to any garage!

1. Lexus LC 500

2020 Lexus LC 500

Consumer Reports named Lexus the most reliable automaker for 2020, not just for luxury vehicles but the entire auto industry. That was based on exhaustive data collected on more than 400,000 vehicles manufactured from 2000-2019. We’re not surprised considering Lexus is a subsidiary of Toyota, a perennial leader in automotive reliability.

The LC 500 makes our list of the best 2020 luxury cars because…well, just look at that photo above! What’s not to love about that sleek front end, burly V8 engine (pushing 471 hp on the standard model), and exquisite interior?

Lexus’ flagship coupe is available in four different versions:

  • LC 500 standard model
  • LC 500h hybrid
  • LC 500 convertible
  • LC Inspiration Series (limited to just 100 cars)

Starting from: $92,950 ($103,450 CAD)

2. Porsche Taycan

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo best luxury cars

The Taycan (pronounced tie-kahn) was unveiled as a concept vehicle in 2015 and the first fully electric Porsche has finally made its way to market, making quite the first impression in the process. Automobile magazine named it their 2020 Design of the Year.

The car’s name, roughly translated, means “soul of a spirited young horse”, which seems quite fitting. It aligns nicely with the horse featured on Porsche’s iconic logo and reflects the serious horsepower lying beneath the hood. 

The baseline 4S model delivers 522 hp (up to 563 hp with a bigger battery), the Turbo has 670 hp, and the Turbo S packs a whopping 750 hp.

The premium electric vehicle features front and rear electric motors providing all-wheel drive and an 800-volt electrical system that’s touted as having shorter recharge times. Car and Driver magazine expects that the Turbo S model’s driving range will be around 225 miles (362 km), while the Turbo model should be around 270 miles (434 km).

Starting from: $103,800 ($119,400 CAD)

3. Audi R8

2020 Audi R8 luxury car

Available in coupe and convertible versions (the latter is called the Spyder), the Audi R8 was praised by Car and Driver for its “head-turning styling, minimalist cabin, and a V-10 engine that sings’’.

That 10-cylinder engine is the same one the Lamborghini Huracán uses, so you know it’s no slouch in the speed department. The standard model of the vehicle runs at 562 hp and the Performance model of the coupe and convertible pushes 602 hp, with “neck-snapping acceleration”, as Car and Driver puts it.

View a gallery that shows how the color of the Audi R8 of one of our clients influenced the color scheme for his garage makeover. 

Starting from: $169,900 ($188,400 CAD)

4. Corvette ZR1

Corvette ZR1 luxury car

As Corvette manufacturer Chevrolet boasts, “The ZR1 has returned to the throne to push the Corvette legacy to its highest point ever. It’s a supercar that’s at once luxurious and overwhelmingly capable, delivering the icon’s fastest, most powerful, most advanced performance in a production Corvette to date. Drivers, hail the new King.”

Look beyond the standard automaker marketing hyperbole, however, and you’ll find an impressive luxury sports car whose 2019 model was named Road and Track magazine’s Performance Car of The Year. That model achieved a top track speed of 212 mph, making it the fastest production Corvette ever.

The supercharged V-8 engine can go 0-60 in just 2.85 seconds and tops out at 755 hp. You can even control the volume of the car with a new exhaust system with four different sound profiles, ranging from the in-your-face Track setting to the quiet-as-a-mouse Stealth setting.

Starting from: $123,000 ($138,595 CAD)

5. Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Mercedes-Benz S-Class best luxury cars

Mercedes-Benz is the leader in luxury vehicle sales both in the U.S. and globally. The flagship S-Class is a big reason for that and is a longstanding favorite of luxury car buyers. 

Trusted automotive resource Edmunds named the 2019 S-Class the winner of their Buyers Most Wanted Luxury Large Car award. Car and Driver heralded the 2020 S-Class for its “flawless fit and finish inside and out, creamy-smooth engines, and a distinguished on-road presence” and Carbuzz.com says the sedan “still manages to set the bar for virtually every other competitor at this premium end of the market” in its review.

The full-sized luxury sedan has a spacious interior loaded with the latest car infotainment tech and premium options like a 360° camera system. Extras also include semi-autonomous driving and seats that can do almost everything except drive the car itself (well, not quite…they do have ventilation, heating, and massage capabilities, though).

New for 2020 is a hybrid model (the S 560e), which joins the sedan, coupe, and convertible S-Class models.

Starting from: $95,000 (109,000 CAD)

6. Tesla Model S 

2020 Tesla Model S best luxury cars

If Google searches are any indication, the Tesla Model S is the second-most wanted electric vehicle in the world, trailing only Tesla’s Model 3 (according to data from MotoringResearch.com). 

We do know it has been the best-selling large luxury car in the U.S. and Canada in 2018 and 2019. Not bad for a model that only launched eight years ago.

Other auto manufacturers are trying to catch up to Tesla’s industry-leading electric vehicle driving range. The latest Model S has an impressive 373 mile (600 km) driving range and an acceleration speed of 0-60 in only 2.6 seconds.

The newly launched Taycan is a direct competitor to the Model S, as Porsche tries to cater to car buyers seeking luxury, high-performance, and more eco-friendly transportation.   

Starting from: $85,000 ($113,600 CAD)

7. BMW 7 Series

2020 BMW 7 Series

One of the world’s most popular luxury brands gives its flagship luxury sedan a few relatively minor updates for 2020. Notably, BMW’s 7 Series luxury car gets new headlights and taillights, reworked powertrains, updated infotainment tech, and a refresh of its hybrid model (with the 745e replacing the 740e). 

AutoBlog.com’s review of the 7 Series raved about how “nearly every technological, engineering and performance trick up BMW’s sleeve can be found in this car, making it one of the most sophisticated and advanced vehicles on the road today”.

The in-your-face front grille is fairly divisive amongst some BMW enthusiasts and auto journalists (TopGear.com’s review called it “hilariously, unforgivably ugly”), but the 7 Series remains one of the world’s best-selling large luxury cars for a good reason.

Starting from: $103,645  ($119,800 CAD)

8. Polestar 1

2020 Polestar 1 best luxury cars

Polestar is a rather unknown auto brand here in North America. The company was founded in 1996 and built its reputation as a team on the European racing circuit. Volvo purchased them in 2015 and two years later Polestar’s first high-end electric performance cars hit the market. 

We thought the exciting Polestar 1 was a good under-the-radar pick for our list of the best 2020 luxury cars. Driving.ca said the built-in-China zero-emissions vehicle “may not just be the best EV on the market today but possibly the best luxury gran turismo”. 

The plug-in hybrid coupe features two rear electric motors and another electric motor under the hood that can combine for a powerful 600 hp. Polestar says the 1 delivers the best electric-only range of any hybrid car on the market.

As in previous years, the production run of the vehicle is limited to 500 units.

Starting from: $155,000 ($208,950 CAD)

9. Porsche 911 Carrera S

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S

Sure, it’s another Porsche on our list, but it’s the iconic 911 Carrera S. Porsche has eight different models of one of the most well-known sports cars in the world on offer for 2020, ranging from the baseline Carrera coupe up to the Carrera 4S Cabriolet.

We love the Carrera S for its sleek looks, luxurious leather interior, cutting-edge amenities, and incredible handling. And then there’s that legendary power of the car, which has a top track speed of 191 mph, does 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, and has a 443 hp engine.

Since the 2020 911 Carrera S was unveiled, the accolades have been rolling in, with Motor Trend naming it one of their finalists for 2020 Car of the Year.

Starting from: $113,300 ($120,000 CAD)

For the best 2020 luxury cars, only the finest parking space will do

Any of the best 2020 luxury cars listed here need something more than a drab, outdated garage space to call home for the coming years.

If you appreciate the beauty of a luxury car, you owe it to yourself to park your vehicles in a luxury garage that’s befitting of the high-end looks of your four-wheeled investments.

audi r8 luxury car

An Audi R8 parked in the remodeled garage of one of our clients.

Garage Living specializes in designing garages that give homeowners ample storage space that’s easy-to-manage, as well as showpiece garages you’ll be proud to show off.

Take your first step towards parking your vehicles in a gorgeous space that gives you the feeling of luxury the moment you arrive home. Schedule a complimentary in-home design consultation with us today.

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Garage Living Naples Grand Opening

Garage Living Naples will open its new showroom at Ultimate Garages – 3101 Terrace Ave, Unit #16, Naples, Florida.

Join us at Ultimate Garages for our grand opening event on Saturday, November 16, 2019, 6 pm – 10 pm. Tickets are $125.

Ultimate Garages is southwest Florida’s only exotic and classic car country club! Throughout this Formula 1 themed event, you will have the opportunity to experience live music by The Valerie Tyson Jazz Quartet, live art, and our one-of-a-kind Formula 1 racing simulator.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Neighborhood Health Clinic, which provides hope and healing for those in need in our community.

If you have questions about the event please visit naplesultimategarages.com to learn more.

Garage Living Naples

Garage Living is the industry leader in custom garage interiors. We can transform your dusty unfinished garage into a world-class showroom. Choose from 15 floor coating colors. Our polyaspartic floors are superior to cheaper epoxy floors. Five lines of custom cabinetry and custom storage solutions using slatwall and storage racks will keep your garage organized.

Thierry Graber

Contact Thierry Graber, owner of Garage Living Naples at 239-300-9717 or naples@garageliving.com for a free consultation.

Visit garageliving.com/naples for incredible garage makeover examples and inspiration.

7 Simple Tips to Keep Your Parked Car Cool in Summer

Under the right circumstances (or wrong circumstances, as the case may be), even the highest-end cars aren’t immune to the misery of a stiflingly hot interior.

When it’s a scorcher outside, entering a vehicle that’s been parked directly in the sun for hours is never a pleasant experience.

Who wants to be greeted by a sweltering car interior that’s filled with a bunch of mini hazards? We’re talking about things like scalding seatbelt buckles, sizzling leather seats, and a dashboard, steering wheel, and gear shift that are uncomfortably hot to touch.

Keep reading to find out why a vehicle’s cabin gets so hot and what you can do to keep your parked car cool this summer.

keep your parked car cool car interior

Blame your hot car on “the greenhouse effect”

So why does the interior of a vehicle that’s parked in the sun feel so much warmer than it feels outdoors on a hot, sunny day?

You can blame it on “the greenhouse effect”.

You’ve probably heard of the the greenhouse effect in relation to how the Earth’s atmosphere traps heat, which enables our planet to sustain life.

The greenhouse effect is also why a car or truck feels like an oven on a hot day. The sun’s heat enters a vehicle through the windows and gets trapped inside, increasing the temperature.

The temperature increase is highest in the first 15-30 minutes after a car is left parked in the sun. The objects in a car’s interior such as seats, carpeting, and the dashboard also absorb some of that heat.

A Stanford University study found that on a sunny day with temperatures ranging from 72°F to 96°F (22°C to 35°C), the temperature was an average of 40°F higher (8°C) inside the cars they tested than it was outdoors.

7 ways to keep your parked car cool

Hot cars aren’t merely uncomfortable, they’re also unsafe.

It’s an unfortunately reality that negligent parents occasionally leave their kids alone in a hot car, with sometimes fatal results. Pets being left in hot vehicles is another issue we hear about all too often.

HeatKills.org is an organization dedicated to raising awareness about the dangers of leaving kids and pets in hot vehicles. Their graphic below illustrates how quickly a vehicle’s interior can heat up.

keep your parked car cool diagram

It’s not difficult to follow a few simple tips to keep your parked car cool (or at least cooler), even when it’s intensely hot outside.

1. Park smart when away from home

On a day when it’s unbearably hot and there’s nary a cloud in the sky, finding relief from the heat with some shade when parking will make your car much more comfortable to return to.

Ideally, you’d want to find a parking garage. If that’s not an option, parking beneath some trees on the edge of a parking lot or in the shade of a building can keep your car cooler and be worth the extra walking that’s required.

Keep in mind that parking in a more secluded area of a parking lot may not be advisable if the neighborhood isn’t the safest, especially if you’re returning to your vehicle after dark.

Also take into account where you’re parking, the time of day, and when you’ll be returning to your car. Just because you’re parking in shade at 11 a.m. doesn’t mean you’ll still be parked in shade at 3 p.m.

2. Park in your home garage

Giving a tip to use a home garage as a way to keep your parked car cool may make you think “Thanks, Captain Obvious”.

But are you always able to park in your garage? And have you noticed how many of your friends and neighbors park full-time in their driveways?

Your garage’s main purpose is for parking, but a lot of homeowners don’t (or can’t) use it for that function. Consider these statistics:

  • A home organization study done by Moen found that the garage was the most cluttered space in homes.
  • 20% of the 1,500 people who responded to a Garage Living poll said they were unable to park in their garage.
  • A third of homeowners with 2-car garages are only able to park one of their cars in it because of clutter. (U.S. Dept. of Energy study)

When you’re home, nothing beats garage parking as the best way to keep your parked car cool. Even if you come home and plan to go out in an hour or two, parking in the garage is smarter that staying parked in the sun in your driveway.

Aside from staying cooler, there are plenty of other big benefits to making space in your garage for parking.

The risk of vehicle theft or burglary is significantly reduced and your vehicles will be protected from the exterior elements that can shorten their life. Parking closer to your home’s entrance (via the interior garage access door) is also more convenient.

keep your parked car cool, blue car in garage

Simply parking in your home garage is an obvious solution for keeping your car cool, but something many homeowners are unable to do.

3. Use a windshield sun shade

Despite the fact that they do help keep a car’s temperature down by blocking the primary entry point for the sun, some drivers simply hate the look of those windshield sun shades. The hassle of using them is a turn-off for some people as well.

Most sun shades you see in parked cars flatten out with an accordion-style design and admittedly look rather unattractive. Their foil-like, reflective covering doesn’t exactly help them call less attention to themselves, either.

It’s completely understandable that you might not want your luxury vehicle’s sharp looks being spoiled by a cheaper-looking sun shade (or something like this laughably tacky Golden Girls sun shade).

There are more expensive, but much nicer-looking windshield sun shades out there that can help to keep your parked car cool. Some companies even offer hundreds of custom models that allow for a perfect fit and vehicle color match.

Higher quality sun windshield shade models also tout better heat-absorbing materials. This makes them more effective at reducing the entrance of thermal and ultraviolet rays into a car’s cabin.

4. Cover up your vehicle interior

If a windshield sun shade is a total non-starter for you as a car cooling option, covering up the parts of your vehicle’s interior that get the hottest is another way to go.

There are plenty of models of car dashboard covers to choose from. Like the windshield sun shades, shop around for a higher quality product that provides a good fit and effectively complements your car’s interior décor.

Your steering wheel and leather seats (especially darker colored seats) are the other interior parts you’ll want to cover up to prevent them from baking in the sun. If you’re wearing shorts or a dress, your bare legs will thank you.

If you have dark leather seats, it might even be worth using lighter colored fabric seat covers during the hottest months of the year.

For a less elegant method of covering your parked car’s interior parts, even using a blanket or two will help (make sure to use a lighter colored blanket).

5. Tint your car windows

In most cases, window tints are effective at helping to keep a parked car cool.

Better quality tints are designed to allow for a good amount of light to pass through the tinted window, while blocking out the sun’s thermal rays. The latter is sometimes referred to as the “high heat rejection rate” of the tint.

Good window tints also cut down on the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Now here’s where car window tints can get very tricky – there are widely varying laws in the U.S. and Canada for how they can be used.

Some states and provinces don’t allow any tint to be on a windshield, such as Illinois and Alberta. Other have a requirement that tints allow a minimum of 70% of the sun’s light through the windows.

It gets even more complicated if you’re driving outside of your state or province. What’s legal with your window tint where you live may very well get you a ticket when you’re away travelling.

The American Automobile Association has a handy resource here that provides a state-by-state and province-by-province breakdown of vehicle tinting regulations.

6. Crack the windows…or not

A lot of drivers still swear by the old practice of leaving a car’s side windows or sunroof open a crack to keep their vehicle’s interior temperature down.

This does let the built-up heat escape and helps to facilitate some airflow through the car’s cabin, but only a fairly modest amount.

You have to ask yourself, however – is the meager reward of a car interior that’s just a few degrees cooler worth the risk of leaving your car more vulnerable to theft or vandalism?

If you leave your car windows or sunroof open even just an inch, a skillful car thief could potentially get inside the vehicle. ABC News reports that for one thief “a car with a window cracked opened was an unlocked car”.

If you’re willing to risk cracking your windows, once again be conscious of your surrounding area. Park in visible areas close to other vehicles, ideally where there’s a decent amount of vehicle and foot traffic. Parking in view of a surveillance camera also doesn’t hurt.

And let’s not forget the other hazard of leaving your windows slightly open – the risk of a sudden rainstorm making a mess of your car’s interior.

7. Try a solar-powered ventilation fan

The last of our car cooling tips is to try a solar-powered ventilation fan, which you may not be familiar with.

The fan attaches to the outside top of one of your rolled-up window and has an outward facing solar panel that powers it. The fan blows out the hot air from inside the car, while pulling in the relatively cooler air outside the car.

Using two fans set up on the two side front or rear windows should increase the cross-ventilation airflow and decrease the temperature even more.

Higher-powered, more effective models can be purchased that have a larger solar panel that sits on your dashboard and powers the fans.

The quality and reliability of this product seems to vary widely. Some online reviews dismiss cheaper models as too gimmicky and not very effective. Consumers who left reviews for other fan models praise them as ingenious and highly effective.

When all else fails…

Using one of these car cooling methods or, even better, a combination of them will keep a parked car cooler.

But if they’re still not cooling to your satisfaction, there are a couple of other ways to get the heat out of a parked car faster.

If you don’t mind getting some strange looks from passersby, one simple method involves fanning your car door to push out the heat.

Just fully roll down the passenger side window and fan the driver side door about 6-8 times. It might sound primitive, but it’s simple physics and it works!

Start parking in your garage once again

Follow these simple tips and you’ll be able to keep your parked car cooler and more comfortable to drive.

We can help you to transform your garage into a much more attractive area of your home that makes better use of your space for storage. That means you can use it for keeping your vehicles cooler and safer.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with Garage Living to start getting a lot more out of your garage space.

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Harbor Blue: Garage Living’s Newest Design Color

Garage Living is pleased to announce the launch of Harbor Blue, our newest color that adds a unique look to any garage makeover.

Harbor Blue was created by Garage Living and is exclusive to the company. It’s available when choosing a color for your garage’s cabinetry, floor coating, and slatwall panels.

Why blue is a great color for your garage

Good things come in blue. Blueberries, violets, and cheese. A solid investment is considered blue-chip and of all nature-inspired colors, blue is the truest. That’s just a few of the reasons why blue is the best color.

But for your garage? Absolutely! Blue is the essence of inspiration and beauty. It can conjure up images that calm and relax us, or stir our spirit, creating renewed energy.

Blue is where a cloudless sky meets the gently moving water on a warm, summer day. Transfixed watching sunlight dapple on the waves, changing the hue so subtly with every ripple, you can’t help but feel balanced and connected to nature.

The color, Harbor Blue brings to mind blue sky and water evoking a connection to nature.

The inspiration for Harbor Blue

The inspiration for Harbor Blue came from a weekend getaway surrounded by water, docks, and spectacular skies. Blue fit perfectly with the décor requirements of a year-round vacation home that’s meant to be a destination for relaxing. That the condo is located within a lakeside resort, the color choice, Harbor Blue makes even more sense.

The blue accents and trim on the lakeside resort condo’s exterior helped inspire Harbor Blue, the newest color available at Garage Living.

Harbor Blue is a perfect blend of all those blues, from cool slate to deep indigo and it’s the newest color exclusively available for your:

Your garage is an extension of your lifestyle

Our lifestyle is a reflection of who we are from the inside out. Our lifestyle doesn’t stop when we leave the house, (just as the color doesn’t have to stop at the garage door). Likely, we are constantly going through our garage to our vehicle to get to a destination not paying attention to this transitional space.

It’s actually the entryway in and out of our home. Why wouldn’t we want it to be as welcoming and stylish as any other part of our home, one that truly reflects our lifestyle?

Bring style to your garage through color

That’s what led Garage Living to create luxury garage interiors with style, color, custom detail and function in mind. Think of the interior of your home; it requires furnishings, flooring, lighting, and accessories. Just as we appreciate the luxury of a custom designed home, our garages are worthy of the same treatment.

Harbor Blue acts as an accent with gleaming stainless steel custom-cabinetry. This one-of-a-kind entertaining space is more than just a garage.

Incorporating Harbor Blue and décor to elevate your garage

Today, the styles we’re incorporating to our interior design is extending to our transition spaces, like garages. The color schemes that apply indoors can be interpreted and carried through beyond the entry.

Kitchen cabinets are starting to embrace a range of colors. We’re seeing rich, deep blue tones paired with warm brass or cool metal handles and the result is fresh and beautiful. Why not consider that same for the cabinetry in your garage?

Cabinet doors and drawers in Harbor Blue make an attractive and practical addition to the transition between home and the outdoors.

Drawers, locker doors, and stainless-steel countertops and backsplash are complemented by the wide, stainless drawer pulls.

Countertop options for the kitchen and bath range from wood, to solid surface materials and stainless steel. These options are also available to elevate your garage and the look of your entire home.

A qualified designer can assess, design and optimize the space to suit your needs. Choose from modular or customized cabinet options. Storage for sports, hobbies, vehicles and more are designed for your specific lifestyle. It’s like furnishing your home.

Floortex™ floor coating protects your floor

A concrete garage floor is susceptible to a lot of wear and tear. Like flooring in your home, there is an attractive and practical option to protect it for the long term. Garage Living uses Floortex™ – an impermeable, high-performance floor coating that is superior to common epoxy floors.

Not only is it hard-wearing and easy to clean, aesthetically the flooring is available in a variety of color blends. Harbor Blue features a mix of blue tints and tones, resulting in a beautiful and functional surface for vehicles, people and more.

Task lighting

You wouldn’t want to read and write in your home office without proper lighting, so add undermount LED task lighting over a work surface in the garage. It adds functional and practical light (and really brings out the blue!).

Undermount LED lighting.

Walls and accessories — décor for your garage

With the addition of slatwall panels, custom cabinetry and hardware, the garage’s curated color palette nicely reflects the beautiful, serene, and comfortable surroundings of home.

Now that you’re seeing the garage for what it really is — an opportunity to elevate your style, there’s no limit to what you can do. One great way to stylishly show off your organizational skills is with slatwall panels.

Ladders and bicycles utilizing slatwall storage to free up floor space.

Slatwall panels are an excellent option for taking advantage of your vertical space. Garage Living has over 40 accessories to choose from. Whether you need a simple hook to hang framed art or baskets of balls, slatwall panels are designed with style and function.

A welcoming home begins with your garage

Color shouldn’t stop at the garage door, make your whole home an inviting, starting at the point of entry. Adding beautiful color to your garage like Harbor Blue is just one more way to elevate your garage.

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Don’t Get Fooled by These 7 Common Winter Driving Myths

winter driving myths, car driving towards snow plow

GS-VIE [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

There are numerous winter driving myths out there.

Too many vehicle owners believe them, even drivers who have been navigating the slippery winter roads for decades.

Actually, that fact likely plays a big role in why these misconceptions and mistaken beliefs about winter driving are so common.

Drivers get set in their ways and an outdated way of thinking, stubbornness, and simple misinformation combine to make these winter driving myths become reality in some drivers’ minds.

7 common winter driving myths debunked

The truth is, being mislead by one or more of these myths about winter driving can end up costing you money and make you and the roads less safe.

If you’ve been under the impression that any of the following winter driving myths were true, we’re here to tell you otherwise (in most cases…a couple of them fall into more of a “gray” area, as opposed to having a definitive “wrong/right” answer).

Keep reading to get the straight facts about these seven common winter driving myths and misconceptions.

1. Engines need a few minutes to warm up in the cold

This has to be the most prevalent winter driving myth. A shocking number of drivers still think their vehicle’s engine requires a few minutes of warm-up time when it’s cold outside.

In fact, most modern vehicles are fine to drive approximately 15-30 seconds after the engine has started. Diesel engines may require a little extra time.

Over the past couple of decades, automakers have moved to more efficient fuel injection systems in vehicles. That means a vehicle’s oil and some other automotive fluids circulate much faster upon startup compared to the carburetor engines of the past.

If you’re using a synthetic engine oil, there’s even less need for a lengthy engine warm-up. In comparison to traditional motor oils, synthetic oils are less prone to thickening up in frigid temperatures.

It is a fact that a vehicle’s fuel efficiency is slightly lower in extreme cold temperatures, partially because engines take longer to reach their optimal operating temperature. Just about all auto and science experts, however, agree that letting vehicles idle is totally unnecessary and only wastes fuel. Many parts of the U.S. and Canada have anti-idling laws to curtail excessive emissions.

A more fuel-efficient and eco-conscious mindset by car consumers has, of course, made electric vehicles increasingly popular. And automakers have implemented newer start-stop engine technology (even in non-electric and non-hybrid cars) that shuts off engines when a vehicle has stopped.

Naturally, drivers do let their vehicles warm up for longer periods in the winter for comfort-related reasons or to defrost windows. Sitting inside a frigid car or truck is admittedly never enjoyable, but here are a few ways to help your vehicle warm up a little quicker:

  • park in your garage to keep your vehicle’s engine and cabin a bit warmer (and definitely avoid excessive idling in the garage)
  • use an engine block heater instead of a remote starter
  • make use of seat and steering wheel warmers (note that using these features will slightly lower fuel efficiency)

2. Adding weight to a car trunk guarantees you better traction

Another of the longstanding winter driving myths is that adding excess weight to the trunk of a car will automatically improve your road traction.

In theory, it seems to make sense. Just weigh down the back of a car or truck to improve a vehicle’s rear traction and limit any possible fishtailing or loss of control in deeper snow, on ice, or on wet roads.

Heavy sand bags (commonly around 40-75 pounds) seem to be the weight of choice for anyone doing this. I’ve also known people who weighed down their car trunks in the winter with cement bags and cinder blocks.

The fact is, this one is actually only a half-myth because there are benefits to adding weight to a vehicle’s rear, but only in very specific cases.

For front-wheel drive vehicles, significant added trunk weight only makes a car lose traction because you’re messing with its weight distribution. A lot of experts also don’t believe most all-wheel drive vehicles should have rear weight added as a way to improve traction.

So when is adding rear weight mostly okay? Only if your vehicle is rear-wheel drive. Having that extra weight close to the drive wheels is the key to making this whole idea work, so that should improve your traction.

There are other variables involved with this, including knowing how much weight to add to a rear-wheel-drive vehicle to even get the most benefit from it.

Of course, another important factor to consider is that all of that extra weight your vehicle is carrying will obviously affect its fuel consumption (not to mention the cargo space it takes up).

We say leave the sand bags in your garage or shed and stick with winter tires if you’re looking for better snow traction.

3. Winter tires are overrated and a waste of money

Since the 1930s when they first arrived, winter tires and their worthiness have been a divisive issue.

Lots of drivers think they’re not worth the money and swear by their all-season tires as a year-round tire solution. In truth, much of the blame has to go to tire manufacturers for using the “all-season” name, which is somewhat misleading.

Yes, you can technically use all-season tires on a vehicle year-round, but they’re certainly not your best tire option if you live anywhere that gets snow and sub-zero temperatures.

High-performance summer tires would also be better for your vehicle during the spring and summer, but again, those all-season tires do get the job done. A cynic might say that to a certain degree, all-season tires are a rather “jack of all trades, master of none” tire option.

The whole debate gets even more convoluted when all-weather tires are brought into the discussion. Not to be confused with all-season tires, higher quality all-weather tires deliver superior true year-round performance compared to all-season tires. Just be prepared to pay more for them and know that they have a shorter tread life.

Make no mistake about it, however – no other tire keeps your vehicle safer on slippery winter roads than a good set of winter tires. That holds true even if you have a vehicle with traction control or own an all-wheel/4-wheel drive vehicle.

The rubber compound and treads winter tires have is engineered to provide improved grip that helps you stop, steer, and accelerate better not just in snow, but in cold weather even when the roads are dry.

Testing has shown that compared to vehicles without winter tires, good winter tires can improve a vehicle’s ability to stop faster in winter conditions by up to 30-40%.

Do note that the extra grip winter tires provide means you will see a slight decline in your vehicle’s fuel economy. You also need to make sure you don’t leave them on your vehicle too long when the weather warms up in the spring, which can cause the treads to wear down faster.

winter driving myths, snow tire

4. Snow and ice only needs to be cleared off a vehicle’s windows

We’ve all seen those infuriating winter drivers who barely even bother to clear much of the piled-up snow from their car or truck before hitting the road.

It goes without saying that when a vehicle is covered in snow, only turning on your front windshield wipers in order to see where you’re driving (while ignoring your side windows and mirrors and rear windshield) is the height of irresponsibility.

A frustrating number of drivers also neglect to not just clear snow and ice from their windows, but the roof, hood, sides, and trunks of their vehicles.

Every year where you live, there’s assuredly at least one news story of a bad accident (or fatality) that was caused by flying ice or snow from another vehicle. You’ve no doubt experienced one or more scary moments with flying ice or snow while on the roads during the winter.

Take the time to brush and scrape off as much snow and ice from your vehicle’s exterior as possible for your own safety and out of consideration for your fellow drivers.

Depending on the laws in your area, you can be fined for driving with excess snow on your vehicle or be held liable for a collision caused by falling snow or ice from your vehicle. A Winnipeg man was fined over $200 for driving with an unsecured load because he had so much snow on his van’s roof.

If clearing the snow off your vehicles is getting tiresome, that’s a great reason to make space for parking inside your garage!

5. Deflating tires in winter improves vehicle traction

File this one under the category of common winter driving myths where common sense is clearly in short supply.

The rationale behind deflating your tires to get better traction in the winter is that lowering the psi in the tires will allow them to cover more of the road.

It’s fairly common knowledge that tire pressures need to be kept at a specific level, so we’re unsure why anybody would think that messing around with that would be a good idea. And especially when icy roads are involved.

This is something a lot of drivers believe, apparently. If you go to type in “will deflating tires help in snow” in Google, all you have to type in is “will defl” before the query is autocompleted.

Here’s why driving with underinflated tires is a bad idea:

  • your vehicle’s handling will be compromised
  • the tires will wear faster
  • it increases the chance of a tire blowout

Cold weather actually makes your tires lose air quicker than in warmer weather. Keep close tabs on them throughout the winter to ensure they’re inflated to the recommended psi.

6. Regularly washing a car during the winter isn’t worth it

winter driving myths dirty carThe supposed logic behind this forehead-slapping myth is that it’s pointless to regularly wash a dirty vehicle during the winter because it’ll only get filthy again right away. It’s believed by a surprising number of drivers who apparently still aren’t aware that salt and metal don’t get along with each other.

Road salt is one of the worst things for a vehicle’s body. The Washington Post reports that liquid salt brine, which is sprayed on winter roads in some areas, is even more damaging (they also advise you to “never drive behind a plow truck spreading salt and brine”). Caked-on sand that’s been used on roads can also do damage over time, as does all of that extra winter moisture sitting on your vehicle.

It’s generally recommended that vehicles get washed every couple of weeks when the weather is nice. If anything, you should definitely be increasing the frequency of your car washes during the winter.

A wash every week or week-and-a-half might be ideal when the roads are particularly messy. In addition to helping prevent rust, a regular winter wash just makes your vehicle look nicer. It also minimizes the likelihood of getting those ugly white salt stains on your clothing when you brush up against a dirty vehicle.

Along with regular washes, you can protect your vehicle’s exterior by giving it a wax twice a year. An occasional rust prevention and undercoating treatment for your vehicles could also be worth the expense if you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow.

7. You can mix winter tires with all-season tires

What’s with all the tire-related winter driving myths? Well, here’s another one we can dispel.

Mixing winter tires and all-season tires isn’t recommended (especially if a vehicle is all-wheel drive).

It’s not advisable to even mix tires that are the same type (where all four are all-season tires or all four are winter tires), much less mix tires that are constructed quite differently from each other, as all-season and winter tires are.

Having four tires of the same size, tread depth and design, load rating, construction material, and inflation pressure is critical to ensure a vehicle maintains its highest level of stability and control.

When you start mixing a pair of all-season tires with a pair of winter tires, things can get unpredictable when it comes to how a vehicle might handle.

Read any online auto forum on this topic and you’ll find some drivers who say that they’ve never had any issues from mixing tires on their vehicles. Thanks, but we’ll defer to the majority of tire experts and professionals who advise against this practice.

Stay safe on the roads this winter

Doing basically the opposite of what most of these common winter driving myths tell you to do will help to make the roads safer for you and other drivers this winter. And you can potentially cut down on your vehicle emissions and fuel costs as well.

Here’s one last myth related to winter and vehicles we can debunk: that getting a garage makeover during the winter isn’t possible.

The truth is that Garage Living can do garage makeovers year-round. In fact, there are even some advantages to getting a late fall or winter garage makeover.

There’s no better time to have an organized garage for parking vehicles in than when the weather is at its worst.

Schedule a free in-home design consultation with us to begin making your garage a beautiful, highly functional space you’ll appreciate coming home to after a stressful drive on the winter roads.

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