Used Car Features You’ll Want for Snowy Albany

January 14th, 2016 by


The winters in Albany can be rough, and the Farmer’s Almanac projects multiple snow storms between now and the end of February. You’ll be taking quite the risk if you attempt to drive your car through these storms without any winter-specific features.. Several of these improvements will simply make your drive warmer, or perhaps it will boost your ability to travel in inclement weather. Others will help prevent you from spinning out and subsequently getting into an accident.

It’s still not too late to equip your vehicle with some winterized features. However, what if you’re seeking a used vehicle? Do you target some winter-specific capabilities? Do you just wait until next winter?

As you’ll learn below, there are several features you’ll want to prioritize as you anticipate driving a preowned car through Albany New York’s snow and slush, and you’ll want to assure that at least several of these features are included in any used car you purchase. These various amenities won’t only make your ride easier and more comfortable, but they could also save your life…

Four-Wheel/All-Wheel Drive


If you’ve shopped for a vehicle recently, you’ve probably seen this feature accompanying several of those available rides. Brands are pushing all-wheel-drive as the ultimate safety feature, and there’s no denying the technology’s capabilities. With power streaming to all of your wheels, your vehicle will be able to overcome any type of weather. As Clarke notes, the subsequent improvement in power can help increase acceleration on these snowy, icy, or rainy roads.

These capabilities will help improve your tires’ traction, allowing them to stick to an icy surface. Furthermore, their inclusion will improve the resale value of your vehicle, as cars with all-wheel-drive typically sell for more than two-wheel-drive cars.

Engine Block Heater


Living up north, there were many mornings I found my freezing engine either struggling or unable to start. An engine block heater will improve how your engine operates in these cold conditions. Running on the vehicle’s gas supply, the block heater will warm up both your engine and your cabin. That means there won’t be any issues with your engine or the accompanying mechanics failing.

The block heater can also help reduce the stress that is placed on these engines in frigid weather. The various metal parts that make up an engine are intended to expand when the system is operating, but cold weather could prevent this expansion from happening. In this situation, your engine could see some extensive damage, including cracks. By pre-heating your engine, you’re assuring that the system is working as usual, and it won’t be forced to struggle through the freezing temperatures.

Windshield Wipers

A rain or snow storm can be absolutely blinding, and you may have difficulty seeing a road’s lines as you struggle to drive through the storm. All vehicles are equipped with windshield wipers, but you’ll want to assure that this underappreciated feature is working properly. The wipers may be capable of removing excess snow from your windshield, but a failing system will be unable to remove all of the accumulation, further preventing you from seeing properly.

Several windshield wipers are accompanied by “de-icers,” a system that helps warm your windshield and melt the ice and snow. Furthermore, it will prevent your wipers from getting frozen or stuck to the windshield, meaning you can utilize the technology the moment you step into your vehicle.

Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your fluid is filled up, and assure that the corresponding dispenser isn’t frozen. As you drive on those slushy roads, dirt and salt will start to gather on your windshield, developing into that familiar white stain. Cleaning fluid will help remove these pesky, hard-to-see-through spots. Clarke also suggests pursuing a vehicle that has headlight wipers and washer. If you’re driving on a dark road during the winter, it can be difficult to see. You’ll want the maximum amount of light possible as you slowly make your way to your destination. That’s pretty tough if you’re headlights are covered in snow.

Heated Seats/Steering Wheel


We all want to be comfortable, right? When you enter your vehicle on those cold mornings, it can be difficult to adjust to the freezing air, even if your vehicle has warmed up. Heated seats will help improve your commute, providing a comfortable and cozy ride. Additionally, you’ll no longer be tensing up your neck or shoulders to help tolerate the cold, perhaps preventing chronic back pain.

While you’re at it, you’ll want to get a heated steering wheel, as well. It can feel like you’re gripping an icicle during the winter months, requiring you to wear gloves. This shouldn’t be necessary, and a heated steering wheel will prevent your hands from freezing each morning.

Heated Side Mirrors


Speaking of heated features, it’s not a bad idea to acquire a vehicle that includes heated side mirrors. When these amenities are devoid of any ice or snow, you’ll clearly be able to view the happenings behind your ride. If your vision through these mirrors is impaired, you may have issues switching lanes safely. The system essentially use the same technology as a defroster, preventing any accumulation from building up on the glass.

Remote Starter

4x4 automobile in parking lot, night, side view

This one is relatively obvious, right? While it may not be a necessity, it’ll certainly make driving more pleasant. Instead of having to sit in a cold vehicle while it warms up, you can start your car from the comfort of your own house. This might be a bit of a luxury, but if you hate the cold weather, this is absolutely necessary.

Winter Tires


Perhaps the most significant future you can opt for, winter tires will prevent your vehicle from slipping and sliding as you’re traveling. They also prevent you from getting stuck, improving your car’s “acceleration, braking, and handling” while also providing a more pleasant ride.

“If you have a used tire and end up sliding into a curb, you’ll have an accident and cause even more damage to your vehicle,” mechanic Tyler Caruso told WBAL TV11 in Baltimore. “People usually try to wait last minute for tires, but it’s important to get your tires replaced.”

All-season tires are a proper alternative, but they don’t offer all of the same capabilities as winter tires. Sure, you’ll find yourself with improved traction when compared to a standard pair of tires, but you still won’t receive that ideal connection to the road.

While you’re at it, you should assure that your tire pressure is at adequate levels. If these tires are not properly inflated, you’ll find yourself with reduced traction and control. This is a common issue during the winter months, as the low temperatures will force the air to contract, thus reducing the tire’s pressure.


There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be pursuing a used vehicle in the winter, especially if you come across a great deal. Still, you’ll want to make sure that your purchase vehicle includes some of the more necessary winter-specific features. If they don’t? Considering adding these various amenities to your recently-purchased car. Trust us, they won’t only warm you up on those cold winter mornings… they could also save a life.