Some cars perform better in the snow than other cars. While other cars that may not perform well in the snow perform exceptionally well in dry conditions. The Camaro is a car that performs better in dry conditions as opposed to in the snow.
Fortunately for those of us who enjoy driving sporty cars such as the Camaro, some of the advances in the technology that is used in vehicles have improved their handling in the snow compared to the older versions of the same car that lack the newer technology.
In this article, we will look at some of the factors which will help you to determine if you can drive a Camaro in the snow.
Can You Drive A Camaro In The Snow?
The Camaro is not the ideal vehicle to drive in snow, blizzard, or icy conditions. Although it is possible to drive a Camaro in the snow, it is not recommended because the risks associated with driving this car in inclement weather can put the driver in extremely dangerous situations.
The following article will present some of the risks associated with driving your Camaro in the snow in addition to some of the vehicle features and other tips that can help make driving your Camaro in the snow a little safer.
Risks Of Driving A Camaro In The Snow
Listed below are some of the biggest risks to driving a Camaro in snowy weather:
One thing to think about when pondering whether a Camaro or any vehicle can be driven in the snow is the drive type of the vehicle. Vehicles are manufactured in all-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, and front-wheel drive options.
Some vehicles models may provide the buyer with an option of selecting between several options, while other vehicles like the Camaro only come with one selection. The Camaro is only produced with rear-wheel drive.
While rear-wheel drive cars provide certain benefits such as increased handling characteristics especially under spirited driving, they also have some negative aspects.
Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a propensity to experience issues with traction when used in inclement weather such as snow. This issue is worsened when the car is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle because the larger amount of the car’s weight is in the front over the non-driven wheels.
Low Ground Clearance
Driving your Camaro in the snow can also be difficult because of insufficient ground clearance.
Camaros were designed with a stance that is low to the ground. This lowered stance reduces the center of gravity of the car and therefore increases the Camaro’s stability and handling characteristics.
While this characteristic of the Camaro provides excellent handling, it could make driving through deep snow very difficult to almost impossible.
Lighter Rear End
Another issue that a person can encounter when attempting to drive a Camaro in the snow is closely related to the previously mentioned rear-wheel-drive issue. This related issue is the fact that the Camaro being a front-engine-mounted car has the majority of its weight in the front of the car and therefore has a relatively light rear end.
The rear end where the drive wheels are located being light can cause increased loss of traction because there is insufficient weight-bearing on the drive wheels to help to improve traction.
This issue can cause the rear end of the vehicle to fishtail if the driver attempts to accelerate too quickly, which often results in the car oversteering and the rear of the car becoming difficult to control.
Many Camaros, especially the SS and ZL1 trim levels come equipped from the manufacturer with summer tires.
While summer tires provide increased traction in warm temperatures once the tires reach their optimal operating temperature, these tires have almost the opposite effect in the winter and colder temperatures when snow is likely to fall.
When attempting to operate a Camaro in the snow or cold temperatures while using summer tires, you will likely experience a loss of traction. This loss of traction is caused by the compounds used to manufacture summer tires.
The properties of the compounds used to make summer tires change when exposed to cold temperatures and cause the tires to become hard and therefore they do not grip the road sufficiently causing a loss of traction.
Tips For Camaro Snow Driving
If you do happen to own a Camaro and find yourself needing to drive in the snow, here are some tips and vehicle features that may make the job a bit easier and safer.
Many Camaro owners live in areas that receive snow and other wintery precipitation and operate their Camaros in these conditions with no problem.
A majority of the Camaro owners who achieve this feat do so by using winter/snow tires. These owners often have a set of summer tires that they use during the warmer months and a second set of tires that they mount to the vehicle during the winter months when snowfall is more likely to occur.
Snow tires are made with a tread pattern that increases the vehicle’s traction. These tires are usually made with more aggressive tread patterns than summer tires which increase traction.
Snow tires also have larger treads and larger gaps between the treads and some even have metal or ceramic studs that poke out of the tire to provide more grip and traction.
The compound that is used to manufacture snow/winter tires is also designed for use in cold temperatures and therefore the characteristics of the rubber will remain favorable for use in snow and cold temperatures.
All Season Tires
Another type of tire that can help you to gain traction if you plan to drive your Camaro in the snow are all-season tires.
All-season tires provide a compromise between summer tires and winter/snow tires given their design.
All-season tires have some characteristics of snow/winter tires since they are made of compounds that are not altered in cold temperatures and have larger trads/tread gaps than summer tires.
These tires also provide a benefit because they do not require the owner to change the tires that are on the vehicle with the change of seasons.
An extreme alternative to increase your Camaro’s traction in the snow could be to install snow chains. Snow chains are a linked set of chains that wrap around your tires to increase traction.
Similar in principle to the winter tires that have ceramic or metal studs, the snow chains provide increased traction because they bite into the ice and road surface. This biting increases the wheel’s grip on the road thereby increasing traction.
Even though snow chains may increase traction, they aren’t necessarily the magic solution to driving your Camaro in the snow.
Snow chains are known to damage the road surfaces that they are used on and are even prohibited in certain jurisdictions. Furthermore, snow chains can drastically alter the way that a car handles and are only to be used up to certain speed limits.
One feature of the Camaro that can be used to assist drivers in the snow is the car’s traction control system.
Sensors located at each wheel in the Camaro are used to detect the wheel speed of each wheel. When the computer detects that a wheel is spinning faster than the other wheels, the computer interprets this occurrence as slippage and limits wheel spin by reducing engine power.
Another feature that can help to provide traction if you drive your Camaro in the snow is the Stabilitrak.
Stabilitrak uses a series of sensors to detect vehicle response to the driver’s inputs. When the Stabilitrak is engaged it will apply the brakes or reduce engine power to help the driver regain control if the car begins to skid.
Limited Slip Differential
The third vehicle feature that can help to safely operate a Camaro in the snow is the limited-slip differential that the Camaro can be equipped with.
When the Camaro’s computer senses a loss of traction, the limited-slip differential is used to send torque to the wheel with the most traction while reducing the amount of torque that is sent to the wheel that is losing traction.
This feature can be especially helpful when driving your Camaro in the snow if one of your drive wheels is on dry pavement while the other drive wheel is slipping because it is losing traction on snow or ice.
Realistically speaking, many of us who drive a Camaro or who plan to purchase a Camaro may not have the discretionary income to buy a second vehicle in addition to the Camaro to drive in the snow. Therefore we may find ourselves driving our Camaro in the snow from time to time.
Ultimately the decision to drive your Camaro in the snow or any other car such as the Mustang that is not specifically designed for operation in inclement weather is a personal decision. When making this decision you should consider the cons presented in this article and make use of some of the vehicle features and tips mentioned in this article to increase your ability to drive the Camaro in the snow.
While the Camaro was certainly not designed to be driven in extreme winter weather, the Camaro can be safely operated in the snow if proper preparation and care is taken.