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The Winter Drive

December 19, 2009

With morning lows in the mid-upper 20s, it is clear that winter has taken hold.  Typically winter is viewed as the end of the driving season.  The weather changes from sunny skies and the occasional afternoon thunderstorm, to gray and constantly damp.  The roads collect wet leaves, ice, and snow.  Tires become hard and less responsive.  Suspension components stiffen beyond a desirable state.  It sends us indoors to dream of our next modifications and of the warming of spring.

Yet, there is something endearing about winter driving.   While in the summer the windows are down, the air is blowing, and the music is blowing; in winter sealing the car up from the elements lets you enjoy some things you may otherwise miss.  The isolation of noise in the cabin means the only thing you can hear is that NPR commentary or Brandenburg concerto that does not lend itself to a windows down, summertime cruise; or perhaps, the solo sound of your engine signing.

And how an engine signs in the winter!  The cold air results in near optimal performance (once the components warm up).  Though a forced induction engine (an engine that is turbo charged or supercharged) benefits the most from the drop in temperature, all vehicles benefit from the cold dense air.

The drive never leaves.  It doesn’t hibernate.  It doesn’t migrate to South America for the winter.  It simply changes.

That said, on a day that sees feet of snow pounding the East Coast, the drive might simply become a walk in town.

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