4 Tips on Driving a Hybrid Car in the Winter

If you currently own or are planning to get into a hybrid car and aren’t sure whether it can be driven in the snow, it can. As you can imagine, driving a hybrid car during the wintertime is not unlike driving a non-hybrid one. However, there are a few things to consider. Here are four of them.

1. Buy winter tires

A Yokohama winter mud and snow tire driving in snow in Gdansk, Poland
A Yokohama winter mud and snow tire | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Most, if not all, hybrid cars come standard with low-rolling resistance tires. These rubber rollers are great when it comes to obtaining the best gas mileage in your hybrid car, especially when the weather is warm. However, these tires are not good when the snow hits the ground.

As such, Rad Air recommends getting a set of winter tires on your car as soon as the snow starts to fall. Winter tires have a specialized compound that stays soft in colder temperatures, which equates to more traction.

2. Keep the gas tank half full

eFuel
A drop of gasoline clings to a pump nozzle | Sean Gallup/Getty

Your car’s hybrid engine will typically keep the gas part of the engine running more often in the wintertime to keep the battery charged and prevent frost. In that case, it’s a good idea to keep the gas tank half full, so you don’t need to worry about refilling too often. Also, keeping gas in the tank will keep the car weighted, which will help with traction in the snow.

3. Don’t use cruise control

2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid rear view
2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Although using cruise control during normal driving conditions can help your car save gas, constant speeding and slowing down on the ice can make the car slip. It’s far better to modulate the gas pedal manually. As such, make sure not to use the cruise control function, especially if there’s snow covering the ground.

4. Keep the car’s tires inflated

2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid 19-inch bronze wheel
2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

The colder temperatures during the wintertime can lead to tires losing air pressure. A loss of pressure can equate to poor fuel economy and less traction in the snow. Your car’s proper tire pressure settings can be found in the door jamb and owner’s manual. Make note of the recommended tire pressures, and be sure to set the tires to that pressure when the light on the dashboard comes on.

Driving a hybrid car in the snow

These four tips should help you operate your hybrid car in the snow effectively and efficiently. Hybrid cars are also pretty lightweight, so if you find that the car isn’t getting enough traction, it’s recommended to put a couple of heavy sacks or weights in the trunk of the car.

Otherwise, driving a hybrid car isn’t too different from driving a regular gas-only car. You may see a drop in fuel efficiency, so be prepared to fill up a little more often than usual. Ultimately, wintertime is a great time to drive a hybrid as long as you follow these tips.

For more information about owning a hybrid car in the wintertime, check out the one hybrid car that’s best for driving in the snow.