How Do You Drive a Muscle Car in the Winter?

You may have heard that muscle cars and winter months don’t go together. While that’s true compared to all-wheel drive (AWD) options like an Audi A5 or Subaru Legacy, muscle cars aren’t antithetical to the cold. Instead, with proper vehicle choice, appropriate tires, and a couple of measures, a muscle car can still be your daily driver in the winter months. 

Are muscle cars good in the winter?

Compared to 4×4 or AWD vehicles like the Volkswagen Golf R, muscle cars aren’t typically good for inclement weather like winter snowfall. Even modern muscle cars like the Ford Mustang GT or Chevrolet Camaro 2SS are rear-wheel drive (RWD) applications with high-horsepower V8 engines. As a result, these V8-powered cars tend to spin out and lose control more easily than sensible front-wheel drive (FWD), 4×4, or AWD applications. 

The Ford Mustang is an example of a non-AWD muscle car that can drive in winter.
Ford Mustang | Ford

Of course, modern muscle cars offer driver-aids like the Mustang’s Ford Co-Pilot Technology suite. According to TrueCar, the latest Mustang has automatic headlights, lane-keeping assist, pre-collision automatic braking, and blind-spot detection. More importantly, many modern muscle cars offer traction and stability control, a feature you won’t find on a classic car. 

How can you make your muscle car better for winter driving?

If you want to drive your muscle machine year-round, you can do a few things to prepare your beast. First, you can equip your car with seasonally appropriate tires, like dedicated winter tires. Modern tire designs are far more advanced than old-school tires that classic vehicles use, and a quality set of winter tires can add lots of traction to your RWD ride. 

The Chevrolet Camaro is a non-AWD muscle car that can drive in the winter with the right tires.
Chevrolet Camaro | General Motors

Next, you can add weight to the rear of your vehicle. Weighing down the back of the vehicle helps to stabilize the part of your RWD car where the power meets the road surface. One thing to consider is putting heavy bags of litter or grit in your vehicle, which double as a friction-producing element should you get stuck in the snow. Finally, driving carefully and respecting your vehicle’s power and limitations can be life-saving. 

Can you drive an old car in cold weather?

You can drive an old muscle car in the winter, but you might want to consider employing a modern “beater” car instead. First, classic cars often use carburetors instead of modern fuel injection systems and are sensitive to the cold and altitude. While modern vehicles don’t require much time to warm up, classic muscle cars should warm up before attempting to hit highway speeds. A good rule of thumb is to wait for your heater (should it be operational) to blow hot air. 

Next, classic cars lack even the most basic safety features, like airbags, stability control, ABS brakes, or sufficient seat belts. In fact, many old muscle cars used drum brakes instead of the more modern disc brakes that most vehicles use today. While it might be tempting to drive your old car year-round, it’s safer, more comfortable, and more practical to daily drive a newer vehicle. 

The Dodge Challenger GT is an AWD muscle car you can drive in the winter.
Dodge Challenger GT AWD | Stellantis

Which cars are the best for winter?

Still, there are a couple of options for people who want an AWD muscle car to handle winter drives. While Mopar muscle cars are heading to discontinuation station, the Dodge Charger and Challenger offer AWD platforms depending on the engine. Specifically, the Pentastar V6-powered SXT and GT trims have optional AWD to tackle slippery streets. However, you won’t be able to find a factory AWD Charger or Challenger with a V8. 

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