With the winter months looming and millions of Americans prepping for another long season of significant snowfall, it’s time to think about winterizing those cars and trucks. Examiner caught up with “PowerNation” host and car expert Courtney Hansen on Oct. 13 to get the scoop on several topics, including her partnership with Toyo Tires and Meals on Wheels and her top tips for being a safe poor-weather driver, and to find out which cool cars live in her garage.
Courtney Hansen: I’m here in Lowell, Massachusetts, which was the snowiest city last year: they got 120 inches of snow. So what better place for me to tell you about how to equip your car for the winter months?
Sherry Wight: What are some things drivers can do to get themselves and their cars ready for that snow and ice?
CH: To get your car ready for the winter months, you can check all of your fluids, and if necessary, change them. The most important ones are antifreeze and your windshield wiper fluid; you want to make sure that you can see clearly through your windshield. You want to make sure that your wiper blades are in good shape. It’s important to have a basic emergency kit inside your car, and then above all, you want to make sure that you have the right tires for your ride so you’re safe out there when you’re driving.
SW: Okay, so let’s talk about tires. What different types exist, and what do we need to have on that snow and ice?
CH: Most drivers have to choose between and all-season tire and a winter tire. All-season tires are good, but they don’t have the traction to drive on snow and ice and slush. They’re not designed for that. Winter tires are designed for that and have good traction, but there’s not really driven year-round; they’ll wear out quickly.
So Toyo came in to bridge this gap and create a solution, and they created the Celsius tire. So you have the traction, which is awesome, because you can drive on the snow and the slush and ice, and you can also drive on the tires all year round. This is also about a matter of convenience, because a lot of people don’t have the storage space or want to deal with swapping out tires. And for a lot of people, [changing tires is] not in the budget.
SW: How is Toyo Tires partnering with Meals on Wheels?
CH: Meals on Wheels is an amazing organization. I’ve worked with them and they’re dear to my heart. Last year, because of the crazy weather conditions, it was challenging for a lot of the staffers and volunteers to get to the seniors in need to deliver those meals. So Toyo came in and partnered with Meals on Wheels America, and they’re helping some of the local organizations by giving them grants and also equipping cars with tires like the Celsius so the staffers and volunteers can get out to those homes and help the seniors in need. It’s pretty amazing.
SW: It is amazing. What are some practical tips you have for drivers to be safer in ice and snow?
CH: I’m from Minnesota so I’m familiar with winter driving, and here are a couple tips. If you start to swerve or slide, you don’t want to hit the brake and panic. You actually want to take your foot off the brake, steer gently in the direction you want to go, and regain control of the car. You obviously want to drive more carefully, more slowly, in the winter months. Accelerate and decelerate slower. And beware of the black ice that’s out there. It’s more prevalent in the mornings than at night, but you never know when it’s going to be there, so watch for it and steer clear of it.
SW: Absolutely! I’ve had some encounters with it myself in the past.
CH: It can be scary.
SW: For sure. So let me talk a little about you. You’re a car expert. What is your dream car and do you own it yet?
CH: Aw, my dream car! You know, it always was a ’57 Thunderbird, just like “American Graffiti,” though that’s a ’56 and mine’s a ’57. That dream came true. Now, my dream car is probably the ’71 Hemi Cuda. I love the classics. I’m all about the classic cars. And what am I driving now?
CH: ’70 Z28, ’70 Mach 1, ’57 Thunderbird, baby-friendly SUV, and an Aston Martin DB9, because I had to throw a sports car in the mix.
SW: Very nice! Good collection.
CH: What do you drive?
SW: A Toyota Sienna. I have kids. It works! It’s actually a great car as far as minivans go. My husband did not want a minivan for a long time, and finally we got one and he said ‘you know, this is actually a good car.’
CH: They’re practical, they’re safe, they’re back in style.
SW: So what was the coolest thing you ever saw on “Overhaulin'”?
CH: The coolest thing I ever saw, gosh. There were some amazing cars. A couple of my favorites: the cherry Nova, Lance Armstrong’s GTO was pretty amazing. And it was cool to watch Chip Foose not sleep for an entire week. He would honestly get like three hours of sleep during an entire week. We just had a great time with those builds and pranking people and making their dreams come true and building those insane rides and working with the most talented builders and designers in the country.
SW: Pretty awesome.
CH: It was awesome. Good times. And I have a new show coming soon which is going to be along those lines so I’m really excited about that.
SW: Oh wow, we’ll have to look for that! So the whole world of cars and racing has historically been pretty male-dominated. What’s your message to girls who love cars and everything automotive as much as you do?
CH: Be confident and dive into the industry. It used to be a male-dominated world and women were maybe more timid about infiltrating it, but now there are female racers and female car show hosts and female CEOs of automotive companies. The platform has changed and the industry is very embracing of women so go for it.
SW: Right on. So one last one to close it out and it’s random: what is your can’t-miss TV show?
CH: I just watched “The Voice” for the first time the other night and I loved it. So I’ll be watching “The Voice.”