Country Hills Hyundai

How to Winterize Your Car for Performance and Longevity

How to Winterize Your Car for Performance and Longevity

Winter is coming, and it’s time to ask: Is your car ready? Preparing your vehicle for icy conditions is crucial for safe and efficient driving. Driving your car in winter, whether it's under Hyundai's extended warranty or not, does require some planning and preparation. But you've got this!

In this guide, we’ll show you how to winterize your car; there's a lot you can do with your tires, fluids, and batteries to power through the winter. Get started now to navigate the winter season with confidence, without getting caught off guard by freezing temperatures and snowy roads.

Winterized Car Checklist

  • Winter tires with an M+S rating and snowflake/mountain logo provide a good grip and safety; should be switched before the first snowfall and maintained at the correct pressure.
    • Tread depth of at least 6/32 inch recommended for winter tires.
  • Your Hyundai battery should have 500 cold cranking amps; test throughout winter!
  • Vehicle fluids like antifreeze and winter-specific windshield wiper fluid must be checked and maintained to prevent freezing and ensure visibility during winter conditions.
    • Antifreeze-to-coolant ratio ideal is at 50/50 for winter.
  • in BC, winter tires are mandatory from October 1 - April 30.
  • Pack a winter driving emergency kit; clothes, blankets, gloves, toques, a candle and matches, non-perishable food, and a shovel are all essentials in a winterized car emergency kit.

The Essentials of Winter Tires

N-Line wheelbase with winter tires on

When our service experts winterize your car we look for at least 6/32 inch tread depth winter tires and can sell you thicker tires once it's worn past that point! We can put them on third party wheels or Hyundai wheels like the N-Line's

As winter weather makes things more challenging, your vehicle is much better off to be outfitted with appropriate winter tires for safety assurance. Consider the winter tire as the ultimate footwear for your car: it provides the necessary grip and traction that keep you connected to the road during those snowy escapades.

With the promise of better handling and shorter stopping distances, winter tires are undeniably the useful for confident journeys. For our customers in Calgary with family or property in BC, winter tires are actually mandatory from October 1 - April 30!

Choosing the Right Winter Tires

Choosing the right winter tires for your Hyundai can make all the difference in winter driving, whether it's legally required or not. Look for tires that have:

  • The letters M+S, which signal they’re designed to take on harsh winter conditions
  • The distinctive snowflake/mountain logo, which also indicates they are designed for winter use
  • Deeper tread depths and softer rubber compounds that resist hardening in cold temperatures
  • Tread depth of at least 6/32 inch, as recommended by experts

These specialized snow tires are indispensable for optimal grip and safety on icy roads.

When the leaves start to fall, and cold weather arrives, it’s time to give your summer tires a rest. Even before the first snowflakes settle, make the switch to dedicated winter tires for cold temperatures.

They provide superior traction against snow, black ice, and the freezing embrace of winter. Yes, all season tires are versatile but may not provide the same level of performance in winter conditions as dedicated winter tires. Any change in performance is something you might not be used to!

The Importance of Tire Pressure

Cold weather can suddenly lower tire pressure, catching you off guard. Regular pressure checks with a trusty gauge can prevent this type of deflation, ensuring your tires stay inflated to the recommended levels (not the maximum limit on their sidewalls)—for average winter temperatures.

Preparing Your Car's Vital Fluids for Freezing Temperatures

Hyundai Kona right hand tools with windshield wiper control visible

Hyundai vehicles as sold at Country Hills Hyundai come with reliable features for road safety, especially windshield wipers.

As temperatures drop significantly, your car’s essential fluids demand a little attention. With lower temperatures at rest, for hours parked outside, your vehicle needs its antifreeze to prevent the engine’s cooling system from freezing.

And for the windshield wiper fluid, it’s not just about keeping the glass clean but ensuring the solution won’t freeze and leave you blinded by a winter storm. A pre-winter check-up at our dealership can set the stage for a season of untroubled travels.

Antifreeze: Your Engine's Cold Weather Shield

Antifreeze compensates for colder starts, so your engine can be cooled when running and safe from freezing temperatures. Not only does it prevent coolant freeze, but it also comes armed with additives that safeguard the engine and keep the water-pump lubricants topped up.

Regular checks are the key to ensuring your engine isn’t left vulnerable to the cold’s assault, as low levels can lead to overheating and, ultimately, a burden on your engine.

As the engine cools, periodically checking the antifreeze levels in the coolant reservoir is necessary. If you find the antifreeze-to-coolant ratio less than ideal, a draining and replacement is in order for those winter months.

Windshield Wiper Fluid for Clear Visibility

Consider the potential danger of a blizzard or muddy snow melt kicked up on Deerfoot Trail obscuring your windshield completely. This nightmare scenario is easily averted with winter-specific windshield wiper fluid, a formula designed for Calgary's freeze/thaw cycles.

Skipping on this could mean more than just a smeared vision in the slushy melt that comes with chinooks; it could affect your car’s fluid reservoir or sprayer motor if the solution freezes. Always keep a spare in your trunk; it’s the difference between clear sightlines and a frosty blindfold during winter’s worst.

Battery and Electrical System Winter Readiness

Car battery on white background.

Our service experts test your battery, its terminals, and more when we winterize a car. Most Hyundai's have a CCA of 500, for reliable starts at -18C or below!

As winter conditions worsen, your car’s battery and electrical system are put to the ultimate test. The cold not only demands more from your battery but can also turn a minor electrical issue into a full-blown crisis.

Proactive replacements and routine checks can be the lifeline that keeps your car battery from falling victim to winter. And if you're leaving your Hyundai vehicle outside for a long time, you can also consider a battery charge maintainer! This component is usually not needed if you drive every day, though.

Testing Your Car Battery

As temperatures drop, so does the strength of your car battery. In that condition it's struggling to create the electric charge necessary to bring your engine to life. You'll need cold cranking amps (CCA) of 500 for most Hyundai vehicles. Testing your battery is something we do routinely for winter services!

Our dealership offers a multi-point inspection as a part of each service, acting as your pit crew to identify any weaknesses. We recommend a charge-up or as part of a parts replacement work order if necessary. As our service experts can tell you, a battery’s condition reveals much about its readiness for winter’s tests.

We start by using a computerized battery tester can give you a comprehensive view of the battery, starter, and charging system’s condition. If the test reads weakness, you can note the warning and take action. It’s far better to have our team address battery concerns in the comfort of an auto service bay than on the roadside during a snowstorm.

Protecting Electrical Connections

Winter’s harsh conditions are notorious for wearing down electrical connections exposed to moisture and salted roads, risking corrosion on your Hyundai. If you have time after we winterize your car, you can help fight back with the following:

  1. Use a battery terminal cleaner and a wire brush to scrub away any signs of corrosion.
  2. Once the terminals are spotless, apply a coat of anti-corrosive treatment.
  3. Follow up with a protectant spray to form a shield against future attacks.

You won't want to overlook your door and trunk locks either—a dab of lubricant here can keep them operational.

Insulation and Protection Against the Elements

Hyundai Kona interior with sensitive materials protected by hardback, featuring space for winter mats.

Hyundai vehicles new and old come with great interior protections useful for winterizations; come to our showroom in Country Hills and see what kind of mats you can get when you climb into a new vehicle!

Just like you bundle up to walk in a snow-filled park, your car also needs insulation to withstand the howling winter winds when cold weather hits. The elements can be unforgiving, and without the right protection, they can wreak havoc on both the interior and exterior of your vehicle.

From seat protectors for your leather interiors to rubber floor mats that act as armor against salt and debris, let’s explore how to keep your car cozy and protected from the winter's harshest elements.

Sealing Out the Cold

Winter’s icy conditions have a way of sneaking into the nooks and crannies of your vehicle, but a little preemptive sealant can really help. Treatments applied to weather stripping and door surfaces act as a bouncer, turning away any water that dares to freeze and lock you out of your own car.

And don’t forget the window tracks; lubricant helps by ensuring that freezing water doesn’t cause damage to the delicate window regulator cables.

Silicone sprays not only keep the weather stripping supple but also ensure that your doors remain a resistant to the cold, rather than a barrier you have to fight to enter. Regular application is the key to maintaining their integrity throughout the winter months.

Preserving Your Car's Interior

Deep tray-style rubber floor mats serve as a shield for your car’s carpets, trapping snow, slush, and the dreaded rock salt that can lead to rust and corrosion.

Regular vacuuming helps too, removing any remnants of winter’s harshness and preserving the sanctuary that is your car’s interior. Your new Hyundai comes equipped with high-quality mats that hold up really well against Calgary conditions.

Visibility and Exterior Care in Snow and Ice

Waxed Hyundai Kona front logo looking like new.

A wax from our service or courtesy team can make your Hyundai look new again! It's also a paint job protection benefit for your car's winterization.

Visibility is very important for driving in winter conditions. Beyond ensuring you can see the road ahead, caring for your car’s windshield wipers is not something to forget! Upgrading to winter-specific wiper blades and applying a fresh coat of wax are just a few of the tactics in your arsenal as you prepare to face the onslaught of snow and ice.

Upgrading to Winter Wiper Blades

Winter wiper blades come equipped with a protective rubber cover that serves as a shield for your windshield against the buildup of ice and snow, which standard blades might fail to handle.

These components can withstand freezing temperatures without cracking or tearing, ensuring they keep your vision clear even when winter is at its worst. Upgrading before the first snowfall is a strategic move that ensures you’re ready for whatever winter skies have in store.

Ice Scrapers Save Your Windshield Wipers

Maintaining these specialized wiper blades helps extend their life! Regular cleaning with windshield washer fluid keeps them performing despite use against ice formation on your windscreen. But try to be careful whenever you're tempted to wipe ice off your windshield and always use an ice scraper.

Another great practice is lifting the blades away from the windshield during snowfall. Doing so prevents them from freezing in place, ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. Having that ice scraper handy can also assist in keeping your windshield clear during frosty conditions.

A Fresh Coat Before the Frost

Before winter really gets to work, try treating your car’s exterior to a fresh coat of wax. This protective barrier stands guard against the corrosive bite of road salt and the onslaught of slush, preserving the paint’s integrity. It’s a preemptive measure that ensures winter doesn't eat at your Hyundai's paint job. Wax it to emerge in spring with its lustre intact, and its resale value high!

Emergency Preparedness: Winter Kit Essentials

Hyundai Elantra in muddy parking lot with trunk open.

Popping the trunk on your Hyundai vehicle, make sure you have your kit handy, even in models with less storage space like a sedan, a winter preparedness kit is worth its weight in gold; please be sure to stock one before winter hits!

An emergency kit serves as a survival kit in the context of winter driving. Stocked with supplies to sustain you through unexpected car troubles while you wait for our roadside assistance service, it’s a must-have for any length of drive on winter roads. From sustenance to warmth, let’s look at ways you can put the odds in your favour in treacherous winter conditions.

Crafting Your Own Winter Emergency Kit

Your emergency kit should be stocked with:

  • Jumper cables for when your car’s heart needs a jumpstart
  • A first aid kit for any unexpected injuries
  • Warm clothing to protect against the cold
  • A shovel, scraper, and snowbrush
  • Nonperishable food
  • Candles and matches

Smaller items that can be just as crucial in a stranded scenario; a wind-up flashlight illuminates your path in fewer daylight hours, and a whistle can signal for help when you’re lost. Remember, the key to managing a situation like this is not just the tools you carry but the wisdom to use them effectively.

Safety Features and Tools

Beyond the basics, your emergency kit should include tools to signal distress and ensure your safety in adverse conditions. Ensure your hazard lights are functioning properly as a beacon for others to see you during a storm. With every service we do, there's a thorough multi-point inspection to ensure your lights are a go.

If you've got a powerful SUV or AWD vehicle of some kind, chains, or tire chains, provide that extra grip needed to navigate treacherous icy paths. Vehicles like the Santa Fe have HTRAC AWD can handle variable terrain, and that includes roads covered in Albertan-blown snow.

Enhancing Driving Dynamics for Winter Weather

Hyundai Elantra cursing on salted and cleared road.

A car like the Elantra FWD might need a little adjustment from the driver once winter comes; please consider your actual driving habits as a part of your car's winterization procedure.

It’s essential to enhance your vehicle’s Hyundai-standard readiness to meet the challenges of winter driving when the time comes. Hyundai makes great vehicles, but the more you prepare for Calgary winters, the better they hold up! From understanding the nuances of winter road behavior to harnessing the capabilities of four-wheel drive, adapting your driving style is just as crucial as the gear you equip.

If it's time for AWD, you can always look at the benefits of new or used vehicles, and choose a vehicle based on your desired budget and our very own AWD inventory, whether new or used. But if you're in front wheel drive, there's still a lot you can do (as some of our staff will passionately attest).

Adjusting to Winter Road Behavior

Driving on winter roads calls for smooth, deliberate movements to maintain control on slippery surfaces. Abrupt maneuvers are your enemy, as they can lead to a treacherous loss of traction.

Think of your accelerator and brakes as delicate instruments; the gentler you are with them, the more harmoniously your car will respond to your command. And with the snow-covered road ahead, consider venturing slightly off the beaten path.

Driving outside of previous tire tracks can sometimes offer that bit of extra grip needed to keep your Hyundai stable. Nevertheless, in the event of a skid, remember these tips:

  • Stay calm
  • Ease off the brakes
  • Gently steer into the skid’s slide, guiding your vehicle back to the desired direction
  • Use a delicate touch to regain control
  • Gear down on inclines to preserve your brakes and maintain a steady pace up and down the wintery hills

Four Wheel Drive and Other Features

When the snow deepens and the roads turn treacherous, four-wheel and all-wheel drive systems are a game changer. These systems distribute power to all four wheels, providing the extra grip and stability needed to conquer the most intimidating winter landscapes in Calgary, and in the mountains too.

Some vehicles allow you to engage four-wheel drive as needed, while others offer full-time power distribution for a constant edge against the elements. The Hyundai Palisade is one of our favourites, not just for its AWD option, but for its reliability, safety, and value after many winters. And let’s not forget the increased ground clearance these drivetrains offer, allowing you to glide over snowdrifts.

Visit Country Hills Hyundai for A Winterizing Service This Fall

Hyundai Palisade on white background.

Get into a great SUV with AWD like the Hyundai Kona or Palisade to make easy work of winter driving. But don't forget other winterization steps as you go!

Each step in this guide, from selecting the right winter tires to preparing an emergency kit, fortifies your vehicle against the elements, ensuring your safety and comfort throughout the season.

If you're just getting into a new Hyundai vehicle, ask how we can help with a winterization package, especially if you're buying in the fall. As you implement these strategies, you'll be more and more ready to face whatever winter adventures lie ahead with confidence.

Visit Country Hills Hyundai this fall for a comprehensive service check, and keep an eye on service specials for winterizing promos.

Our expert technicians will ensure your vehicle is fully equipped to handle the winter months ahead. From tire changes to battery tests and fluid top-ups, we've got you covered. Schedule your appointment today and drive with peace of mind this winter season. Your safety is our priority!

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I switch to winter tires?

Switch to winter tires before the first snowfall to ensure optimal traction in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius. With tread depth over 6/32 inch, you can get a better grip. But tires wear down! If you put your winter tires on too early into fall, or worse, just keeping them on over summer, they'll probably get below the minimum level within one season.

How often should I check my car's antifreeze level?

You should check your car's antifreeze level weekly, especially during the winter months. It's important for maintaining your car's performance. The ideal antifreeze-to-coolant ratio is 50/50; if you get a service with Country Hills Hyundai, we'll make sure it's at that level!

Can I just clean my battery terminals with a cloth?

No, it's best to use a battery terminal cleaner and a wire brush to remove corrosion, followed by an anti-corrosive treatment and protectant spray for maximum protection. Corrosion blocks the transmission of electricity, which would result in a no-start scenario. If you need roadside assistance, getting a new battery in the middle of nowhere could prove difficult.

Are winter wiper blades really necessary?

Yes, winter wiper blades are necessary because they sport a specialized design to handle ice and snow buildup. Without them you can't enjoy better visibility and in cold conditions. They're build for durability and better surface area.

What should I include in my winter emergency kit?

Make sure to pack jumper cables, a first aid kit, warm clothing, a shovel, scraper, snowbrush, and other essentials to keep you safe and warm if you get stranded this winter. Keep them handy and call our roadside assistance, available through an extended Hyundai warranty!

Categories: Service