Home Blog Maintenance The Ultimate Winter Car Maintenance & Tips

November 6, 2018 by Anne Kelley

The Ultimate Winter Car Maintenance & Tips

It doesn’t matter if you live in a cold climate or you’re taking a road trip to a cold environment; it’s essential to protect your car and your investment by practicing cold weather car maintenance.

Today we will be talking about maintenance and unique winter gadgets and tips to make your winter travels warm and cozy. Learn about tires, batteries, keeping ice off your windshield and even special winter Kia warnings you need to know.

At Lawrence Kia, we love Kia models so much that a good portion of the staff are owners. I own two; a 2014 Kia Sportage LX and a 2018 Kia Sorento EX. In this post, I will be referencing both of these models. The majority will be about the Sportage since I commute from Overland Park and I’m currently going through winter maintenance. The Sportage has 86K miles, so it’s essential for me to keep my Sportage healthy and keep me safe on the roads during the winter months.

If you want a digital download of your Kia manual, go to this post. If you don’t see your model, let us know in the comments, and we will add it to the post.

Kia Winter Tips

Since we’re Lawrence Kia and we sell New & Used Kia models, we are starting with winter Kia sensor tip.

Kia Sensor Warnings

I never thought I was going to be able to purchase a vehicle with all the modern fixings; lane assistance, back-up camera, and heated seats. I still don’t know how to use all the bells and whistles on my 2019 Sorento EX. I continue to learn how to use the vehicle as I go and this winter was no exception.

It was our first storm in KC and depending on where you live we had 4-12 inches of snow. Historically, I’ve been that person who doesn’t wipe the snow off my hood and/or roof of my car. And on this day, I was still that person.

Generally, I usually use my cruise control to get to Lawrence because I’m notorious for getting speeding tickets. What’s interesting in the 2019 Sorento EX is it’ll break when another vehicle cuts you off, or you approach other cars. The feature took some getting used to, but I trust it now. Its official feature name is Adaptive Cruise Control with Autonomous Braking.

On this morning, I heated my car and then started my commute. When I was on K10, I decided to put the car in cruise control going 75 MPH. My dashboard lit-up like a Christmas tree and the Sorento wouldn’t go into cruise control. Look at all of those lights, I didn’t know what was happening. I thought I broke the car.

This is what my dashboard looked like:

Kia Dashboard Winter Alarms

Then this message came on and I had no idea my car used radar:

Kia Winter Sensor Warnings

When I arrived at work, I handed my keys to Darin, the Lawrence Kia Service Consultant and told him my cruise control stopped working and my dashboard lit-up.

Darin was very nice and just took my keys. After my day, I went to pick up my keys and pay my bill. Darin walked me to my car and explained the “radar” is used in the sensor slowing the Sorento down when in cruise control and approaching another vehicle.  All of the alarms on my dashboard lit-up because I didn’t clean the snow off my car. It was an excellent learning experience.

Gasoline Winter Tip

When you know it’s going to be a freezing overnight, make sure you have a full tank of gas so your fuel line won’t freeze. If your windshield wiper fluid is low, fill it up, because the line will freeze and you need that fluid in the morning when driving.

Low-Tire Pressure

Most likely you will see this dash light alert on all Kia models during the winter and the spring. Many of our customers call in about this dashboard light, and this light is the Low-Tire Pressure alert generated by the Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

Kia Low Tire Pressure Light

The Low-Pressure Light goes on when it’s cold because of thermal expansion and compression; as air molecules get colder, they get closer together thus reducing the Pounds per Square Inch(PSI) making the low-tire pressure light to come on.

If you don’t have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System, watch this video to know when to check your tire pressure:

Interested in the science behind PSI & Low-Pressure Warning, watch this video:

Tire Tread

While tires are an expensive purchase, they help prevent you from sliding and help you stop during the winter months. Here are some tips to determine if you need to replace your tires.

After a winter snowstorm, when your car is warmed up, and there are zero obstacles, pump your brakes, this helps you determine how easy it is for you to stop. If you stop reasonably quickly, you’re in good shape, but if it takes a long time to stop, you need to have your tires inspected by a professional. At Lawrence Kia, we do a complete multipoint inspection, but when going to other service centers, you need to request an inspection.

Another way to determine if your tires need replacing is with the penny test. In Between the tread of your tires, place a penny with Abraham Lincoln’s head down, if you can see all of Lincoln’s head in the tread depth, it’s time to replace your tires.

Tire Penny Test

Use this chart to know when to replace your tires:

Tire Tread Test

Tip: To offset the expense of tires, when your tires are just above Lincoln’s forehead in the tread depth, get two tires replaced to buy you some time to save up some cash for the other two tires.

There is a science to tires and tire companies hire special scientists to design treads that dig into wet and slippery roads. If you are not sure what type of tire you have, view the video below to learn the different types.

If you don’t know what tires to buy, watch this video:

Ice & Snow on Car

Our Service Manager Tim told me a story about a sheet of ice falling off the roof of a vehicle almost breaking his windshield. I never thought a little snow could hurt anyone. And now I’m not that person. I wake up early or clear off my hood and roof the day before, to protect the people around me. If you are looking for a vehicle snow scraper + broom and extender to reach the top of your vehicle, here is a Hopkins 2610 SubZero 52” Extender Snowbroom looks promising with ⅘ star with 1,154 reviews from Amazon.

Frozen Windshields

There are so many frozen windshield hacks on the internet. I did a lot of research for this post and here is what I found. We had a snow storm hit Kansas City, and I tested this de-icer out. This de-icer didn’t do much with 3 inches of snow on the Sportage, so keep the de-icer for ice only.

Following is a video detailing the use of a de-icer mixture of 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% water. Add this mixture to a spray bottle and spray on the windshield:

If you don’t want to stay outside and spray on de-icer or if you know you are going to be getting snow, you can purchase a Windshield Cover. This Windshield Cover by MacoodeCompany is from Amazon, and it has ⅘ stars with 17 customer reviews. The cover comes with a holding bag for safe keeping. I’m leaning toward the Windshield Cover.

Editors Note: The products featured in this blog post were researched on Amazon and not tested out. This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you decide to purchase a product from one of our links, the blog author receives a small commission. This commission goes 100% to the blog author and not the dealership.


Posted in: Maintenance

Do you have a question or idea you would like to be featured in a blog post?
Fill out this simple form.

Are you a car enthusiast or novice and want to feature your car story on our blog?
Fill out this form to be featured on our blog.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments