Do I Need Snow Tires? And Other Winter Car Prep Questions Answered!

In the winter, your tires can prevent you from slipping and sliding on snowy, icy roads. Having the right tires will protect you from many of the dangers of winter driving, but only if you properly maintain them and take the necessary steps to make sure you have the right tires for the right time of year. Many Kia owners wonder if they need to invest in snow tires, or if their all-weather tires will be enough to protect them in the winter. Here is everything you need to know about snow tires and how to get your car ready for colder weather:

When Should You Invest in Snow Tires?

Twenty years ago, it was very difficult to find functional snow tires for your vehicle. If the roads were ever going to be cleared or simply just wet, it was very dangerous to have snow tires on your vehicle during the winter. Without snow on the road, they had terrible handling and would actually make it more difficult to stop on dry or even just wet roads.

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Today, snow tires have been developed that are just as safe to drive on dry and wet roads as they are to drive on icy and snowy roads. But if you have all-weather tires, do you really need snow tires? If you are concerned about losing traction on a cold, snowy road, you may want to consider snow tires. Here in the east, we get plenty of heavy, wet snow and even icy storms throughout the winter. Being prepared for those storms by having snow tires can prevent tragedy on the road. If you’ve ever lost traction while driving, especially at a high speed, you know how scary it can be and why snow tires, that have a lower chance of losing their grip, are necessary in the winter.

The savvy driver will take the time and spend the money to get snow tires installed on his vehicle. The best time to do this is before the first serious snow of the year. Here in the east, once the snow starts coming, it usually does not stop until the spring, so you can usually be safe getting snow tires mid-November.

When Should You Retire Your Snow Tires?

The most basic answer to this question is that you should remove your snow tires when the snow has finally melted in the spring. How often you should buy new snow tires, however, is a different matter. You should avoid keeping your snow tires on year round, as the hot weather can wear away the deeper tread much faster than the cold weather will. Take them off in the spring and put the all-weather tires back on.

It is also important to routinely check the tread on your snow tires in order to make sure they are still functioning as they should. Most snow tires start with a tread that is 11/32 of an inch deep. By the time half of that tread is gone, they are probably not functioning as they should be any more. Your tires may not even look that worn at this point, but at 6/32 of an inch, they are doing very little to keep your car on the road.

What Other Preparations Do I Need to Make?

Besides getting snow tires, what other preparations should you make to your car in order to get it read for winter? Here are just a few of the things that we recommend not only for New Jersey Kia vehicles, but for all vehicles, in all parts of the country that get snow during the winter.

First, it is worth your time to check your battery and to make sure it is still charging and discharging properly. Nothing is scarier than getting out to your car after a long day of work, discovering that it won’t start, and you are abandoned in a dark parking lot without anyone to give you a jump. Most dealerships and auto parts stores will test your battery for you, and will help you select a new one if your battery is not performing as it should.

Check your heaters, defrosting system, and windshield wipers. Before the first frost of the year, it is worth your time to make sure that all of these components are working correctly. While you might be able to survive a drive to the office in a cold car, if you do not have a way to clear the snow and ice from your windshield and to keep that windshield clear, it is unlikely you will be able to make it to your destination safely.

Another tip that every car owner should follow is having their brakes checked. Your brakes are going to be extremely important during the cold season, and while your tires will ultimately determine who capable your car is of stopping on an icy road, the last thing you want is jolting or shaking in your braking system, which can worsen any sliding or skidding you are doing.

Last but not least, have your car tuned up before winter really sets in. Right now is the perfect time to do this. Cold weather can quickly worsen any lurking issues, and bad weather makes it difficult to get into the shop if you need a repair. Don’t let cold weather harm your car; take it in now for the tune-up you’ve been putting off.

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