CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Are Hyundais bad in the snow?

My Hyundai Elantra 2014 which I purchased off a used car dealership 9 months ago drives terrible in the snow. It slides really really bad. I live in Chicago it’s terrible here. Is this how Hyundai’s drive?

Things to check are wheel alignment, and tire quality and specifications. Different tires are made for different applications. For all you know this car could have come from Florida. Floridians put a harder tire on their vehicles because it’s hot down there. If they put on a softer tire like we do in the north, their tires will wear down really fast. Northerners use softer tires because they have more traction in the snow, and it isn’t as hot here so our tires will not wear terribly bad. You could go to a trusted tire store and they can take a look at what you have and make the proper suggestions. And obviously tread wear plays an important role in traction and control. If the vehicle pulls one way or another, you should have the alignment checked also. If you do not have service records it would probably be a good idea to check the alignment anyways.

Is this your first time driving in snow?

My wife who doesn’t drive in snow, unless it’s to get back home, had no problems in her Elantra, but she has good tires and drives slow.

1 Like

Not all front wheel drive cars are good in the snow. And as the others posted, tire matter a lot. With a 5 year old used car, I would guess it is riding on new tires. If they were changed at the used car lot, they are cheap tires. Better tires, or especially winter tires on all 4 will greatly improve your car.

I never understand that question . Why would you think all Hyundai 's drive the same way . The major factor is tires . First look and see if you actually have enough tread and then see if there are cracks on the side walls indicating old tires.

My step-daughter had a similar complaint about her Hyundai. The OE tires are clearly not optimized for snow. A set of winter tires will make a tremendous difference. Check out TireRack.com for recommendations, ratings, and tire/wheel packages.

2 Likes

For FWD cars, it’s mostly tires that make the difference, as others have said, assuming your alignment is right. If you don’t want to get a set of winter tires, check the ratings on tirerack and at Consumer Reports for how various all-season tires handle snow. Some are pretty good.

If your tires are much worn, that’ll make them useless in snow, regardless of the brand.

A friend of mine had the same complaint about his new Maxima. The OE tires were crap when it came to winter traction. And, I had the same experience with the OE Bridgestone Potenza RE-92 tires on my new 2002 Outback during the first couple of months that I owned it. Those OE tires caused me to buy a set of Michelin winter tires, and the difference was nothing short of incredible.

1 Like

My 1984 Cavalier did fine in snow with all-seasons. When I bought a new 1999 Civic I was unhappy with its snow performance. But I liked the car, was going to keep it, so I bought 4 Michelin winter tires on steel wheels from tirerack. Best improvement $500 could ever make!

Twenty years later those steel wheels have newer Michelin winter tires. Over the long run you are using your summer tires less, so the cost of having 2 sets of wheels/tires is small. The benefit is great.

3 Likes

Most fwd vehicles do very well with good all-season tires. Many new cars are equipped with a cheap all-season tire or a summer tire. I suspect it’s the tires.

Exactly what tires do you have now? What’s their tread depth?

Yes. If OP goes with the same tires year-round, find ones that do well in the snow. The General Altimax RT43, for example. Consumer Reports and tirerack.com are good sources for comparing tires.

More often than not, sliding around on winter roads is about your tires, not the car’s brand or model.
I suggest you get yourself a good set of winter tires. If you plan to stay in Chicago, I’d also spring for a second set of rims for those winter tires.

Here in California,we’ve always used chains, going to the Sierras. No problems with our 2014 Elantra.

My wife and I have been driving her FWD vehicles for 30+ years in NH and upstate NY with all season tires. With over 900k combined miles - not once was there a problem. Very few places in this country need all winter/snow tires on a FWD or AWD vehicle.

If the vehicle isn’t equipped with winter tires, that’s the reason.

Tester

3 Likes

Yes, and my paternal grandfather smoked tobacco all his life and lived into his 70s. Smoking didn’t go so well for his sons though. Two died from cancer and one died from a heart attack.

In this particular case, the OP is saying there is a problem, and he is asking for help fixing the problem.

Dismissive advice from someone who doesn’t have the same problem doesn’t help.

1 Like

That’s a bullsh*t answer. What a total crock making that comparison.

Driving here in NH and MA (and most parts of the country where it actually snows) - WELL OVER 95% OF THE TIME YOU’RE DRIVING ON CLEAR ROADS. Southern NH and Northern MA only average 35-40 inches a year of snow. And Boston is the 10th snowiest city in the country. I have a AWD vehicle and wife’s is fwd…so when I drive wife’s car during inclement weather - guess what…I slow down. Wow…What a concept. You can actually avoid accidents by slowing down based on road and vehicle conditions. You should try it sometime. And they also have this real neat invention called SNOW-PLOWS. And you know what else???..these snow plows put down this stuff that melts snow and ice. Totally amazing.

And if by chance the roads become real dangerous to drive…STAY HOME. In the past 35+ years of living in NH, that’s happened less then 10 times total.

Only in places like central NY that deals with lake effect snow do you really NEED snow tires. Much larger snow totals (3-4 times what Boston gets), plus the fact of the unpredictable lake effect snow. It’s impossible to predict where and how much because of the narrow bands of snow that can dump 3-5 inches of snow an hour in a narrow 10 mile band.

Re-read my post before you make comments like that. I addressed the OP by specifically saying it was the tires. I wasn’t dismissive at all. I just know from vast experience in winter driving (far more then you’ve ever seen) that most parts of this country you don’t need winter tires. Want me to teach you how to drive in the winter. Sounds like you could use a lesson.

No it’s your tires.

Look for some all-seasons with bias towards winter performance. Nokian WR series , Goodyear assurance Weatherready are examples.

You can always buy winter tires which is superior choice but only you can determine necessary.