Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Does the Winter Mode Indicator Light Mean?

What Does the Winter Mode Indicator Light Mean?

Driving in the snow can be a little unnerving at times. To help make it a little more manageable, some auto manufacturers have implemented a snow or winter mode for their vehicles. Not to be confused with your frost warning indicator, which can use the same symbol, this is a driving mode that needs to be activated. This indicator light may be a snowflake or a “W” to show the mode is engaged. Refer to your owner’s manual for specific information on your vehicle.

What the winter mode indicator light means

When you press the button to engage the winter mode, the indicator light on the dash will illuminate to show it is currently active. Press the button again to deactivate the winter mode and the light should go out immediately.

Winter modes may vary slightly between different manufacturers, but generally they will all skip first gear when you are starting from a stop. In the normal first gear, you have a lot of torque which can cause your tires to spin in the snow and ice. With winter mode activated, your car will start moving in second or even third gear so that your tires don’t spin and slip.

Any flashing with this indicator light indicates an issue is present and you won’t be able to use winter mode. In this case, have the vehicle diagnosed by a professional to determine the problem and have any necessary repairs done at the earliest.

Is it safe to drive with the winter mode indicator light on?

Yes, this light is designed to make your life easier while driving in wintery conditions. Use it if your wheels are spinning when trying to set off from a stop. Going uphill may prove difficult with winter mode, but you can turn it off temporarily to get over an incline. This mode is designed to help with very slippery roads and is not necessary for rainy weather. Some vehicles have a wet or rain mode which should be used instead.

The winter mode should deactivate automatically when the engine is shut off, but you should manually deactivate it if you move out of snowy weather. If your car’s winter mode light isn’t deactivating properly, our certified technicians are always available to help you diagnose any problems.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...
P0608 OBD-II Trouble Code: Control Module VSS Output "A" Malfunction
P0608 means there is an malfunction in the vehicle speed sensor A control module often due too faulty speed sensor or shorted electrical wiring.


Related questions

Q: Do its fuel injectors need to be cleaned and if they do, is there an effective way to clean them without removing them??

Hi there. This could be a faulty MAF (mass air flow sensor), which regulates the air going into the engine allowing for the proper air/fuel mixture. This could also be related to the idle air control module. This also helps...

Q: Tcs light and check engine light

Hello, thank you for writing in. When check engine lights illuminate, the first step to take is to have it scanned for diagnostic codes. These are the codes that trigger when a sensor or computer detects any issues. This can...

Q: Looking for a car that is good in winter

Hello. If you’re going to buy a Sante Fe that offers all wheel drive or four wheel drive, it should hold up pretty well in the harsh winter weather conditions. A Sante Fe with front wheel or four wheel drive...