Why You Should Keep Your Car Clean in Winter

Wash Car - Wintertime
Michelle Tribe, Flickr

You love a clean car, it’s a good feeling. A clean car has a direct impact on its value over time and more importantly its operation.  Let’s face it, with freezing temperatures, the last thing you need is an ice luge down the driveway – you’re not hosting the Winter Olympics! Why is it important to keep your car clean in winter months, especially after snow? We answer this question below.

First, winter can be one of the most damaging times of the year for your car’s exterior. Between road salts marking up your body’s exterior to tracking in dirt and salt pellets on our floor mats, by spring your car will likely look like a disaster zone. Brake lines, mechanical parts involved with braking systems and other components of your car can rust, malfunction and in some cases cause fluid leaks. This is especially true for older vehicles which most of us drive today.

Here are a few tips on keeping your car clean in winter and where to get it done: 

  • How often should you clean your cars? It depends on the number of snowstorms. It’s preferable to get your car cleaned after a snow storm and after the roads dry. Meaning, you are not still driving around in slush. Otherwise, once per month should be sufficient.
  • Experts say the best method to clean the exterior of a car is to get it professionally done (heated garage, soft gloves, proper cleaning and rinsing methods, and the right products to use on the finish). But who has the time or money for this? Second to this is either a brushless (touchless) or a soft-touch car wash. The brushless car wash uses high pressure water jets and detergents to remove the dirt and debris from your exterior. It does a good job, but does not address hard to get areas of the body. For the soft-touch car wash, make sure the brushes are cloth. Some car washes use abrasive bushes which can scratch the exterior.
  • Always opt for the undercarriage wash option. You’ll pay a few dollars more, but its worth it. Cleaning these areas washes away unwanted elements from brake lines, mechanical parts, suspensions and exhaust systems.
  • Waxing your car’s body can offer a great deal of protection from road salts, which is why ensuring your car’s waxed up before the winter strikes is such a good idea. But if you overlooked this critical protection, it’s never too late to give your baby a nice mid-winter wax servicing. Pay attention to the type of wax you use, however, as some aren’t meant to be used at low temperatures.
  • No matter how hard you try, when it’s snowing it’s impossible to keep the interior of your car completely dry, unless it’s permanently parked. But if you’re going to be driving on a daily basis, there’s simply no way around making occasional puddles on your car’s interior as collected snow from your shoes and clothing begins to melt. To better protect your car’s interior, buy yourself some good quality rubber floor mats and clean them frequently. As for your seats, there are certain protective sprays that you can use to head off moisture damage. Pay a visit to your local auto parts retailer for the best choice in either.
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As it turns out, washing your car isn’t just a spring and summer activity. It’s a year-round obligation that serves not only to make your ride look as sweet as possible, but also to protect it from sustaining the kind of interior and exterior wear that can drive down its value or cause problems with operation.

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