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Winter Car Care Tips: 6 Ways to Protect Your Car’s Exterior In The Cold

As the mercury plummets and vehicle maintenance becomes more difficult, it’s important to keep winter car care tips in mind. 

Don’t leave your ride out in the cold this winter. Here are 6 ways to keep your vehicle’s exterior looking good long after the frigid months are over. 

1. Wash your car regularly

Winter Car Care Tips

Weather conditions like snow, sleet, ice, and freezing rain, along with road salt, sand, gravel, and grime can wreak havoc on your car’s exterior.

Keep your car’s paint job in peak condition by washing it after every highway drive, slushy city trip, or snowstorm.

Wax on after you wash off

dog looking out a window

Take it one step further: after washing your vehicle add a post-clean wax. Think of wax like adding a winter coat to your car’s exterior; it’s an extra layer of protection between it and the elements. 

DIY winter car protection

At-home spray waxes are an easy option available at most auto care shops. Manual and automatic car washes offer a wax function as well. Or, if you want to stay hands off, treat your vehicle to a full detail.

Bonus tip: A wax application is best done in the fall, before the first snow. 

2. Fix windshield cracks and chips

Inside a car driving through a forest road

A tiny rock chip or crack can seem like no big deal but if it’s ignored, it can result in the need to replace an entire windshield—for a pretty penny. 

Depending on the size and extent of the damage, chips and cracks can be fixed quickly and cheaply. 

Many auto glass shops don’t even require an appointment for these types of fixes. Simply drop-in, wait 30 minutes or so, and—voilà!—you’ve protected your windshield from further winter damage. 

Replace wiper blades 

car driving through snow

Prevent damage to your car’s glass by replacing windshield wipers before and after wintertime. 

Consumer Reports recommends swapping out your wiper blades twice a year. Not only will this keep your car’s glass in good condition, it will increase driver safety by maintaining adequate visibility while driving.

3. Park inside

snow covered street

During the winter months, park your car in a protected location. Even better: when you have the choice between parking indoors or out, choose indoors. 

  • Instead of a busy street, choose a side street away from heavy traffic and snowplows.
  • Use a parking lot when available. The cost of paying to park in a lot is worth the money if it means you’ve prevented damage to your car’s paint job.
  • When going to a building with a covered car park or parcade, take advantage of it. 
  • If your home has a garage, use it. 

Cover your car when parked outside (or inside)

car in garage

Can’t park inside? If you live somewhere that doesn’t have an indoor or covered parking spot, protect your vehicle with a cover, carport, or portable shelter. 

This tip is important, too, if you don’t intend to drive your car for a while. 

4. Apply a protective film

snow covered side mirror

A paint protective film is a thin, durable, and transparent autobody film that can be applied to the front of your vehicle after-market. This type of barrier will go a long way to preventing chips, scratches, and scapes on the front of your car. 

5. Be gentle when cleaning off your car

Child taking off snow on a car

In every automotive snow-removal accessories section, there’s a seemingly unending choice of brushes, scrapers, mits, brooms, and dusters. Unfortunately, some of these products are too harsh on your vehicle’s paint.

Add a bad snow-removal tool with overly harsh scratching of a car’s paint and you’ve got a recipe for a winter autobody disaster. 

Vehicle snow removal tips

Icicles on a car door handle

When looking to remove ice or snow from your car, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use a brush or broom with soft bristles
  • Better yet, choose a snow removal broom with a foam head
  • Replace old or damaged snow brushes as soon as they start to show wear. Like an old toothbrush, and old snowbrush is not only ineffective, it can damage your car’s paint 
  • Never use excessive force when cleaning off your vehicle. Use your vehicle’s defrost system and gently scrape away stuck on ice and snow. 

6. Deal with rust 

Snowy day

Winter offers the perfect conditions for rust. 

Paint scratches and chips leave a vehicle’s metal body exposed to the elements. Water, snow, salt, and ice can then combine, find these exposed areas, and begin to corrode your car. Before long, rust has started eating away at your ride.

Touch it up

Prevent rust by touching up chips and scratches as soon as you see them. 

Deal with rust immediately. Either clean it off yourself using an automotive rust removal product or bring it into an auto body shop for TLC.

Bonus Tip: How to care for your car after winter

snow covered car window

Once winter is over, don’t let your cold weather car care habits go the way of the dodo. Keep tending to your vehicle’s exterior. 

The easiest way to do this: clean your car thoroughly at the end of every winter. 

Learn how by reading ‘How To Detail Your Car Like A Pro: The Ultimate Guide’, or call us.

Care for your car in every season

Car in the middle of the road

We hope you’ve found these winter car care tips helpful. 

Now you can set forth on snowy roads knowing you have the knowledge and tools to keep your car’s paint in great shape.

Now, go a step further: book your vehicle in for a mid-winter maintenance check, auto body repair, or detailing. Our team of experts promise to keep your ride looking and running its best in winter and in every other season. 

Little girl drawing on snow covered car