Winter car care is extremely important. Both the interior and exterior of your vehicle will go through more abuse in the winter than any other season. Especially if you live in a colder climate and have to deal with snow, ice, sand, and salt.
Washing your vehicle in cold temperatures is a pain but it is necessary when
trying to prevent corrosion. Most importantly washing off snow and ice build
up keeps your glass, headlights and taillights clear, eliminating obstructed
views of the road. I like to wash my car once per week.
When it comes to corrosion its important to take preventative measures before
the snow flies and the temperature drops. One step is to apply a paint sealant or
wax. This will provide the paint with a protective barrier.
The barrier makes for easier removal of road grime, thus making car washing a
Sealant or wax can be applied to paint, chrome, polished aluminum, wheels,
exhaust tips, etc. Any place that can be a target for corrosion.
Taking the time to apply sealant or wax before winter is going to help make sure your paint still looks good once the cold weather is finally over.
This past winter I added another winter car care step to corrosion prevention
when preparing my car. I bought a can of rust proofing. Perhaps I got carried
away with it, but I sprayed the door hinges, inside the wheel wells, the seams
of the doors, seams in the engine bay, pretty much anywhere moisture can be
trapped and cause corrosion.
The product I used sprayed on easily and looked like a clear gel. A warning if you use it, the gel attracted dirt, so it really did look awful after a while. Once winter ended, I had quite a mess to clean up! It seemed to be worth the effort though because all the areas I sprayed remained rust free.
This is how the hinges looked after the rust proofing had been cleaned off.
Not bad for a daily driven 10 year old car!
The most common areas I've seen corrosion begin is in the fenders and quarter
panels. This is because there are a lot of hiding places there where salt and
sand can build up.
If you have access to an indoor do it yourself wand car wash, I recommend using
it. Using a wand wash will allow you to get into the inner wheel well areas with
ease. Although the wand wash is more labor intensive than an automatic wash, its
If you only have access to automatic washes, well they will have to do! I
suggest touch less washes opposed to the automatic brush washes. I have seen
some severely damaged paint jobs coming out of brush washes.
When the weather is extremely cold, (well below freezing) I don't recommend
washing your vehicle. Doors freeze, locks freeze, not a fun situation to be in!
A good habit to get into after each wash is squirting your locks with
de-icer. Also drying off your weather stripping and door jambs.
The best winter car care tip I can offer is when the snow is melting, keep
washing your vehicle once per week. Even if the roads are wet and mucky,
getting that weeks worth of build up off your paint is important.