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How to know if it is safe to wash your car in the winter

This article was first published at Kolosso Auto, reposted with permission. Be sure to check out Kolosso Auto for all your car care needs!

For those of us that live in a cold weather climate we know winter can take it’s toll on our vehicles, especially as the temperatures near freezing or below. Keeping up maintenance no longer seems like a fun task as the idea of braving the bitter cold to wash your car or change the oil is no longer as easy or appealing as it is in summer months.

winter car wash

Should you be washing your car in winter months? Does it matter if you leave this task until warmer months return? 

Even though a regular car wash could pose a few risks due to freezing temperatures, it is still important to keep your car clean during the winter to keep salt from causing rust damage, especially in the brake area. To avoid some of those freezing risks after a car wash make sure you don’t wash your car right before the sun sets, and if your car can be parked in the sun right after you finish washing it, the sun will dry it off quicker avoiding some of those possible freezing issues.

Here are a few tips to help you with your winter car washing needs:

  • To avoid rust, wash off salt as soon as possible. Washing once a week is a great idea as long as the temperatures remain above freezing. If it is colder you may want to consider taking your vehicle to a full service center where they will wash and dry it for you before you leave.
  • Keep your car’s paint waxed to protect the finish. Most car washes offer a wax coating for little extra cost. The cost of a new paint job is much more so that wax is worth it.
  • Don’t forget the underside of the car. Lots of snow and ice can build up causing problems for your tires and more. Be sure to wash away any large chunks and keep your car running smoothly.
  • Think of rust-preventative car washing just like brushing your teeth – if you do it on a regular basis you won’t get cavities. If you do get a cavity, get it drilled and filled right away. Rust on metal works the same way.
  • Keep extra windshield wipe fluid handy, it is easy to run out in the middle of a long, cold winter.


So tell us…

How often do you wash your car in the winter?


Photo credit: Flickr, daryl_mitchell

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4 Responses to How to know if it is safe to wash your car in the winter

  1. Anne December 16, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

    We get so much salt spread on our rural road this time of year that we need to wash them regularly. They would completely rust out if we didn’t wash them off.
    Anne recently posted…Sharp AQUOS Crystal SmartphoneMy Profile

  2. Janel December 17, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    I’ve never thought to wash my car in the winter. These are great tips!
    Janel recently posted…Teaching Kids to GiveMy Profile

  3. Mistee Dawn December 17, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

    I usually just let my hubby deal with winter car-washing. I will definitely have to show him these tips! Thanks!
    Mistee Dawn recently posted…The Vineyard by Michael Hurley – Book Review.My Profile

  4. Kathleen Bailey December 17, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    I’m ashamed to admit we have never washed the car during Winter. It didn’t occur to me that there was a reason to or that the sale contributes to rust. Our car is broken now but when we get a new one, I’ll be sure to take better care of it in the Winter!
    Kathleen Bailey recently posted…My Little Pony Flip and Whirl Rainbow Dash #CRHGG14My Profile

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