Should you wash your car in the winter? The short answer: Yes.
Although you might skip them because it’s almost impossible to keep a car clean in the winter, road salt and other ice-melting chemicals used to keep our roads safe can cause rust and corrosion on your vehicle – with fuel lines and brakes most susceptible to damage.
But washing your car in the winter can come with its own challenges, like cold weather freezing your doors. We’ve answered some common questions about winter car washes and other ways to keep your car clean this winter.
Tips to consider if you wash your car in cold weather
How cold is too cold for a car wash?
Skip the wash if the temperature outside is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Water hitting your car when the air is too cold (like below freezing) can lead to frozen locks and door handles. It is important to let your car dry properly so that water does not stick and freeze. Consider using a car wash with a dryer or wiping the car with a microfiber cloth if you̵7;re at home.
Even if it’s not below freezing, road salt will stick to a wet car, losing the benefits of a car wash. So make sure your car has time to dry before you take it out for a spin.
What do I do if my car freezes?
If water creeps into your door and freezes your locks, don’t just start pulling frantically. If you can, remote start your car and let it warm up. You can also try using an anti-freeze from your favorite auto shop. It often comes in a spray bottle to fit into cracks and help prevent moisture from causing future freezes.
If you know freezing rain or sleet is coming, spray some cooking oil on your car door rubber seals to prevent them from freezing solid.
How often should I wash my car in the winter?
The answer really depends on your local climate and how often you drive. If you drive your car every day, a weekly car wash may be best to keep the salt off and the windshield clean. But if you don’t drive as often, you might be able to stick to a monthly car wash. Pro tip: add a car wash to your weekly or monthly errands, so you’re sure to get things clean on your schedule.
How do I wash my car in winter?
If going to a touchless car wash isn’t in your budget or time frame, you can always give your car a sponge bath. If you have a garage, grab a handful of sponges or microfiber towels and scrub away the dirt. You can also try “waterless” car wash products to keep your car’s exterior clean and polished.
Can I wax my car in winter?
Consider getting a protective layer of car wax to protect your car from road salt before the weather turns. Once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, a fresh car wax will not be able to solidify and dry properly. If you waited too long, you can still get a wax – just get the job done indoors or on a warmer day.
How can I help my car recover after the winter?
Winter can be quite harsh on your car. From your wiper blades and brakes working overtime to your salt-stained floor mats, there are a handful of things to add to your spring cleaning list. Consider getting a rust inspection and deep underbody cleaning to restore your car’s luster. For more spring car care tips, see our top eight must-haves.
We’ve got you covered
Old Man Winter is no car’s friend. But with a little extra care, you can protect your car and the investment you have in it. And even on the coldest days, you can count on yours car insurance with ERIE. Our agents live in your area and know the weather your car can handle. Contact us today to see which coverage options suit your needs.