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Most experts recommend washing your car every two to three weeks throughout the year as a general rule, but If you live in an area with a lot of harsh wintery road conditions, you probably should wash it more during the winter months. If you live in an area of the country that is frequented by salt trucks on the winter roads, it’s imperative to keep your car clean as salt can corrode the metal and cause rust. These cold winter months make it miserable to go outside and wash your car, but these tips can help you maintain the appearance of your car throughout the months of freezing temps to come.

  • Washing your car at home:
    • If you are washing your car at home, make sure you start the engine and get the heat circulating through the interior. This also helps heat to start de-icing in case temps are below freezing at the time. Turn the defroster on the windows as well.
    • Make sure you are suited up for the task with warm clothes and a water repellant jacket, gloves and boots or shoes. A beanie or snow hat on your head will help you retain warmth as well.
    • Wash your car mid-day and try to park it in the sun (if there is any). This may seem counterintuitive, but during winter months, the sun is not strong enough to bake any cleaning detergent onto your vehicle. Always use hot water and wash one section at a time. It will defrost your fingertips and help melt away any ice on the vehicle and help delay the re-freezing process for a bit. Make sure you unhook your hose and store it away so it won’t be frozen the next time you go out to use it.
    • If you own a pressure washer, use it. It uses less water than a regular hose and it helps blast off any frosty precipitation. Take care not to get too close to the car’s surface to avoid damaging.
    • Immediately after washing and rinsing, dry off your car with a plush absorbent microfiber towel before you begin cleaning up your car wash supplies. This will help to get the water off your car before it begins to freeze.
  • Washing your car at the automated car wash:
    • While this may seem like the more sensible choice in cold weather, lots of automated car washes will be closed if the temps dip below freezing. Any professional car wash that is able to remain open during below freezing temperatures will probably have a closed off and heated washing bay/tunnel.
    • Make sure you take your time driving out of the bay during the wind drying cycle. You need to get as much water off of your car as possible and you don’t want to rush this step.
    • Even though you went through the “dry cycle” in the bay, you still want to hand dry your vehicle with a plush absorbent microfiber towel. Take special attention to door handles and windows as they can quickly freeze over with the thinnest layer of water on them.

 

Even though washing your car in winter is not particularly pleasant, with a little love and perseverance, you can keep your car looking great while protecting it from winter’s cold effects. With these tips, you can help protect your car from salt buildup and keep your car looking it’s best.

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