How to Protect Your Car From Snow, Ice, and Salt Damage
January 6, 2014
Winter is probably the harshest time of the year, and not just for the physical things around us. Protecting your car from snow, ice or even salt can be a difficult task. Cars take to snow like cats take to water, and you know the two just don’t make an ideal fit. There are many car problems that come to life as soon as the first snow falls: cranky engine, malfunctioning heater, frozen pipes, and foggy windshields, to name a few.
Wonderful as the season may be, car owners are sometimes at a loss on how to protect the car against snow damage. Of course, the best way to accomplish this Herculean task is to detail your car properly and then put it into storage. It’s the only way you can keep it out of the snow and all the damaging things that it can do to your vehicle.
Protecting your Car from Snow – Ice – Salt
However, if you still want to be able to use your car during the next few weeks perhaps even months, depending on your location, the only way you can give your car a bit of fighting chance against the harsh snow is to prep it properly.
- Use snow tires.Do you notice that your car still fishtails a little on the slick roads even if your tires are brand-new? That is because the tire treads are no match for the slushy concoction of melted snow, road salt, and road dirt. The highways still get pretty mucky even in the dead of winter, so you can be sure that the white blanket covering the blacktop isn’t as clean as you think it is. Snow tires will provide you with that much-need traction and help your car stay on the road and in the right lane. This, in turn, will help you lower your chances of meeting a road accident during winter, as well as protect your car from potential damage.
- Don’t use a plastic or metal shovel for digging out your vehicle. Sharp plastic or metal objects are the worst thing you can put next to your car when un-burying it from snow. It’s better to just use your hands and feet to get the worst of the snow out of the way. Otherwise, you might end up gouging your vehicle through to the metal surface—speeding up the oxidation surface when your vehicle is already at its most vulnerable state. If your car is iced over in some places, try to lift the ice up with your hands instead of pushing it off. The bottom of the ice sheet just might leave fine scratches on your vehicle.
- Don’t park your vehicle out in the open. Especially near or underneath a tree. You never know when a bough becomes too heavy with snow and it will break off from the trunk and crash right on your car. It’s advisable to leave your car in your garage overnight so that it won’t be frozen to your parking space the next morning.
Protecting your Car – Use Snow Tires
- Rinse your vehicle thoroughly first before proceeding with your regular wash routine. As emphasized over and over, road salt can be the kiss of death for your vehicle if you let it stay on for the duration of winter. That’s why it’s extra important to maintain your DIY detailing habit throughout the winter season. The reason behind giving your vehicle a good long rinse prior to actual washing is that you want to remove as much of the salt as possible, without allowing it to rub against the metal surfaces of your car. If you proceed as you always do—scrubbing and brushing your vehicle immediately—you’ll increase the risk of scratching the paint job and allowing the salt through to work against the metal surface underneath.
- Stay away from your favorite touchless car wash facility. For the time being, touchless car wash facilities are not the best options. As the brushes and foam strips used there have already picked up dirt and salt from other vehicles, which in turn can be transferred to your car. Kind of defeats the point of detailing, doesn’t it?
If you want to know more about how to protect your car from snow damage, your detailer might have a few more tips you can practice. Start the preparations as early as possible so that your car can stand up to the snow better. It’s important to remember that vehicles need to be detailed during the winter months as well. Schedule your appointment for a complete interior and exterior detail at the end of the season.