washing car in winter
Blog Maintenance

7 Tips For Washing Your Car This Winter

Winter is the cruellest month when it comes to wear and tear on your car. Snow, mud, water, and ice punish your vehicle’s exterior, not to mention all the debris you track into your vehicle off your shoes and boots. It’s an attack on your car’s health from all fronts.

To make matters worse, washing your car in cold weather can be a somewhat unpleasant endeavour – if you don’t know the right process. Far from a fun summer day in your driveway, washing your car in the cold takes fortitude and perseverance. But the payoff is that you extend your vehicle’s life, and keep it looking sharp! 

We already shared our favourite tips about washing your car. Now we’re going to show you some pro tips for preparing and washing for your vehicle during those icy months.

Follow these 7 simple car washing tips this winter season

1. Dress appropriately 

If you’re washing your car in below-freezing temperatures, or even single-digit temperatures, you will need to layer up and wear as much waterproof material as possible. With water splashing around your hands and feet, it’s a good idea to wear waterproof gloves and thermal waterproof boots. If you don’t have waterproof gloves, you can slip on some rubber gloves underneath your regular gloves. 

2. Avoid hosing with hot water 

If there is any ice and snow attached to your car at the start of the wash, DO NOT blast hot water. Glass and hot water don’t mix. It can expand any microscopic cracks on your windshield and even shatter it. Hot water can also remove any protective car wax you have applied.

Use warm water instead, and warm up your car before you start the wash. Having your car “pre-heated” will help prevent water from freezing to your car during and right after the wash. 

3. No scrubs

Most car wash pros recommend putting your trust in rinsing rather than scrubbing. Going hard with a soapy scrub brush could risk grinding particles like salt, sand, and dirt into your paint, which could leave scratches. It’s better to let rinsing do most of the dirty work. So how do you safely apply soap to the exterior?

A foam soap gun is something you can use to gently aerate a soapy foam concentrate to your car while washing it. With a foam gun, you don’t need a bucket of soapy water, which reduces splashing and your contact with water.

4. Don’t forget the underside 

Washing the underside of your car is easily forgettable in summer, but in winter you should pay close attention to this zone. The underside isn’t protected by any kind of coating; it is vulnerable to rust caused by road salt and constant water splashes.

Use a hose to spray water under your car and in those wheel wells to wash off all that accumulated dirt and salt. There are also undercarriage sprays that you can purchase for less than $60.

5. Winter wax 

Adding wax during a car wash is more a preventative measure than a device for cleaning. Some experts recommend a carnauba wax for repelling water and snow in the winter months. This wax is resilient and doesn’t degrade quickly while your car withstands constant in-motion splashing.

Remember, the more wax applied the longer you can go between car wash intervals. It’s also good to apply wax before putting your car into storage

6. Give those wipers extra attention 

When your car wash is complete, head straight inside the vehicle and turn on the washer fluid (make sure your doors are closed first). Let it spray for 10 seconds or more with the wipers in motion.

This will give the washer fluid time to soak into the wiper pieces, like the hinges, to prevent ice formation and clear away the fresh water you used from the wash. This should prevent water from freezing up in the small nozzles and allow for proper washer fluid distribution.

7. Don’t let your door and windows get iced

Much like your wipers, window seals should get the same immediate post-wash attention. Roll down each window a few inches, including the sunroof, to prevent any ice formation between the window and seal. Leave them open for a few minutes. The same advice goes for your fuel door – pop that open to prevent it from freezing shut.

You should also open each door fully and wipe the rubber seals on the inner edges with a towel. Remember, you warmed up the car prior to washing, so ice will be forming faster due to the car body’s quickly dropping temperature.

Looking for a new car to wash this winter?

Canada Drives is your one-stop shop for finding a car that is perfect for all seasons. Get a no-obligation pre-approval today to know exactly what kind of financing you’re eligible for. Then, shop hundreds of certified used vehicles online and have your perfect ride delivered to your door!

More content about

The Easiest Way to Buy or Sell a Car