Perhaps the most appropriate start to this post would be the question Should I wash my car in the winter? And the answer is a resounding yes! While covering your car with salt during the winter is the best way to keep it snow-free (well, relatively), salt is also excellent at rusting the car’s metal and ruining the upholstery, which are both obvious no-nos. So, how to wash car in the winter?
- Frequent Rinses
How often to wash car in winter? During the winter, the simplest and easiest way to keep your car clean is to rinse it once every ten days at a Do-It-Yourself Car Wash. Not only does this method require minimal effort, but it also answers the question of how to wash salt off car in winter, since it ensures that your car is always protected from many chilly adversaries, like snow, dirt, and salt. If you plan to add a personal touch to the wash, remember to use the lance to rinse off the dirt from the vehicle, as this helps keep the vehicle’s paintwork safe from uninvited guests. Remember to use a high-pressure wand to cleanse the car’s undercarriage, tires, and wheel wells.
- The White Winter Wash
The best methods always have personalized names, and how to wash car in winter is no different. The White Winter Wash is a more labor-intensive adaptation of the traditional two-bucket car wash. It’s a safe and relatively cheap way to keep your car spick and span, ten inches of snow on the weather forecast or not. This method involves more water than usual to ensure a through-and-through cleaning. It needs two five-gallon buckets, a car wash shampoo, a sponge/wash mitt, a high-pressure hose, and a readiness to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Fill both buckets and dilute only one with car wash shampoo to a ratio of your choice (we prefer 128:1). Then thoroughly rinse the surface of your car with the high-pressure hose, ensuring you get all the ridges and ledges and other treasure troves of dirt. After you’re satisfied, subject your car to the conventional two-bucket wash, using your sponge/wash mitt to foamy, sparkling perfection. Finally, rinse your car with the bucket of regular water to wash off the soap, and end the wash by wiping your car’s surface with weave towels. Still haven’t landed on an answer on how to wash car in winter?
- The Waterless Car Wash
Here, we discuss how to wash car in winter without water. A waterless car wash is a cheaper and simple option for drivers that want to waste as little water as possible while still thoroughly cleaning their vehicles. This is also suitable for those that live in water-restricted areas (like most city-dwellers). This method needs a waterless car wash (there are many affordable choices on the market) and a towel, preferably a microfiber towel, because of its ability to clean even hard-to-reach places with ease. Though this may seem like a less-than-ideal option for those used to thorough, conventional washes, waterless car washes include multiple lubricants to protect your vehicle from abrasion, while also giving it the sparkly finish that is characteristic of a conventional car wash. Dilute your rinseless car wash solution in a small amount of water, and dab your towel in the water before wiping your car’s surface. Your end product should ideally be a vehicle with a stain- and dirt-resistant surface.
- Maintaining your Car
Prevention is always better than cure. If you’re not sure about how to wash car in winter yet, to at least avoid corrosion and mechanical failures, it’s best to follow the following instructions during winter months:
1) Use rubber mats: Instead of regular mats, use rubber mats during winter to keep moisture from seeping through the interiors and corroding the car’s undercarriage.
2) Stock on fluids: Ensure that your car’s fluids contain de-icing agents so that they don’t freeze when it gets too chilly.
3) Lubrication, lubrication, lubrication: Lubricate locks, the trunk, and the gas cap on a regular basis, especially before washing your car. A little WD-40 goes a long way in preventing these elements from freezing during winter.
4) Wax: Waxing your car adds an extra layer of protection against the snow. Try to wax your car after washing it to keep it free of salt and other chemicals used on roads.
- Wax + Snow Foam
This is the easiest of all ways on how to wash car in winter. Snow foam is another way to keep your car’s surface grit- and salt-free while applying as little effort as possible. Not only is snow foam easy to use (as the name suggests, it’s just foam as thick as snow), it’s also more fun than the other methods mentioned above, although that’s a debatable criterion. It’s important to mention at this point that snow foam is not a complete car wash in and of itself since it ensures surface-level cleanliness - tackling all the dirt, grit, and salt on the paintwork. In many cases, snow foam is used as a pre-cleaner before venturing into the more detailed versions of car washing (most of which are mentioned above.) Unlike other pre-cleaners like citrus-based agents, snow foam is less pungent and abrasive, while combating grit and dirt just as well. The foundation of this method, however, is a layer of wax. It’s best to wax your car before winter begins and to snow-foam it every one or two weeks. Wax protects the car’s paintwork from unwelcome dirt, while the little that does get through can be easily cleaned by letting snow foam sit on the surface of your car for an hour or two. Then high-pressure hosing it takes away the foam and along with it, the remainder of grit and salt.
A few additional tips:
- Don’t drive harshly: Winter has a history of being unkind to rash drivers and their cars. It’s best to drive slowly and patiently on roads, where invisible sleet and snow are just one gas pedal push away from being more than an annoyance.
- Drive as little as possible: Try to avoid driving on days of heavy snowfall (and the days after) to avoid damage, be it short-term or long-term dirt and salt accumulation.
- Use the wand: High-pressure wands at DIY car washes are more effective than they look. In fact, they may be the most effective of all the instruments I’ve mentioned in this article.
What if I would rather just junk my car since it’s become unusable? In the case of storage being an unnecessary hassle for your car if it’s closer to becoming unusable than the end of winter, you can sell junk cars for cash regardless of their condition, year, make, or model. Interested in learning more about how to ‘junk my car’?