Winter Car Care
Tips from the Expert

Regardless of what part of the world you live, Winter car care is going to become an added concern for any car owner who actually cares about preserving the beauty and resale value of their car.

If you are one such person then continue reading as I lay out some additional tips to help you and your car survive the winter months.

winter car care tips driving in snow

Regardless of the conditions your car must endure during winter months, there are 3 main points to winter car care:

  • Consistency
  • Frequency
  • Protection

It's a Jungle Out There:
Winter only makes it worse!

While those three points will seem obvious to most, I think most people underestimate just how critical each of those points are to actually put into practice.

Consistency and Frequency: While consistency may seem the same as frequency to you, they in fact are different. I could be consistent about cleaning my car as part of my winter car care, but if you are only consistently doing it once every 3 months, this is not the same as being consistent with winter car care every month!

Which leads directly into frequency. The more frequent you are able to take extra steps of maintenance and protection, the more you can expect to reap the positive effects of your efforts.

dirty car in rain

Simple Rules of Success:

Washing your car: Yes; this is the glaring obvious and I know I don't need to tell you, but washing your car as often as possible is your first line in defense for diminishing the harmful effects of the winter months.

It is far better to wash your car with methods that are less than ideal rather than allowing the accumulated dirt, snow, and sleet to remain on your car for extended periods of time.

Many people get lost in the fear of looking at their filthy car and worry about washing it out of fear of damaging the paint. It's as though a blind spot is created with people in their inability to realize that all the layers of dirt sit and damage the materials of your car.

This is far worse than the possible damage you would do in cleaning your car even in the most rudimentary ways of washing your car to eliminate the layers of grime.

Acid Rain: This is when rain and snow mix with the air pollutants to create a damaging mixture that can etch into your cars paint clear coat and can leave permanent damage.

Road salt, grime, mud, dirt: This is more obvious and nobody is going to question the need to remove this type of dirt. What many fail to consider is that what falls from the sky onto your cars paint is not the only problem.

The endless road grime that accumulates on every street and highway during the rest of the year, now mixes with the snow, rain water that gets kicked up onto your car every time you drive out on the roads.

Winter Car Care Tips

When it comes to winter car care it is pretty simple:

"Frequency is King!"

You still need to apply the same strategies of traditional paint care during the winter; you just need to do it more often.

My Two (2) Secret Tips for Paint Care:

1.) The Clay Bar- This is officially know as a surface prep bar. It is like a chunk of "Playdoh" that you rub your freshly cleaned paint with to remove surface contaminates. These contaminants become permanent over time. Normal washing and waxing are unable to remove these contaminants which must be removed with a separate process.

(Insider clay bar tips can be read here)

2.) Synthetic Sealants- It is accepted among the world of professional detailers that synthetic sealants will out perform traditional carnauba based paste waxes for durability and protection.

You can see what I recommend in the form of true synthetic car paint sealants at my Teflon Car Wax review

Some Additional Winter Car Care Tips

The main point I am trying to make is two things:

  • Consistency
  • Frequency

The dirtier your car gets, the more harmful this dirt is to your paint, so the more often you will have to apply these techniques. And remember, consistency is king when it comes to most strategies.

Let me summarize a few additional points for you:

porsche winter car care
  • Regular washing- I wash ever week during summer months. During winter, I wash after every storm to remove all the harmful effects of grime from any winter storm. In climates of extended periods of snow, wash as often as permitted.
  • Clay bar the paint- Smooth is good, texture is bad. Use the clay bar to remove harmful paint contaminates that do not come off with regular washing and waxing. Simply slide your hand across your paint after any car washing to see if you feel and "grit" stuck to your paint.
  • Wax is for both protection and appearance- While I am a big fan of synthetic sealants, there are those that simply cannot embrace new technology. Regardless, you need to apply your choice of a quality car wax or a synthetic sealant more frequently during the winter months.
  • There is no "wonder product"- No wax or sealer product will last forever. Yes, there may be some products advertised as such, but they all lose effectiveness over time and conditions. Without having to research every product out there, you can simplify the moment by knowing this: Synthetic products made with polymers will outlast any of the natural products made with carnauba waxes. It doesn't matter which form you choose: paste, liquid, or spray. If protection and durability is your first priority, always shop for a 100% synthetic polymer product. 
  • Do not hose off car- Do not think you will be doing yourself or your car a favor by hosing your car off with city water from the garden hose, and letting drip dry. I know you will get frustrated by a dirty car as weather system after weather system rolls in and out of the area. Your car will get worse and worse and you will want to do something about it in the moment. But this is not the answer as you will create hard water spots that can become permanent and be more problematic than the dirt itself.

I hope you are able to defend you and your car better with these winter car care tips. I have made is as simple and straightforward as possible in hopes that you will not be overwhelmed by the idea of proper winter car care.

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