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Tips to Keep Your Car Clean in the Winter

As ice, snow and salt grime gather on your car during the winter, it can make for a more difficult ride on the road. If any of your vehicle's sensors, cameras or radars become blocked or obscured, it can put you at risk for a potential accident, informs Consumer Reports. Here are five tips to help you keep your car in working order this winter.

Hosing down the rear car tire.

1. Wash the Car Thoroughly and Often

If possible, wash your car at least once a week. Start with the body of the car and hose out the undercarriage and fender wells to remove road salt and dirt. You'll also want to wax your vehicle if water beads start becoming bigger than a quarter. Waxing your vehicle can help protect it from salt, small pebbles and other winter road debris.

Don't forget to check your vehicle's tire pressure since underinflated tires can cause your car to be less responsive when you are driving on slippery winter roadways.

Be sure to clean your car's safety sensors too. While a select few newer models have built-in self-cleaning sensors, most cars do not. Therefore, pay particular attention to cleaning backup cameras, wipers, grills and fenders, the latter of which can house radar systems.

2. Add a Layer of Snow Foam

When you wash your car, ensure there's not a solid grime layer on it. If you try and scrub built-up grime, it can cause microscopic scratches that leave your car vulnerable to corrosion and rust. Instead, soak the layer of grime off with snow foam before you wash your car with soap. This keeps your car clean longer.

3. Prevent Rust

Rust can become a serious issue for your vehicle and can lead to long term damage. It's usually in the wintertime or early spring when you'll start noticing rust forming. Any damage can weaken your car's frame rigidity and ruin the body. Here's what you can do:

  • Inspect the wheel wells and bumpers. Rust usually starts developing in the wheel wells. Check for rust where the two metal pieces meet. If you notice that there's a potential for rust to form and cause rubbing, which will wear the paint away, clean that area of your car.
  • Inspect your car's undercarriage. Salt and chemicals can be picked up during the wintertime, increasing the chances of rust formation.
  • Check for rust under the hood, in the trunk and on all doors.
  • Clear and clean any water away from your car. If you allow water to sit on your car, it may chip the paint, causing rust.

4. Replace Carpet with Rubber

Salt can cause stains and even corrode carpet floor mats in a car, so it's always a good option to consider swapping them out for rubber floor mats.

5. Cover Your Car

If you don't have space in your garage and need to park your vehicle outside, it's always best to find a way to cover your car. This not only helps to keep it clean, but it also protects it from severe and constant winter storms that cause snow and debris accumulation on your car.

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