7 Ways to Protect Your Car in Winter

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Winter roads can do a number on your car. All that snow, ice, salt, and grime sprays up from traffic and your tires onto your vehicle, causing unseen but serious hazards. Other factors, while less serious, can also damage your car's exterior and interior over time.

Proper winter car care is more than simply winterizing your vehicle or learning how to protect your car from snow. True winter car care actually maintains vehicle performance—keeping you and your loved ones safer.

Protect Your Car in Winter

Our Top Seven Winter Car Care Recommendations

1. Clean the Interior of Your Windshield

Over time, a thin film of grime builds up on a windshield. Easy to miss, grime makes itself known in a hurry when poor winter conditions like frost, fog, or snow obscures your windshield when you most need to see. It’s especially dangerous when catching the rising or setting sun, blinding you.

To clean your windshield, use two dry microfiber cloths, one short nap, and one waffle woven hand-towel. Spray a small amount of window cleaner on the short nap and clean. Use the waffle hand-towel to wipe away residual grime. Consider finishing with an anti-fogging product such as Rain-X Interior Glass Anti-Fog.

Be aware: some car owners insist window cleaners only smear around the grime. However, when high-quality products are used properly, they make a world of difference. Just experiment a bit to find what works best for your windshield.

2. Refurbish Your Headlights

Ensure your headlights work properly so you can see and be seen. Replace any burnt-out bulbs. Plastic lenses yellow and dull with age, but polishing them will make them shine like new.

3. Wax Your Car

“Do I really need to wax my car for the winter?” You bet! Waxing does more than make cars look good; it protects the paint by helping corrosive elements like debris, snow, and road salt slide right off.

You may not realize it, but winter dirt cleans off with far greater difficulty than summer dirt—unless you have a wax shield in place.

4. Wash Your Car Regularly

Many of us adopt a “Why bother?” attitude to car washing during wintertime. Yet, as we’ve seen, cars pick up plenty of unwelcome salt, sand, dirt, and grime. These not only grow tougher to remove over time, but they also prematurely age your vehicle. Road salt corrodes parts and panels, while sand and dirt scratches paint and plastic.

Mitigate this with regular car washes. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Timely washes are how you keep your car clean and protected in winter.

5. Get Floor Mats

Your feet track dirty snow and debris into your car, gumming up your carpets with water and filth. A good set of floor mats will protect them. Pick up some rubber deep tray mats, which work best against water and salt. They’re also easy to clean.

If you hate rubber mats, you’ll have to work somewhat harder. You’ll need to clean and dry fabric mats more regularly. You can keep a driving-only pair of shoes in the car or line the floor with plastic or even newspaper.

6. Vacuum and Clean Floor Mats

Take the time to keep your floor mats clean to ensure they actually protect your vehicle’s interior. Don’t skip this; it’s vital to keep your car’s interior clean in winter. You can also place old towels under them for added carpet protection.

7. Keep the Interior Dry

Damp car fabric leads to stains and unpleasant odors. While snow and rain will inevitably sneak inside, keep the wet to a minimum by stamping snow off shoes, brushing off coats and gloves, and tossing out bits of snow.

Throw out garbage as trash mixed with dirt and melted snow makes for an unpleasant drive. And wipe off those mats!

Start your journey towards total winter car care. Find your local Take 5 car wash today!

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