Skip to content

3 Tips for Washing a Car in the Winter

A car covered in soap suds.

Washing a car is typically viewed as an activity that takes place in the heat of summer when the sun is shining. However, there are some good reasons why you may need to use soap and a sponge on your vehicle when winter rolls around.

In the summertime, washing a car often provides a benefit that’s purely cosmetic: it helps your vehicle look its best. If you’re washing a car in the winter, however, the benefits go much deeper — it can help you protect the health of your vehicle and stay safer when you’re on the road.

Here are some reasons why washing your car in the winter is a good choice and some tips for getting the job done.

The Hazards of Winter Driving

Winter presents hazards that can damage your vehicle. In snowy weather, road salt is often used to help clear precipitation. When this salt splashes onto your car’s exterior and undercarriage, it can leave deposits that could eventually cause your vehicle to rust.

Your car is also likely to be splashed with grit and rotting leaves on winter days when there’s lots of snow or rain, and this can leave residue that contributes to corrosion.dirty winter cars

Safety is also pressing concern for drivers in colder climates, as winter brings snow, ice and rain. These can accumulate on your windshield and cause buildup that limits visibility. Getting rid of that buildup is important if you want to see clearly and drive safely.

Taking the time to wash your car every couple of weeks during the winter months can help protect you and your vehicle from these hazards.

Tips for Washing a Car in the Winter

Keep these tips in mind when you’re washing a car in the winter:

  • Use a protective wax: Wax does more than just give your car a pleasant sheen. It also creates a barrier that keeps dirt and grime away from your vehicle’s paintwork. Additionally, it shields your car from the elements, which is especially important during frigid winter weather. Wax can also make your car easier to clean when you’re ready to wash away muck and grime.
  • Clean with a high-pressure water hose: A high-pressure water hose is a cleaning tool that uses a pressurized water spray to blast away dirt. It’s a useful tool for washing your car in the winter because it’s powerful enough to remove caked-in deposits easily, and it can allow you to clean parts of the undercarriage that are difficult to reach. You can purchase a high-pressure water hose for home use, or you can take your vehicle to a car wash, which will likely provide one.
  • Avoid washing your car at home when the temperature is below freezing: If you wash your car at home when the temperature is below freezing, you run the risk of water turning to ice as it makes contact with your vehicle. This can cause problems like your car door being frozen shut. When temperatures are below freezing, full-service car washes are your best option if you want to keep your car clean, as they’ll typically provide a heated car-wash space.

Keep these tips in mind when you’re looking to clean your car during the winter months so you can simplify the process and ensure that your vehicle doesn’t suffer any damage during the cleaning.

Check out all the car cleaning products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on washing a car in winter, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photos courtesy of Unsplash.


Warren Clarke View All

I'm a writer and editor who's a regular contributor with the New York Daily News and Carfax, and my content has appeared in over 20 publications. I've written content that covers industries such as automotive, medical, insurance, healthcare, real estate, plumbing, pest control, dental and hospitality.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *