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5 Tips for Cleaning Snow off a Car

Cars covered in snow parked on the side of a street

In certain parts of the country, cleaning snow off a car is unfortunately a necessity in winter months, and getting the job done right requires a lot more than just elbow grease. You run the risk of scratching your car’s sheet metal while clearing away the white stuff, so it must be handled artfully to avoid damaging your vehicle’s paint.

Here are some tips for cleaning snow off a car without scratching the paint.

1. Blow It Away

The wind can be a powerful ally in clearing snow from a vehicle, and a leaf blower harnesses this force of nature, which you can use to your advantage. a leaf blower is undoubtedly the best way to remove snow from your car without causing harm to the paint. Paint scratches are caused by physical contact. With a leaf blower, there’s no touching, scraping or rubbing — just a steady blast of air. Keep in mind, though, that this method works best on light snow. If the snow is heavily packed or wet, blasting it with a leaf blower could take a while.

2. Brush It Off

A snow brush is specifically built for clearing precipitation from your car. You have two options: You can use a foam brush with a soft head designed to prevent scratches, or one with bristles. If your brush has bristles, wrap the head with a microfiber towel and secure it with elastic bands before use. Regardless of what kind of snow brush you use, technique is everything. The brush should make contact with the snow, not the vehicle. Angle the brush so that it’s an inch or two above the car’s sheet metal.

3. Take a Hands-On Approach

The most precise way to remove snow is with your two gloved hands, helping you avoid direct contact with the sheet metal. Again, technique is important. Try to scoop away snow without touching the car, keeping your hands an inch or two away from the vehicle. The downside to this technique is that it can be difficult to reach certain areas like the roof, and your hands will probably get cold in the process.

4. Clear the Glass

Automotive glass is more difficult to scratch than the vehicle’s sheet metal. To clear your windshield and windows, use an ice scraper or snow brush with the bristles exposed.

5. Just Say “No” to Shovels

Never use a shovel to clear snow from a car. A shovel can be unwieldy — it’s difficult to avoid grazing the vehicle, and some shovels have metal edges that can seriously damage your car. Choosing a shovel for snow removal puts your vehicle at a high risk for paint damage.

Thoroughly removing snow from your car facilitates safe driving for you and the other drivers on the road. While clearing snow off your car will never be fun, there are ways to do it without causing extra headaches, scratches or dings.

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

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


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.

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