Maintenance Tips, Tricks And Hacks For Your Vehicle

7 Ways To Protect Your Car From Snow And Salt




I feel like John Snow when I say this, but winter is coming. With the winter comes the cold weather and snow.

If you want to make sure your car stays in good condition during the winter, you need to take some steps to protect it from the snow and salt.

In this blog post, we will discuss seven ways that you can protect your car from snow and salt. Follow these tips and your car will stay looking new all winter long!

Key Takeaway

  • Protecting your car from snow and salt includes waxing the undercarriage, protecting the paint by waxing it, cleaning the car after being exposed to snow and salt, cleaning the wheels, avoiding driving in a snowstorm, avoiding parking the vehicle on the street and parking it in a garage.
  • The time it takes for salt to ruin a car can vary, but significant rusting often starts showing up after 5-6 years, although damage to wheels and rims can occur within days if they are scratched or dented, and unchecked exposure can cause a car to completely rust in a matter of years.

7 Ways To Protect Your Car From Snow And Salt

6 Ways To Protect Your Car From Snow And Salt

Snow and salt are hurting your vehicle more than you know it. They can damage your car paint, cause the vehicle’s metal parts to rust, and pose a safety issue(snow buildup behind the wheels).

This is why it is important to prepare your vehicle for the winter.

Here are 6 ways to protect your car from snow and salt:

1. Wax the undercarriage of your car

6 Ways To Protect Your Car From Snow And Salt

One way to help protect your car from the elements is to wax the undercarriage. This will create a barrier between the metal and the salt and snow, and it will also help to prevent rusting.

In addition, waxing will make it easier to clean your undercarriage when the weather warms up. For best results, wax your undercarriage before the first snowfall of the season.

Winter weather can be tough on your car, especially if you live in an area that experiences a lot of snow and ice. Snow and salt can damage your vehicle, so it is best if you prepare your car before the winter.

Undercarriage waxing is an important but often overlooked step in the car detailing process. When done correctly, it can help to protect your car from rust and corrosion (caused by snow and salt), increased road noise, and even rock chips.

The undercarriage is the part of the car that is most exposed to the elements, so it is important to make sure that it is properly protected.

In order to wax the undercarriage, you will need a few supplies, including a bucket, a hose, a sponge or brush, and quality undercarriage wax. Once you have gathered your supplies, you can begin by hosing off the undercarriage to remove any dirt or debris.

Next, apply the wax evenly over the surface with a sponge or brush. Allow the wax to dry for the recommended amount of time before rinsing it away with a hose.

I would suggest that you wax the undercarriage of your vehicle each year. Note that even though the wax will protect the undercarriage, it wears off from the snow and salt. This is why it is important you wax your undercarriage each year before winter.

2. Protect the car paint by waxing it

6 Ways To Protect Your Car From Snow And Salt

When it comes to protecting your car from snow and salt, wax is definitely your best friend. A thick layer of wax will help to create a barrier between your paint and the elements, and it will also make it easier to remove any salt or snow that does build up.

If you live in an area where snow and salt are common, make sure to give your car a good waxing at least once every six months.

Although it may seem like a lot of work, taking the time to wax your car can pay off in the long run. Not only will a good coat of wax help to protect your paint job from scratches and weather damage, but it will also make it easier to clean off dirt and grime.

While it may seem like a difficult task, waxing your car is actually quite simple. The most important thing to remember is to start with a clean surface. You will need to wash your car with soap and water, and then dry it completely. Once your car is clean, you can begin to apply the wax.

Most waxes come in either a paste or liquid form. If you are using a paste, you will need to rub it onto the surface of your car in small circles. For liquid wax, you can simply spread it on with a cloth. Once the wax is applied, you will need to let it sit for a few minutes before buffing it off with a clean towel.

See also: How To Protect The Undercarriage From Salt

3. Clean the car after driving in the snow

6 Ways To Protect Your Car From Snow And Salt

In order to protect your car, it is important to clean the car and undercarriage after driving in winter weather. This will remove any salt or debris that may be clinging to the car, and it will also help to prevent rusting.

It’s that time of year again – the snow is falling and the roads are icy. While this may be a beautiful sight, it can also take a toll on your vehicle. Over time, exposure to snow and salt can corrode metal and damage paint.

Salt promotes corrosion by weakening the protective oxide layer that forms on the surface of the metal. This gives oxygen and water molecules easy access to the metal beneath, causing it to break down and leading to the formation of rust.

Washing your car after driving it in the fresh snow can be done by simply spraying it down with water and then scrubbing it with some car soap. If you do not have a pressure washer, a garden hose will do as well.

Just make sure that you are washing the undercarriage as well. This is a very overlooked area of a car but the salt and snow really do the most damage there.

The key here is to remove the snow and salt buildup that will corrode the metal parts and damage the paint if left overnight.

4. Clean the snow and ice off the wheels

To protect your vehicle from harsh winter conditions (snow and salt), it’s important to clean the snow, salt, and ice off the wheels each day. This may seem like a tedious task, but it can help to prevent corrosion and rust.

Anyone who has driven on snow has seen the ”little iceberg” behind the wheels. When a tire rolls, it displaces the snow in front of it.

However, the snow behind the tire is not displaced as easily. As a result, it builds up around the tire, creating a sort of Snowplow effect. If left overnight, the snow behind the wheels freezes and you have an iceberg behind the wheel in the morning.

By cleaning the snow and ice behind the wheels, you are not only protecting your car from rust and corrosion, but you are also protecting your tires.

Tires are designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear. However, the snow and ice buildup behind the wheels can cause premature wear because they are in contact with the tire at all times. Over time, they can slowly but surely grind away the threads.

5. Don’t drive after a snowstorm

One way to protect your vehicle from salt and snow is to avoid driving after a snowstorm because there will be salt on the road which can cause rust and other damage to your car.

Of course, you can’t always avoid driving in the snow, but if you can, it’s best to wait until the roads have been cleared.

In many parts of the world, including most of North America, when snow falls roads are treated with salt in order to prevent ice from forming.

The science behind this is relatively simple: when salt is added to water, it lowers the freezing point, which means that the water will not turn into ice until it reaches a temperature below the normal freezing point. In other words, by sprinkling salt on the roadways, we can prevent dangerous ice buildup.

While salt is effective in dealing with ice and snow, it is very bad for vehicles. Salt is one of the most damaging agents to metal and can significantly shorten its lifespan.

6. Avoid parking your car on a street

6 Ways To Protect Your Car From Snow And Salt

In the winter, snow and salt can take a toll on your vehicle. Roads are often treated with salt to help melt ice and snow, but the salt can also damage your car’s paint job and cause rusting. To help protect your car, it’s best to avoid parking on a street if possible.

Instead, park in a driveway or garage. If you must park on the street, try to find a spot that’s not directly next to a snowplow route. The plows can send sand and salt flying, which can land on your car and cause damage says Scott Clark’s Toyota.

7. Park your vehicle in a garage

Parking your vehicle in a garage is one way to protect it from snow and salt. By keeping your car out of the elements, you can avoid rust and corrosion. In addition, your paint will last longer if it isn’t exposed to harsh winter weather.

If you don’t have a garage, try to park your car under a carport or in a covered parking lot. You may also want to invest in a car cover to further protect your vehicle. Taking these steps will help to keep your car looking its best for years to come.

How Long Does It Take For Salt To Ruin a Car?

Cars that are exposed to road salt without being washed and waxed can get corroded as fast as four years. However, if you wax your vehicle, especially the undercarriage, wash it after each snow, and overall take good car of it, it might take up to fifteen years for the metal to start to corrode.

Salt is essential for keeping roads clear during winter weather, but it can also be damaging to cars. The chloride in salt can corrode metal, causing rust and other damage. In addition, salt can damage the paint and other finishes.

Over time, this damage can add up, leading to costly repairs. So how long does it take for salt to ruin a car? It depends on a number of factors, including the type of salt used, the frequency of exposure, and the level of protection.

For example, cars that are driven in winter weather on a regular basis are more likely to be damaged by salt than those that are only driven occasionally. In addition, cars that are properly washed and waxed are better protected against salt damage than those that are not.

As a result, there is no simple answer to this question. However, by taking steps to protect your car from salt, you can help to extend its lifespan.

How Often Should I Wash My Car During The Winter?

As a general rule, you should aim to wash your car every two weeks during the winter months.

Winter conditions can be harsh on your vehicle, especially due to the salt and grime that tends to accumulate on roads and highways.

These elements cling to your car’s exterior and, if left unchecked, can cause significant damage over time. As a mechanic, I’ve seen the corrosive effects of winter road conditions firsthand.

By washing your car every two weeks, you’re helping to remove these harmful substances before they have a chance to eat away at your car’s paint and undercarriage.

It’s not just about keeping your car looking good – regular winter washes are an investment in the longevity of your vehicle.

Of course, this is a general recommendation. Depending on where you live and how frequently you drive, you may find that you need to wash your car more or less often. In particularly snowy or icy regions, for example, weekly washes might be necessary.

On the other hand, if you’re in a milder climate or if your car stays parked most of the time, you might get away with monthly washes. Use your best judgment and keep an eye on your car’s condition.


Q: Can I use regular car soap to wash off salt?

A: While regular car soap can help remove dirt and grime, it may not be effective in removing salt. It is best to use a specialized car wash soap that is designed to break down and remove salt from your car’s surface.

Q: Is it necessary to wax my car during winter?

A: Waxing your car during the winter months is highly recommended. Wax acts as a protective barrier, preventing salt and other contaminants from directly coming into contact with your car’s paint. It also provides an additional layer of protection against the harsh winter elements.

Q: How can I protect the undercarriage of my car from salt?

A: To protect the undercarriage of your car from salt, you can apply an undercoating or rust inhibitor. This will help prevent salt from corroding the metal components underneath your car. Additionally, regularly washing the undercarriage will also help remove any salt buildup.

Q: Are there any specific areas of the car that are more susceptible to salt damage?

A: Yes, the undercarriage, wheel wells, and lower sections of the body panels are more susceptible to salt damage. These areas often come into direct contact with salt and snow, which can cause corrosion over time. It is important to pay extra attention to these areas when protecting your car from salt.

Q: Can I use a pressure washer to remove salt from my car?

A: While a pressure washer can be effective in removing salt, it is important to use it with caution. High-pressure water can potentially damage your car’s paint if not used properly. It is best to use a gentle spray nozzle and keep a safe distance from the car while washing to prevent any accidental damage.

Q: Should I park my car in a garage during the winter?

A: Parking your car in a garage during the winter can provide an extra layer of protection against snow and salt. It helps shield your car from the elements, reducing the chances of salt buildup and potential damage. If a garage is not available, consider using a car cover to protect your car when it is parked outdoors.

Q: Is there any DIY solution to protect my car from salt?

A: Yes, you can create a DIY salt solution by mixing one gallon of warm water with one cup of white vinegar. Use a sponge or cloth to apply this mixture to your car’s exterior, paying extra attention to the areas exposed to salt. This solution helps neutralize the salt and prevent corrosion. Rinse thoroughly with water afterward.

Q: Can I use salt as a de-icer for my car?

A: It is not recommended to use salt as a de-icer for your car. Salt can be corrosive and can damage your car’s paint and metal components. It is better to use a de-icing spray or products specifically designed for cars to remove ice from your windshield and other surfaces.

Conclusion and final thoughts

In conclusion, protecting your car from snow and salt is crucial for maintaining its appearance and performance during the winter season.

By following the tips mentioned in this blog post, you can ensure that your car stays safe and functional despite harsh weather conditions.

Remember to regularly wash and wax your car, apply rust-proofing products, use floor mats and plastic covers, and avoid driving on salt-covered roads whenever possible.



Vide Polowenski, Senior Mechanic

The information in this article is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest mechanic SOPs.

Please take the time to leave a comment if this article has helped you in any way, you need additional help, or you have a suggestion.

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