Should I Wash My Car in Winter?
With the arrival of winter’s frosty mornings, rainy days and dark nights, keeping your car squeaky clean can seem like a pretty tall order.
While cleaning the car is enjoyable on a sunny summer’s afternoon, the last thing any of us want to do when it’s dark, cold and rainy is head outside with brush and bucket to give our wheels a good scrub down.
However, neglect to keep your car clean in the winter and you’ll leave it exposed to all sorts of nasties which, over time, could cause corrosion to the paintwork and undercarriage.
And that’s not the only reason you should clean your car during the colder months. Here, we list some of the reasons why it’s important to wash your car in the winter.
Moisture Means Salt, and Salt Means Rust
If you’re unable to park your car in a dry garage overnight, you’ll be leaving it exposed to the winter elements 24/7, so it’s good to wash it as regularly as you would during warmer months — even if that means taking it to a professional car wash.
With rain, fog, slush, dirt, grease, salt and wet leaves to contend with at this time of year, harmful deposits can quickly build up. This, in turn, causes the onset of rust, which will eat away at your car’s exposed metalwork if left unchecked.
Salt, dirt and moisture deposits are most harmful on your car’s undercarriage, where metal components are less protected. If rust takes hold here you could face all sorts of mechanical issues down the road, and see the resale value of your car plummet when it comes time to trade it in or sell it on.
By washing your car at least every fortnight throughout winter, you can reduce the amount of grease and grime left to sit on exposed metal, stopping rust in its tracks. Even if it’s just a quick blast with a hose or pressure washer, this will dislodge deposits and help to keep the undercarriage in a good condition for longer. Make sure you reach underneath and clean the sills to get rid of all the dirt.
Before winter completely takes hold, we’d also recommend giving your car another coat of protective wax. A high-quality wax like Simoniz Original Wax will protect the paintwork from salt, moisture and road dirt, making it easier to retain your car’s shine through the winter. It lasts between washes as well so you can blast your car with a hose without ruining the protection.
The Safety Factor
It isn’t just for cosmetic and upkeep purposes that you need to keep your car clean in the winter; there’s a safety element to consider, too.
For instance, if your car’s windscreen is dirty and covered in tree sap or fallen leaves, this will result in impaired visibility — particularly when you’re driving in low winter sun. Sun dazzle is more common in winter than it is in summer, because the sun is low during peak driving hours. That’s why it’s so important to keep your windscreen clean and free from smears (we’d also recommend carrying a pair of sunglasses, just in case).
We know you don’t want to be out there with a bucket and sponge scrubbing bugs and dirt off your windows in the cold, but fortunately Mixra Glass Cleaner makes it easy. Just spray the foam on to your windscreen and use the wipers to clear it – no cold sponges necessary.
Even if you can’t be bothered to give your complete car a clean on that chilly Saturday morning, you should make sure glass surfaces are streak-free and that there’s plenty of screenwash in the reservoir.
Another safety aspect to consider is the cleanliness of your headlights and taillights. As the nights draw in, many of us will find ourselves driving in the dark, so it’s important the lights on your car are visible and not impaired by excess dirt and grime. You can also use Mixra Glass Cleaner on headlights, to keep all your car’s glass clean with no effort.
And it goes without saying that if you park your car near trees, make sure you clear the windscreen, roof and rear window of dead leaves before driving. Not only can leaves impair your vision, they could also cause a distraction for other drivers. The same goes for snow and ice, too, though with the relatively mild winters we’re experiencing in the UK, this shouldn’t be a regular issue.
The Importance of Keeping the Cabin Clean
Keeping your car’s cabin clean in the winter is much more difficult than during warmer months, but there are a few things you can do to stop soggy boots and coats ruining the seats, carpets and upholstery.
Let’s start with the carpets. Have you ever noticed any white marks on your carpeted floor mats? That’s salt, and it can be a bigger problem than you may realise. Over time, this salt and moisture will seep through to the undercarriage, potentially causing rust. To prevent this, consider swapping your carpet mats for rubber alternatives, and doing your best to shake excess water off your shoes before climbing behind the wheel.
If you do notice any white salt marks, or general muck, on your carpet, you can use a product like Simoniz Upholstery & Carpet Cleaner to quickly lift the stain. This can also be used on seats, or any other bits of upholstery on your car’s interior.
We’d also recommend covering your seats with a waterproof seat cover if you spend a lot of time outside during the winter. Fabric seats, in particular, will absorb water from wet coats and jackets, which could lead to unpleasant odours or staining.
At Simoniz, we’ve been taking care of cars for decades – come rain or sun – to clean, protect and shine all year round. For more information, visit the Simoniz website.