How Often Should I Wash My Car in the Winter?

Written by

Bruce Sonnier


Marcus Dutton

how often should i wash my car in the winter

The winter is a very festive season loved by most. But one thing car owners may not love about it is its risks on cars due to the salt, snow, and ice on the road. But they can all be prevented with more frequent car washing.

“How often should I wash my car in the winter?” — car owners may wonder. Generally, it should be as often as one to two weeks. But some factors may also affect your car washing schedule.


Why It’s Important to Wash Your Car More Often During Winter


Winter is the season wherein car owners should be more cautious about their cars. You may have to endure the cold and put in extra effort to wash your vehicle, but it can work wonders on your car’s condition and your safety in driving.

1. Prevents the Risk of Rusting Posed by Salt

One very big problem for car owners during winter is salt corrosion. It is a side effect on cars from the use of salt on the road to melt away accumulated snow and ice that make the road slippery.

Although the use of salt on roads is advantageous for road safety, it can also bring disadvantages to a car’s condition. When salt splatters on your car and moisture mixes with the salt, it would result in a chemical reaction called oxidation, which can cause salt corrosion, eventually resulting in the rusting of a car.

It will not only ruin your car’s bodywork, but it will also lead to various mechanical issues. Washing car in winter more frequently would prevent such problems.

2. Cars Get Most Dirty During Winter

Cars are prone to getting dirtier during winter with all the salt, snow, ice, and dirt everywhere. And it can be embarrassing to be driving a very dirty car. More frequent washing can make your car look presentable enough during winter. Therefore, I would like to introduce my article about the most effective way to clean snow your car, click here to read now. Furthermore, you can read more other relevant tips & tricks, such as how cold is too cold to wash your car and how to dry a car after washing

3. Prevents Expensive Repairs

When a car is neglected during winter, it would have to undergo rust-related repairs. In worst cases, badly rusted parts would have to be replaced. Or you may even be forced to just buy a new car.

It would be much wiser to wash your car more often. That way, you wouldn’t have to deal with costly repairs or buy a new car.

4. Lengthens Car Lifespan

The rusting of a car due to neglect during winter could shorten its lifespan dramatically. But if it’s well-taken care of, it would have a longer lifespan.

5. Safety

It’s important to always keep the windshield and windows free of snow, smears, and dirt, as this would cause poor visibility of the road. This is critical, especially when the sun glares reflect from the white snow and smears, which would impair your vision and put you in danger as you drive.

How Often Should I Wash My Car in the Winter


The general rule for car washing in winter is to regularly do it every two weeks. But other factors can also affect how often you should do it, like:

1. Roads are Covered with Salt

You can tell a road is covered with salt when it appears white. If that is the case, you should wash your car every one to two weeks.

2. Area Doesn’t Use Salt and Experiences Only Mild Winters

If the conditions in your area aren’t as harsh, car washing can wait a bit longer and can be less frequent.

3. Freezing Temperatures With Wet Weather

More salt would be used amidst freezing temperatures. And there would be more spray during wet weather. For such conditions, it’s advisable to do more frequent washing.

4. How Often You Drive

If you don’t drive so often and have your car protected from the elements in your garage, then you may wash it only after driving a few times. But if you drive daily or almost every day, you would have to wash your car more often.

When is the Best Time to Wash Your Car During Winter

The best time to wash car depends on the temperature. You wouldn’t want your car to freeze shut and get ice damage on its paint nor feel uncomfortably cold.

The right temperature for washing your car would be 40°F or higher. Also, you have to wash your car during the day. That would give your car ample time for drying before the temperature would drop to below freezing and freeze your door shut.

What Type of Car Wash is Best During Winter

If you don’t feel like washing your car yourself, the best option for a car wash in winter is a hand car wash.

With the manual effort in cleaning your car, you are ensured that your car is thoroughly cleaned without any spots of salt left behind, most especially on the underside, which gets most exposed to salt. And the attendant would also help dry the excess water left on your car to prevent parts of your car from freezing, especially the doors that may freeze shut.

Automatic car washes can’t give you those aforementioned advantages. And even worse, with the risk of water lines getting frozen in automatic car washes, a water pipe might burst and cause serious damages to your car.

A self-serve car wash would also be another good option, as it can provide a pressure washer for quickly and effectively removing salt if you don’t have a pressure washer at home.

Tips on Cleaning Your Car During Winter If You Prefer to Do It Yourself

Apart from how often and when you should clean your car, there are other pieces of information that you need to know regarding cleaning your car during winter:

  • If not at a car wash, washing your car would be best done in the garage.
  • Before you do any sponging or wiping on your car, you must rinse it with a pressure washer to remove most of the salt and grit that may cause scratches when you start sponging or wiping.
  • When washing your car with a pressure washer, you should start washing from the top of your car, going down.
  • Give the underside and wheel wells special attention when washing, as these places are where salt and grime often accumulate.
  • Don’t forget to wash hard-to-reach areas such as the wheel arches, bonnet and boot, and door jambs and spaces under the bumpers.
  • Dry your car thoroughly to prevent freezing due to excess water.
  • As a final touch, reinforce your car with an application of wax. This would keep harmful dirt away from your paint, provide protection from the elements, and make future cleanings easier.


We’ve answered the question, “How often should I wash my car in the winter?” Car owners should keep in mind the general rule to wash their car every one to two weeks and the different factors that can affect the frequency of their car washing schedule.

They can have their car washed either by themselves in their garage or at a self-serve car wash or leave the work to a professional at a hand car wash.

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