When Is It Too Cold to Wash Your Car?




Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Washing your car should be an important part of your maintenance checklist. Not only will it make your vehicle look cleaner and better, but it will also protect the value of your car. More importantly, it helps maintain the appearance of your automobile. See, dirt, dead bugs, pollen, dust, tree sap, and other air pollutants can cause damage to your car’s finish and paint. For example, dirt can retain moisture, which then leads to your car parts rusting. 

However, when the temperature starts to drop, washing your car becomes a challenge. If you are planning to hand wash your car, you may end up feeling uncomfortable and even in pain. Not to mention that you are putting your vehicle at risk by trying to wash it during winter.

But what exactly are the dangers of washing your car in the colder months?

Moreover, when is it too cold to wash your car?

Dangers of Washing Your Car in Winter

Washing your car when the weather is too cold can result in several problems. See, the water outside your car may freeze before it even dries. This can lead to frozen windows, doors, and locks. Your vehicle’s weather stripping, hinges, and other parts can also get stuck. And once you try to use them while frozen, they can easily get damaged. So when the weather’s too cold, it is better to skip the car wash. 

When Is It Too Cold to Wash Your Car?

Water freezes at 0 degrees Celcius or 32 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you are planning to visit an automatic touchless or soft-touch carwash, it is better to wait for the temperature to rise to at least 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Since most people can’t do much in frigid weather, the same goes if you are planning to wash your car on your own. Overall, if the temperature is below freezing and if it is likely to stay that way for a while, then it is too cold to wash your car. 

Also, you should avoid using waxes or polishes if the temperature is below or near freezing. While they can help protect your vehicle from road salt, they can cause several problems if not applied properly. So make sure to get your car waxed before the cold weather arrives. If it is too late for that, do not worry. You can still get the job done by applying the wax indoors or when it is relatively warm – at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

5 Tips in Maintaining Your Car During Cold Weather

A carwash during cold weather is just as important as having it in the warmer months. This is especially true since the winter season can bring in a lot of grime, slush, and grit – which can accumulate and damage your car over time. So when the temperature permits, you should still consider cleaning your vehicle. To do that, here are some tips to remember:

1. Towel dry your car after washing

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When the temperature rises above freezing, and you do get the chance to wash your car or visit a carwash, make sure to dry your car with a towel right after washing. This will prevent any water outside your car from freezing. If you are unable to towel dry, you can drive continuously for about 30 minutes to remove any excess water before it can freeze. 

2. Warm your car before and after washing

In cooler temperatures, you still have to warm your car to prevent it from freezing. To do this, you have to run your car for about half an hour to a full hour before washing. You then have to run it again for another 30 minutes. 

3. Wash your car in the middle of the day

The middle of the day tends to be warmer and sunnier. Thus, making it the perfect time to wash your car. However, sometimes, the temperature can still be extremely cold even during this time. If this is the case, best to skip the carwash for now and wait for tomorrow.

4. Try using cloth instead of water

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If you have to clean your car during the cold weather, we suggest using a clean cloth. Instead of washing your car with water, you can use a cloth to wipe and clean any contaminants from your car’s exterior. 

5. Don’t force them open

If you do wash your car and you end up having frozen locks and windows, never try to open them. The same goes for your doors. So don’t pry them open. Doing so can result in bigger and pricier problems in the future, which your car insurance may or may not cover. Thus, the best thing you can do is to wait it out and allow your frozen windows or doors to dry on their own. 

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