What To Know About Car Wash In Cold Weather

People ask: Can I wash my vehicle in winter?

The answer: Yes, you can. In fact, your car needs frequent washing even during the winter season. This is because, during that season, roads are sprayed with either Magnesium chloride or a salt mixture. These substances can cause corrosion in your vehicle.

The parts that are particularly susceptible are the car’s fuel lines and the brake. These parts are closely located to the vehicle’s undercarriage, the part that gets damaged first by road salt corrosion.

I have been an auto mechanic for over 10 years now. I have witnessed many drivers fail to wash their cars regularly in the winter. Due to this negligence, it is either that the car’s finish was damaged or the underside is covered with rust. For some, that took a heavy toll on their finances to cover repairs.

Let me reiterate, it is necessary that you regularly wash your car in whatever season. If it is too cold outside, there are remedies you can employ so the car still gets washed.

In this post, we’re going to cover some of the usual questions people ask about the winter car wash. We will also share some helpful tips.

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Are You Supposed to Wash Your Car When It’s Cold Outside?

Dirty Car In Winter

As temperatures hover around the freezing point, motorists are understandably cautious to wash their vehicles in winter. The locks may freeze and the doors may freeze shut. Yet, it is still imperative that you keep the exterior of your car clean during the cold season.

There are benefits of using an auto car wash in winter. For example, water droplets are difficult to dry in winter, but the car wash service has a hot air drying system, so your vehicle can easily be dried up.

How Cold Is Too Cold to Wash Your Car?

The freezing point of water is 32 degrees Fahrenheit, so if possible, wait for the temperature to rise to at least 30 degrees before you head off to the nearest automatic car wash. Waxes and polishes should not be applied at temperatures under 40 degrees.

Safe Temperature for Car Wash:

Ideally, the temperature outside should be in the range of 50 to 80 degrees, but it is still safe to clean your car within the range of 49 – 82. Wait for temperatures to rise if they go below 30 degrees.

The best temperature to wash your car is one that allows it to completely dry, but be careful when washing when the temperature is above 80 degrees. The temperature should just be enough to quickly dry including the interior spaces of the vehicle. Remember that the underneath surfaces need to be fully dried up.

Is It Bad To Wash Your Car in the Cold?

As long as the temperature remains above 30 degrees, it is safe to wash your car. Just to be on the safe side, it is better to do nothing on the car when it is below freezing temperature. Watch out for the sides of the car because those are not directly exposed to sunlight.


Car Wash In Cold Weather

Check these tips out if they apply to your situation:

  • When temperatures are cooler, try running your vehicle for 30 minutes before washing it. This will warm up your vehicle and prevent freezing.
  • Use hot water. For this, you need a water heater installed in your home. Also, avoid using too much water as water easily freezes under cold temperatures.  Use clean cloth to wipe grime and salt off the exteriors of the vehicle.
  • Choose a sunnier or a warmer part of the day to wash your car, usually occurring in the afternoon.

Final Thoughts

For people who are asking if it is safe to wash their car in cold weather, the answer is YES, IT IS SAFE to do so. If unsure, they can always go to a car wash facility to get their car washed and then dried. The staff will put your car through, and dry it using a soft cloth.

If you are doing a DIY car wash during winter, try to reduce water consumption and use a clean cloth to dry. Wash in the middle of the day when temperatures are higher or use warm water for cleaning.

Whether it is summer or winter, you should wash your car regularly. Neglecting to do so will make your vehicle susceptible to corrosion. When washing your car, make sure that the temperature is not below 30 degrees.

If washed when the temperature is below freezing point, the car might get damaged during washing. The paint might peel off when the wipe cloth sticks on the paint or the doors get stuck with water turning into ice on the edges.

To prevent damage, you can either wait for the temperatures to rise again or use warm water for washing in cold temperatures.


What Temperature Is Too Hot to Wash Your Car?

When Is It Too Cold to Wash Your Car?

Is 30 Degrees Too Cold to Wash Your Car?

Is It Safe to Wash Your Car in Cold Weather?

Can I Wash My Car If It Is Below Freezing?

Should I Wash My Car in Cold Weather?

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3 thoughts on “What To Know About Car Wash In Cold Weather”

  1. thank you for your article. I like reading article include car. In particular, the hinges, handles, and locks will be iced shut. Trust me, nothing is worse than door jambs. Even though you may be tempted to just quickly hose down your car, it is best to wait until the temperature rises.

    • Hi Jessica,
      That’s it! It is best to wait until the temperature rises, even though you may be tempted to just quickly hose down your car.

    • Car care and maintenance is a whole endeavor on its own. Aside from knowing what to use and how to wash your car, you will also have to know when to wash your car.


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