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Slush and Sludge: Tips for Keeping Your Car Clean in the Wintertime

Keeping your car clean while driving through slush, dodging chunks of mud, and peering through walls of driving snow isn’t easy, but it’s important to do. If you live in an area where they salt the roads, it’s salt vs. your rustproofing, and giving it a break frequently is going to help avoid rust on your car. Below are some ways you can keep your car clean, both before and after the snows come.

Wax your car well

The best prevention before the slush splashes is a top-notch wax job, preferably with a paste wax. This not only gives your car’s finish one more layer of protection, it makes it much easier for the winter goop to fall off harmlessly. Don’t forget to wax the windows, too. It helps, and your wiper blades will last longer, too. Use wax heavily where it rarely lands—inside the doors, hood and trunk, where the rubber seals will land when they’re closed. This helps prevent them from freezing shut, later—ice can’t get a grip on wax.

Put a protective coating in your wheel wells

You have to be careful to keep it off of your tires and plastic trim, but your wheel wells getting sprayed with white lithium grease before the snow flies will not only protect them from rust, it’ll help keep slush from forming around your wheels. Slush just falls off of it. While you’re at it, give the door, trunk, and hood hinges a taste. You might consult with an auto dealer like Markosian Auto if you’re interested in getting your car professionally rust-proofed.

Get the better tool

Throw away last season’s snow brush, and replace it with one that extends—the ones that big-truck owners need to reach everything. It doesn’t matter if you drive a Cooper Mini, that extra length will let you use both hands on the brush, and clearing the snow off will be much easier.

Take the time to brush well

When it snows, brush all of the snow off before you drive. Your car can be warming up (and melting the ice on the windshield) while you’re doing this. This prevents grime buildup in the corners.

Regular washes when conditions are right

You’ll want car washes regularly during the season, whether it’s a quarter-operated DIY car wash or a ride-through. If you go DIY, pay special attention to the wheel wells. Don’t make the common mistake of going on a warmer day, and then driving home through all of the splashing on the road, go on a clear, cold sunny day. The bright sun will help evaporate the water stuck in corners, even in freezing temperatures. Don’t forget the wax option, whichever car wash you use.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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