How often should you wash your car in the winter?

Washing your car in the winter can be frustrating.

If you wash it yourself, you might have a hard time feeling your fingers, and if you go through a car wash, your car seems to get dirty as soon as you exit the bay. However, washing is an important part of car care and can help ensure a vehicle’s longevity. Plus, it could save you from some pricey repairs down the road.

Car covered in road defrost chemicals

What is the point? It’s going to get dirty again

So, why wash your car if it’s just going to get dirty the second you drive away?

Cosmetic reasons are certainly a thing, but aesthetic satisfaction has nothing to do with the reasons McKinley recommends getting regular car washes. It’s about getting the salt and deicing chemical buildup off your car.

Liquid deicing solutions have grown more popular because they can be used to not only melt existing snow but also to pre-treat roads before the snow arrives.

What happens if you don’t wash salt and deicers off?

According to a study conducted by AAA in 2017, about 15% of U.S. drivers living in winter climate regions had to get at least one vehicle repair over five years due to rust damage caused by salt and other chemicals. Each repair costs an average of $490.

Deicing solutions can indeed cause cosmetic damage too, especially where scratches or chipped paint exposes bare metal.

Valet technician checking car underside for rust
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