TTAC Tech Tips: Winter Car Care Continuation

Cary Hubbard
by Cary Hubbard
ttac tech tips winter car care continuation

This week we’re continuing our discussion on winter car care.

Our reader Aaron sent me this email:

Dear Cary,

   As winter picks up, I was wondering if you had any tips for salt on my car. I live in the Midwest which means that during every snowstorm, our car is plagued with salt. Do you have any tips?

Yes, I do, Aaron! Thank you for that great question as I'm sure many of us are concerned about the coming months.

I live in the American Southwest and when it comes to salt and icy weather, we don’t have much to worry about. If, however, we do experience ice and road salt, we simply rinse it off and move on.

That said, I reached out to some trusted automotive associates from up north, and I picked their brains about what they would recommend.

The best thing overall would be an application of a lanolin coating to the underbody, wheel wells, seams, and inside body panels. If you are not in a position to take on such a challenge yourself, check out some local shops that may be able to apply it for you. Never use any sort of rubberized undercoating, and don’t let anybody talk you into using it. Rubberized coatings will trap salt and moisture causing accelerated corrosion from the inside.

Regular car washes at least once a week help but focus on a touchless car wash that thoroughly cleans the undercarriage. After every car wash, wiping and drying the inside of the doors and door jams are also important to remove moisture.

Besides looking after the underside, your car’s paint is something that can have some protection. With ceramic coating and regular wax applications, the removal of any salt buildup becomes much easier.

One note to add involves the storage of vehicles. Parking your salty car in a heated garage can be detrimental, as it will bake the salt into the vehicle causing accelerated corrosion.

I sure hope that helps answer your question, Aaron.

If you're a reader, please give your additional input down in the comments on any other tips that you can think of.


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3 of 11 comments
  • GTG GTG on Oct 14, 2022

    Modern underbody paneling to smooth airflow seems to be a mixed bag. How much does it shield the underbody from salt versus how much does it prevent upward spraying underbody car washes from washing off whatever salt gets past the paneling?

    Where I live it can be below 0c for weeks on end. Pretty much rules out spraying water on a vehicle mid winter.

  • Arthur Dailey Arthur Dailey on Oct 17, 2022

    Krown annually, 'Weathertech' style floor mats, winter wiper blades, windshield washer/de-icer fluid, wipe down the door sills/jams/interior panels regularly (even when you haven't washed the car), vacuum when the weather permits, winter tires on 'steelies'. Preferably a block heater. A coat of wax before the winter starts. That has been my routine/prep for many years.

    • Jeff S Jeff S on Oct 17, 2022

      Agree that is what I have done for years. Weathertech products will literally last as long as the vehicle or longer.

  • Jwee More range and faster charging cannot be good news for the heavily indebted and distracted Musk.Tesla China is discounting their cars. Apart from the Model 3, no one is much buying Tesla's here in Europe. Other groups have already passed Tesla in Europe, where it was once dominant.Among manufacturers, 2021 EV sales:VW Group 25%, Stellantis at 14.5%,Tesla at 13.9%Hyundai-Kia at 11.2% Renault Group at 10.3%. Just 2 years ago, Tesla had a commanding 31.1% share of the European EV marketOuch., changed their data, so this is slightly different than last time I posted this, but same idea.
  • Varezhka Given how long the Mitsubishi USA has been in red, that's a hard one. I mean, this company has been losing money in all regions *except* SE Asia and Oceania ever since they lost the commercial division to Daimler.I think the only reason we still have the brand is A) Mitsubishi conglomerate's pride won't allow it B) US still a source of large volume for the company, even if they lose money on each one and C) it cost too much money to pull out and no one wants to take responsibility. If I was the head of Mitsubishi's North American operation and retreat was not an option, I think my best bet would be to reduce overhead by replacing all the cars with rebadged Nissans built in Tennessee and Mexico.As much as I'd like to see the return of Triton, Pajero Sport (Montero Sport to you and me), and Delica I'm sure that's more nostalgia and grass is greener thing than anything else.
  • Varezhka If there's one (small) downside to the dealer not being allowed to sell above MSRP, it's that now we get a lot of people signing up for the car with zero intention of keeping the car they bought. We end up with a lot of "lightly used" examples on sale for a huge mark-up, including those self-purchased by the dealerships themselves. I'm sure this is what we'll end up seeing with GR Corolla in Japan as well.This is also why the Land Cruiser has a 4 year waitlist in Japan (36K USD starting MSRP -> buy and immediately flip for 10, 20K more -> profit) I'm not sure if there's a good solution for this apart from setting the MSRP higher to match what the market allows, though this lottery system is probably as close as we can get.
  • Jeff S @Lou_BC--Unrelated to this article but of interest I found this on You Tube which explains why certain vehicles are not available in the US because of how the CAFE measures fuel standards. I remember you commenting on this a few years ago on another article on TTAC. The 2023 Chevrolet Montana is an adorable small truck that's never coming to the USA. It's not because of the 1.2L engine, or that Americans aren't interested in small trucks, it's that fuel economy legislation effectively prevents small trucks from happening. What about the Maverick? It's not as small as you think. CAFE, or Corporate Average Fuel Economy is the real reason trucks in America are all at least a specific dimension. Here's how it works and why it means no tiny trucks for us.
  • Gabe A new retro-styled Montero as their halo vehicle to compete against the Bronco, Wrangler and 4Runner. Boxy, round headlights like the 1st generation, two door and four door models, body on frame.A compact, urban truck, Mighty Max, to compete against the Maverick. Retro-styled like the early 90s Mighty Max.A new Outlander Sport as more of a wagon/crossover to compete against the Crosstrek and Kona. Needs to have more power (190+ HP) and a legit transmission, no CVT.A new Eclipse hybrid to compete against the upcoming redesigned Prius. Just match the Prius's specs and make it look great.Drop the Eclipse Cross, I am not sure why they wanted to resurrect the Pontiac Aztec. Keep the Mirage and keep it cheap, make the styling better and up the wheel size. The Outlander seems fine.I like the idea of some sort of commercial vehicle, something similar in size to the Promaster City but with AWD.