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.

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