Should I Wash My Car in Winter?

Washing your car can be a tedious task at the best of times, let alone when the winter weather is setting in and you’ve got to get the cold water out.

With the roads being wetter and salt being spread, our cars are always attracting more dirt during the colder months. But, there is confusion around washing your car during the winter months, should you do it all the time to remove the corrosive road salt? Or, is it better to prepare your car before winter sets in, as a way to care for your paintwork in winter, and limit the amount of cleaning?

This blog can help to answer your questions.

Preparing your car for winter

Before winter creeps in, you should prepare your car for the conditions ahead. Here are three simple steps to help get your car ready for the weather ahead:

  1. Wash – You should thoroughly wash your car before the cold weather sets in. When washing, ensure that you wash your car, wheels and tyres properly to remove any stuck-on dirt. This will help the next steps to be the most effective.
  2. Dry – It is important to ensure your car is completely dried. This will help to avoid any watermarks on your car, which can happen when leaving your car to dry naturally.
  3. Wax – Applying a good wax before winter will go a long way to preserving your car’s paintwork, protecting it from the road salt and other winter elements. When applying your wax, it is important to concentrate on the lower areas of your car (where the ice, snow and salt are most likely to hit).

Washing your car during winter

So, the big one…it is okay to wash your car during the winter, provided you keep some things in mind:


You should not wash your car if it is below 4°C outside. Lower temperatures can cause the water to freeze as it sits on your car and, could be dangerous to you. Water on the floor around your car can become icy and dangerous. If you are not planning on drying your car manually, ensure that your car has enough time to dry naturally before temperatures drop again.

Time of day

It is usually warmest around midday, this may be the best time to wash your car, as you have more daylight and slightly warmer temperatures.


You may choose to use warm water when washing your car during the winter. This could be more comfortable for you to use. But, be careful not to have your water too hot. Hot water poured onto cold windows can cause cracks or smashing, due to the drastic change in temperature.


You should try not to wash your car more than once every two weeks. Although, if your car does not need cleaning after two weeks, leave it until it is necessary.

Or, if you have a garage, you can always wash your car in there using a waterless washing product. This will help limit the mess and control the temperature.

So, you can (and should) wash your car during the winter. The road salt can have a negative impact on your paintwork, if left unremoved. But you should prepare your car before to help limit the damage winter conditions can have on your car and the frequency at which it will need washing. Also, remember to only wash your car in the right conditions.

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