Is It Ever Too Cold To Wash Your Car?
Living in Central Wisconsin, our vehicles are often covered in road salt and sand. Not only does this cause our vehicles to look terrible but can cause frustration if that dirt transfers to our clothing because we were loading our groceries and brushed up against that white, salty monster. But more critical is the damage the road salt can do to our vehicles. Road salt is one of the biggest reasons we see so much rust damage to Wisconsin vehicles. So, it is important to keep your car clean even during the winter months.
According to a Forbes report, the Wausau area averages 170 days per year that are below freezing. With that being said, how is it possible to wash your car in the winter months when it’s clear that the water left on your vehicle will turn it into a popsicle?
What sub-freezing car washing really comes down to is what kind of car wash facility you are using. Obviously, hand washing your car outside in freezing temperatures is not optimal, so what about professional car washes? Are car washes safe to use when the temperature is below freezing?
Some of the dangers of washing your vehicle when it’s below freezing are frozen doors, frozen locks, frozen windows, etc. To avoid these issues, the key is to use a car wash facility that hand towel dries your car (including door jambs) and utilizes low pressure washing methods. Towel drying is important because it removes the water from your vehicle’s exterior as well as your door jambs. Doing so helps to reduce the chance of frozen doors or locks. High pressure car washes are not recommended due to the fact that they can force water into door locks and other components.
What about self-service car washes? They typically are high pressure car washes and can tend to drive more of that water into the door handles, door locks and window runs. If you choose to use a self-service wash when it is below zero, it is recommended that you drive your vehicle for about ½ hour before and after your wash to warm up your vehicle to prevent the freezing, and then park it in a garage. If you prefer these types of washes, it is recommended that you wait until a sunny day where the temperature is in the 30’s.
When we wash a vehicle at On-Q Collision during these cold months, we blow all excess water out of the door locks, the door handles and the window runs. We also hand dry the entire vehicle including door jams and seals.
If we can be of any help on this topic, feel free to call us at (715) 446-1300.