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When the days get shorter and the temperature drops to minus freezing, the thought of washing your car seems a bit ridiculous, especially as you most likely spent 20 minutes this morning scraping inch thick ice off the windshield and tomorrow you know it’ll be pelted with rain and roadside splatter.

However, although washing your car or taking it to a car wash seems like a waste of time, it is actually even more vital to do so during winter, in order to protect it from the damage caused by salt, grit and wet, sludgy highway grime.

Here's our top tips to keep your car clean in winter.

Snow:
If we do manage to get more than a light splattering of snow, try to avoid driving through anything that is too deep. This will not only make controlling the vehicle difficult but will also fill up the undercarriage and expose the metal to salt. Likewise, driving through slush, puddles or through wet, heavily gritted roads will also quickly ruin your car. Road salt is extremely corrosive and over time will erode metal and allow rust to set in. Therefore it is always sensible to regularly visit a car wash or spray under your car with a pressure washer to remove the salt and grit, which becomes compacted after a few journeys.

Keep your distance:
Don’t drive too close behind cars, and more specifically, lorries and heavy vehicles. Not only is this sensible and safe but it also limits the amount of grit, salt, dirt and greases which can be sprayed up onto your car.

Interior:
Swap out your carpet mats for rubber ones. This will help to stop any outside muddy slush from ruining your carpets and also act as a barrier to help avoid any salt from attacking the bodywork.

Use the right products:
Did you know a filthy number plate could land you a fine of up to £1,000? That’s right, neglecting to clean your car during the winter months can end up costing you a fortune in fines and repairs which is why it is always sensible to clean and maintain the car little and often through-out the winter months.

To clean during the winter always pick a day where the temperature is moderate. A pressure washer is ideal for quick winter washes as it cleans all surfaces in seconds and enables you to blast the underneath to remove any stubborn chunks of dirt.

To finish use a polymer based car cleaner and wax like Pro 86 Quick Gloss Waterless Car Cleaner & Polish. This will not only leave your vehicle with a high gloss finish, but it will also leave a protective film on your car to repel water and resist common winter traffic soiling.

Carry out checks:
Not cleaning related but always worth re-iterating the importance of winter car checks. Regularly check all fluid levels and tyre pressures as these can be greatly affected by temperature. Screen wash is one to always pay extra attention to as low winter sun coupled with a dirty windshield can have a huge impact on your visibility so make sure you carry extra.

In terms of other essentials, it is always advisable to carry the right supplies with you in case you break down. Make up a small bag or box and fill it with a blanket, shovel, ice scraper, torch, long life snacks and bottled water and extra screen wash. I personally always also ensure I have jump leads, tow bar, wellington boots and a high visibility jacket to be on the extra safe side. After all, it’s always better to be over prepared than under prepared when driving in the winter.

Choose your parking spot wisely:
Lastly, always be strategic about where you park up both during the day and over night. If you can’t park anywhere sheltered then always park up alongside a house or thick foliage as this will protect your car from the elements and limit the amount of ice that forms on the windows.

Ultimately, alongside these tips for keeping your car well maintained during the winter, the best approach is to always be proactive and prepared. Cleaning your car in the winter will ensure your vehicle remains protected and clean throughout the worst of the winter months leaving you with less to do in the summer.