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Should I Wash My Toyota in the Winter?

Posted at Fri, Feb 1, 2019 2:30 PM

It’s an age-old question for all Long Island drivers confronted with cold weather driving year after year: Is it a good idea to wash your car in the winter? There are plenty of arguments for both sides, but what should you believe? In order to help you out, we here at Westbury Toyota have done a bit of research into the topic. We’ve got all the information you need on the pros and cons of washing your car during frigid days and what’s more, some advice on how to properly get the job done.

Is It Safe to Do?

The fact of the matter is yes, it’s not only safe to wash your car in the winter, it’s advised. Due to the amount of slush and road salt that can accumulate on your Toyota during winter months, it’s actually important to wash your car more frequently in the winter than it is in the summer. However, dousing your car with water in subzero temperatures doesn’t come without a few risks – some things might freeze over, causing issues. In order to wash your car without any problems in cold weather, follow the helpful tips we’ve accumulated here.

Choose a Decent Day to Wash

It should go without saying, but don’t wash your car on the coldest day of the year. The same goes for a blizzard! Try to pick a day that’s relatively mild so you’re not freezing while you’re out there at work. Don’t wash your car in temperatures below -9.4 degrees Fahrenheit, as any water on the car will freeze fast enough that you won’t be able to dry it off. If you can’t dry off certain parts of the car, such as weather stripping or hinges, they’ll likely become stuck, which in turn can lead to them being damaged when you try to use them.

For this very reason, many automated and self-serve car washes won’t even open on days when the temperature dips this low.

Follow the Wash Order

Washing your car in the winter requires that you follow an order to make it as simple as possible. Here’s a detailed, step by step process:

  • Start with the exterior - Hosing down the exterior first means that it’ll have time to dry before you’re ready to leave the wash bay.
  • Pay special attention to the wheels - As the staff of AMA Insider points out, snow and other types of road slush tend to accumulate inside the wheel rims and wells. For that reason, you want to make very sure that you take the time to get it all. Anything left behind has the potential to freeze solid and damage your car’s frame or the rubber on your tires.
  • Dry all the difficult to reach areas - Before you head back out into the cold, be sure to dry all the hard to reach spots. Leave your doors, the hood, and the fuel door open and let them drip dry (if you’re in a hurry, dry off the weather stripping with a cloth if you have it).
  • Clean the interior - If time allows, clean the interior. You can vacuum up any road salt that’s been tracked inside and as a bonus, doing the interior gives the exterior more time to dry.

Tips for Washing at Home

If you’re one of the truly brave souls and want to try washing your car at home in the winter, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Try to do the job indoors (preferably in a heated garage, but even an unheated one will suffice). Be sure to use warm to hot water in your wash buckets, both to prevent freezing and to protect your hands from getting too cold. Shampoo, wax, and polish are affected by lower temperatures, says the writers of Car Cleaning Guru, so you may want to put them aside until it gets warmer and just give your car a very basic wash.

Combating the Mess of Winter Roads

It’s important to keep your car free from all the messy stuff that comes with winter roads, so try to wash your Toyota at least once every two to three weeks in the winter. This will prevent any damage to the exterior from road salt or to the tires and rims from ice buildup. If you do it properly, it’s a quick and

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