Winter is a tough season. It is hard on us mentally and physically. But it is also hard on your car. While many people take care of their cars in the summer months when it is warm out, it can be harder to remember to do the same when it is cold.

Why Should I Care?

Winter car care is super important. Salting the roads is a big part of Michigan driving, however, that means it is getting into the nooks and crannies of your car. Slush covers the tires and panels. Ice chunks freeze when temperatures drop. All of these things can cause damage to your car if not properly addressed.

It is not uncommon to see many cars with rust in Michigan because of these elements and lack of proper care. Over time, the rust will eat away at your car and can cause the exhaust system, brake lines, gas lines, and more to rot out. Even worse, you risk danger to other drivers if chunks of your car start falling off in the middle of the road.

Simple Car Care

There are many simple things you can do to help your car last longer. One is by letting your car warm up 10 minutes or so before driving. Recently, Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation allowing Michigan Residents to do so without fear of being ticketed.

Wash your car. Since salt and sand kick up under your car, make sure you either go to a car wash that washes the underbody, or you wash it yourself. You can also take your car to an auto shop to have them treat with an oil spray to protect it from the salt. Many local car washes offer basic unlimited car wash packages, making it easier to rid your vehicle of built-up salt on a regular basis.

Pay a little extra at the car wash to have wax put on your car. The wax helps to create a barrier between the elements and paint. Or, you can go to your local store and buy wax (like Turtle wax) to put on yourself. All you need is a rag and a little elbow muscle.


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Your floor mats might be looking rough. Switch your carpet floor mats for rubber ones. Not only are they more durable, but they better help trap all the salt you bring in. Websites, like, allow you to purchase custom rubber floor mats. Now, moisture will not seep through the carpets making your car stink, and you can switch them back out in the nicer months.

Check your fluids. Buy windshield wiper fluid made for the colder months. Having your windshield freeze over from improper cleaner is often more dangerous than what was being cleaned in the first place. Look for fluids that can withstand the cold temperatures (-25F).

Smooth Driving

It may seem like a lot to take care of your car in the winter. But these tasks are fairly quick and easy. You will be glad you did them come spring and summer. Make a checklist where once a week you have a car day and complete everything on your list. This way you know you have hit every task and your car will thank you.