How to Protect your Car from Snow without a Garage

Image Credit: qimono / Pixabay

How to Protect your Car from Snow without a Garage

By John Linden

While a garage can keep your car warm and safe in the winter months, we often don’t have this luxury. When you have to leave your car out overnight, it isn’t rare to wake up to find it hidden under a blanket of fresh snow. While snow in small amounts won’t do much harm, night after night of snowfall can begin to have detrimental effects on your car. With the proper maintenance and preparation, however, you can prevent a large portion of the damage caused by snowfall.

We are going to cover some best ways of handling snow on your car as well as how you can adequately prepare your vehicle for winter.

Contents:

Handling Snow on the Car

General Winter Proofing

  1. Protecting the Finish
  2. Check the Seals
  3. Ensure Your Battery is in Good Condition
  4. Check Your Tire Pressure and Invest in Snow Tires
  5. Check the Fluids
  6. Mind Your Gas Tank

Handling Snow on the Car

Image Credit: monicore / Pixabay

Handling Snow on the Car

Keeping your car in the snow isn’t too hard on the vehicle as long as you do your due diligence in keeping it maintained. A little forethought goes a long way in making your morning less painful. Items like windshield covers and waterproof gloves are amazing improvements to quality of life when handling a snow-covered car. To that end, we are going to cover some of the key methods for dealing with snow and your vehicle.

Also, make sure you park somewhere safe. Branches can often break and fall from the weight of snow. If you have to go without a garage, do your best to pick a strategic spot that can help reduce the exposure to elements.

Dealing with the Windshield

The windshield can be a real hassle when it is layered with ice. Luckily, they can be easily avoided. A windshield snow cover can be bought, which you place over your car at night. In the morning, you simply remove the cover, along with the snow that had built up.

If you don’t want to buy a cover, you can try and use cardboard or something similar that won’t scratch your car. Just try and get something to keep moisture off the windshield.

If the ice is already on the window, then you need to let the car run and use the defroster. Avoid using a bucket of water as that can add more water, which can later freeze on both the car and the ground. Now you may harm the car and yourself if you slip. An ice scraper can be used on the windows, but do not use them elsewhere on the vehicle as they can easily cause damage.

Layers of Snow

As snow melts, the water can begin to seep through into your vehicle. Check all of the seals in the doors and windows. Plus, snow is often not as clean as it looks. Drifting snow often contains chemicals and grime that can eat away at paint and corrode metal.

Try and reduce the build-up of snow, however possible, but keep in mind a layer of fresh fallen snow may be preferable to whatever the day's winds kick up.

When removing ice and snow from your vehicle, you should try and use some warm waterproof gloves. You don't want to use any tools outside of the scrapper for the windshield. Your hands are dexterous enough not to harm the car, and strong enough to move snow and ice -just try and keep them warm. De-icing fluid, or some cooking sprays, can be used to help remove that stubborn ice. If no gloves are nearby, sacrifice a pair of thick socks.

General Winter Proofing

Any vehicle that is going to be subjugated to the whims of winter should be properly prepared. Following these steps will help ensure your car handles its time in the snow as well as possible.

If your car is going to be outside with the snow, these steps are crucial. When ice and snow are on the road and you are caught unprepared, then both you and your car are at risk.

1. Protecting the Finish

Snow itself may not be much danger to the paint job on your vehicle, but along with the snow comes the dirt, grime, and chemicals of the road. Not to mention the road salt. Even if the car is simply parked, the dust and debris of the outside world will still find it. Applying a wax or other paint sealant will help shield your vehicle from most of these outdoor concerns.

If you are applying the wax, make sure you do so before it gets too cold. It will get tricky if you wait too long. Most car wax applications will last for around three months.

2. Check the Seals

The plastic fixtures and rubber seals on the outside of your vehicle need to be in working condition. Any little crack or space will allow moisture to get into the car and cause considerable damage. Ice can also get into the tiniest spaces and push them apart wider. If your car is going to be out in the snow, you need to make sure it is totally sealed up.

3. Ensure Your Battery is in Good Condition

Batteries have a harder time in colder weather. The colder it gets, the slower the power generating chemical reactions that occur within your battery can occur. At the same time, the engine often demands more from the battery to start in cold weather. As a result, older or unhealthy batteries will often fail to start when it is cold enough for ice and snow to appear. Get your battery checked or replaced before it starts getting too cold.

4. Check Your Tire Pressure and Invest in Snow Tires

Your tires will lose psi as the temperature drops. If you fail to notice a significant reduction in tire pressure, you can both endanger yourself and end up doing quite a bit of damage to your car. While you should always be checking tire pressure, be doubly aware of it as it begins to get a bit chilly.

If you are doing a lot of driving, then you should invest in quality snow tires. Snow tires are made from materials that can handle the cold and won't stiffen the way standard rubber tires will. Snow tires also are made to have deeper treads for better traction.

5. Check the Fluids

Check all of the fluids and ensure they are at the proper levels (even coolant). Your brake fluids, antifreeze, etc. should all be at the suggested amounts in order to prevent harm to the transmission and a number of other issues. If you don’t want to mix the antifreeze yourself you can buy premade variations.

Remember that the viscosity of your oil is affected as well. Check your owner’s manual for specific guidance on how to handle your car’s oil in cold weather.

6. Mind Your Gas Tank

Condensation and eventually ice in your gas tank can be a big problem and may lead to a gas line freeze. By keeping your gas tank full, you reduce the amount of condensation that can build up; it also ensures you can keep the car running in case you get stranded and must wait for help.