Nothing’s worse than having to wake up early on a snow day to clear the buildup off your car. But if you’ve got to do it, you might as well do it right and do it fast. Here’s how. You should also know the things you should never, ever keep in your car in the winter.
Step 1: If you park your car in the driveway, prepare for the storm before it starts by backing out as close to the street as possible (without blocking the sidewalk, of course). That way, you’ll have less driveway to shovel out in order to get on the road.
Step 2: Shovel the wheels out before moving on to the rest of the driveway. While you’re focusing on the lower half of the car, check that your tailpipe is clear of snow. A blockage could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to fill the interior once the car is turned on.
Step 3: Grab a foam brush or non-abrasive snow broom and start removing snow from the car gently. “Common damage from improper snow removal are scratches in the paint,” Bryan Burgess, owner of a detailing shop, told cars.com. “These could be light or very deep depending on the situation. A nylon brush for example over the paint may leave light scratches that will be visible once the car is clean on a sunny day. Remove the snow with a shovel—I’ve seen it done—and you’re at risk for a very deep scratch that is either beyond a simple repair or would require a repaint.” Also, learn our handy trick for defrosting your windshield in seconds.
Step 4: Start from the roof of the car and work your way down to the windows, hood, trunk, rear and front lights. Pull the snow off the car, don’t push it. And keep your swipes in a straight line. That way, if an accidental scratch does occur, it will be less apparent.
Step 5: Don’t feel you need to get every last bit of snow off the car. It’s alright to turn on the heat and defroster and let modern technology do the rest. If it doesn’t clear off, though, you’ll want to get back outside and finish the job. Driving with snow on the car is dangerous (and in many cases illegal).
To see these tips in action, watch the video below. Plus, read on to find out the winter car care tips and products you need to keep your car safe.