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Winter Time Driving

As winter time swiftly approaches the northern hemisphere, it’s important to protect your vehicle’s paint from damage. In this article, we will discuss 8 tips to protect your vehicle and how to stay safe during wintertime driving. Many people put off protecting their car with Paint Protection Film and Ceramic Coating. However, a lot of paint damage occurs in the winter but in the the spring and summer high-quality shops become busy. So the best time to protect your paint is now.

Tip #1 - Avoid Driving Behind Salt Trucks

When the temperatures drop and a snowstorm is expected, salt trucks are out protecting the roads. While this is great to make the roads safer, it’s not great for your car’s paint. Salt is corrosive, and driving behind these large trucks will kick up rock and stone chips onto your vehicle. Paint Protection Film is great to protect against this debris and keep your car’s paint safe. But if you do not have PPF, stay a few car lengths away from salt trucks or avoid driving behind them altogether to protect your vehicle.

Salt truck drops salt along snowy road.
Salt trucks keep the roads safe in winter, but pose a risk to your car's paint.

Tip #2 - Wash Salt Off ASAP

It’s easier said than done to avoid salt on the roads altogether, so if your vehicle does become soiled by salt and dirt, wash it off immediately. When salt stays on a vehicle for a long time, it speeds up rusting. To safely wash your car, avoid automatic car washes with large brushes that swirl and scratch your paint. Instead, use touchless car washes or go to your local self-serve car wash. Using a pressure washer, rinse off your car, and don’t forget the fender wells and underside of the vehicle.

Pressure washing wheel of car.
Washing the salt off your vehicle will keep the paint in good shape.

Tip #3 - Use Foam Brushes to Remove Snow

If you live somewhere where it snows often, you may have cleaned off your car with anything from a house broom to a shovel. Or you may have a basic snow brush you keep in your car. These brushes usually have one end with plastic bristles and a scraper on the other end. However, the rough plastic bristles of these brushes and brooms can easily scratch the paint of your vehicle. Instead, we recommend using a foam snow brush.

In the video below, we give more information on how to safely remove snow from your vehicle.

Tip #4 - Apply Sealant

A great way to keep your vehicle easier to clean during the winter is to apply a sealant beforehand. Sealants prevent dirt and contaminants from bonding with a car’s paint, making snow removal and keeping the windows clean easy. It will last a few weeks to a month. However, there is a great long-term solution: Ceramic Coating. Ceramic Coatings work similarly to a sealant, but they keep your car glossy and easy to clean for years rather than just a few weeks.

Man using microfiber towel to wipe the hood of Black GMC Sierra.
Bill applies a Ceramic Coating to this GMC Sierra to keep it glossy and easy to clean for years to come.

Tip #5 - Keep Your Car’s Tank Full

It’s important to plan ahead during blizzards and snowstorms to make sure you have enough gas to get you around. If you were to get stuck on the roads, having a full tank will keep you warm and not stranded. And if you plan on storing your car for the winter, look into local gas stations that sell ethanol-free gas to keep your fuel tank in good condition. Also get a high-quality fuel stabilizer to keep the gas sitting in your tank protected, and to prevent degradation. 

Tip #6 - Check Your Tires

In the winter, icy roads make driving much more dangerous. Prioritize getting your tires checked for tread depth, and make sure to switch them out for snow or winter tires if you have summer high-performance tires. Otherwise, your tires will not perform well in the winter and can become a driving hazard. 

Tip #7 - Keep Your Glass Clean

When defrosting your windshield, you may have had extra trouble seeing due to haze on the inside. This can be avoided by keeping your interior windshield clean, making it much easier to see, especially during low light at dawn and dusk. With this in mind, also remember to keep your windshield wiper fluid full. 

Windshield wipers.
It's easy to forget to keep your windshield wiper fluid full, but it's important in winter.

Tip #8 - Safe Driving Practices

Of course, driving safely is always important. But in the winter, it is even more crucial. Always make sure to slow down and reduce your speed by half in snowy and icy conditions. Also, stay a few car lengths away from other vehicles in order to give yourself enough stopping time and protect your vehicle’s paint from rocks and salt kicked up by vehicles in front of you. 

Car with headlights driving down dark snowy road.
Stay at least 5 car lengths away from other vehicles in snowy and icy conditions.

Summary -

With these tips in mind, it’s a breeze to protect your paint from winter’s harsh conditions. But the best solution is always long-term protection options like Paint Protection Film and Ceramic Coating.

For paint protection film and ceramic coating packages, pricing, and more visit us at

About the author: Bill Fetter’s passion for cars started at an early age, as he loved anything with wheels. Through his childhood, Bill observed his dad’s work as a mechanical engineer turned marketing manager and proud lifelong employee of General Motors. During high school, Bill honed his passion for cars by hand-washing and detailing his neighbors’ vehicles. Knowing he wanted to be in the automotive industry, Bill earned a degree in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. He’s worked as an engineer in the automotive manufacturing, medical device, steel industry, and pharmaceutical manufacturing fields.

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