We hate to repeat a Game of Thrones cliché, but winter is coming — and with it come slushy shoes, salty roads and lots and lots of snow. Keeping your car clean during the colder winter months might seem like a chore, but it can save you a lot of hassle and heartache in the long run. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you keep your car clean through the coming winter months.

Start Early

Don’t wait until the first snowflakes start to fall to begin your cleaning and preparations. Once temperatures start dropping to a more moderate level in autumn, start putting together your plan of attack. Your biggest enemies during the winter are extremely cold temperatures, salt on the roads and water in your interior that you and your passengers track in via shoes and snow boots. Be prepared for all of them.

Swap out Your Floor Mats

Cushiony carpet floor mats might feel great under your tired feet during the warmer months, but they’re a haven for mold and mildew once you start tracking in slush and mud from walking through the snow. You’re also tracking in road salt in many cases, which can seep through your carpeting and start to corrode your car’s undercarriage from the inside. One solution to this problem is to swap out your carpet for rubber mats during the winter. They’re easier to dry, easier to clean and more watertight to protect your interior.

Wash and Wax

You know how your skin tends to dry out faster during the winter months because of all the dry air? A good wash and wax is like a skincare regimen for your car. A coat of wax becomes vitally important when you’re dealing with salted roads, because the salt can damage your paint and even corrode metal if left on the car too long. A good pre-snowfall wash and wax can help reduce the impact of salty roads by sealing your paint and protecting it from the elements.

Park Indoors

Do you have a garage on your property or attached to your house? Let’s rephrase that — do you have a garage that isn’t full of overflow from your house? If not, it’s time to start de-cluttering and preparing your garage for the winter months.

If you haven’t opened your garage door in months, you might find yourself worrying that it won’t open at all. Don’t fret — most garage door problems turn out to be easy fixes. It could be as simple as dust or a spiderweb obscuring the sensors at the base of the door, or something equally simple to correct. Do some basic troubleshooting, and once the door is working properly again, take the extra time to de-clutter the garage so you can fit your car in there. A garage is your best line of defense against winter weather for your car.

It doesn’t take much to protect your car and keep it clean during the winter months. The most important thing is to start early — you don’t want to have to try to wash your car once the snow is already falling!

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Scott Huntington

Scott Huntington and is an automotive journalist who has written for dozens of auto sites, including Yahoo Autos, Hooniverse, GT Spirit, The Mustang Source, and more. Scott's website, www.OffTheThrottle.com, and YouTube channel are popular automotive destinations.

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