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Is it Ever Too Cold to Wash Your Car?

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Ontario winters are cold. On average, about 150 days out of the year, the Ontario air temperature reaches below freezing levels. With that being said, how is it possible to wash your car in winter months when it’s clear that the water left on your vehicle will turn it into a popsicle? The answer is not as simple as you might think!

It Matters How You Wash

What sub-freezing car washing really comes down to is what kind of car wash facility you are using. Obviously, trying to hand wash car in winter is out of the question because of the freezing freezing temperatures, so what about professional car washes? Are car washes safe to use when the temperature is below freezing? It depends. Any professional car wash that is able to remain open during below freezing temperatures is almost always guaranteed to have a closed off and heated washing bay/tunnel. With this in mind, let’s focus on these types of washes that include: gas station type touchless in-bay automatic, touchless tunnel, soft touch tunnel, and full service.

Dangers of Incorrectly Washing Your Car in The Winter

The dangers of trying to wash car in winter when its below freezing are apparent: frozen water on the outside of your car, frozen doors, frozen locks, etc. To avoid these issues, the key is to use a car wash facility that hand towel dries your car (including door jambs) and utilizes low pressure washing methods. Towel drying is important because it removes 100% of the water off of your vehicle’s exterior as well as removing the water from your door jambs, eliminating any chances of frozen doors or locks. High pressure is not recommended either due to the chance that a vehicle will get water forced into door locks and other components.

Touchless Winter Washing

Touchless car washes must use high pressure to complete their washing process, and the chemical reaction that takes place on your vehicle (during their Hi-Lo washing method, chemically burning the dirt off your car) does not work nearly as well in cold temperatures. It is also important to note that most of the touchless car washes that you will encounter are of the in-bay automatic type at gas stations. These washes have no hand towel drying, allowing for frozen doors and other vehicle parts.

Soft Touch Winter Washing

Soft touch express tunnel washing, while much safer, is still not ideal in freezing conditions for many of the same reasons touchless washing in winter is not safe. This is primarily because there are no workers drying the excess water off the vehicle and out of the door jambs, making freezing a serious issue.

We care about the things you care about. If you care about your insurance, please contact us at Aaxel to offer advice!

FAQs

How cold is too cold for a car?

The exact temperature at which a car is considered “too cold” depends on various factors, including the make and model of the car, the type of fluids used, and the condition of the vehicle.

Is it bad to wash your car with cold water?

Washing your car with cold water is generally not harmful, and many people do so regularly without issue. However, using extremely cold water, especially in freezing temperatures, can pose some risks. If the water freezes on the car’s surface, it may result in ice formation, potentially leading to issues such as frozen door locks, seals, or wipers.

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