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Old 11-20-2014, 01:53 AM   #1
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First Time Driving on Winter

Hi! I have a Nissan Altima. I'm a new driver in Canada and it's my first winter. How do I take care of my car given that they use a lot of salt in Ontario roads? When is the best time to wash them? Thanks.
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Old 11-20-2014, 06:43 AM   #2
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I usually wait until spring, but we don't get as much snow and ice here. We did heavier snow last year, and then I washed the car once the salt coating was dimming the headlights.

The car makers have gotten better at rust prevention. Do you have a corrosion warranty on new cars in Canada? If so, you could wash it about as often as you do outside of winter. Do it on a day in which any mess on the ground isn't actively melting, otherwise salt will just get back on the car as soon as you leave the car wash. Use the undercarriage wash if available.

You can look into the clear films and coatings if you want to provide better protection to the paint.
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Old 11-20-2014, 07:12 AM   #3
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A good tip is to leave the wipers up in the air when parking, if they freeze to the screen and then you put them on, the rubbers can tear and they wont clear the screen. Keep an eye on coolant levels, and all fluids should be kept topped up incase you get trapped in the snow!
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Old 11-20-2014, 02:38 PM   #4
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Some of your concern will be determined by where you live in Ontario. If you're in southern Ontario, you'll see some snow, but you will also have many days above freezing when you can drive through a car wash and rinse the salt off if you want, but there's no point really - it will accumulate again within 10 minutes. I live in Ottawa, where it can get down to -20C for a long stretch - you don't want to wash your car in that temperature, or you'll likely have the doors freeze shut. I don't wash my car until spring - there's no point. If you live in Northern Ontario like North Bay just hibernate until March
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Old 11-20-2014, 03:29 PM   #5
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I typically will wash my truck if there is going to be a week of good weather. I'll only do it if temps are going to be cold enough that the roads don't melt or if the roads are mostly melted off otherwise as others have said, your wasting your money. IMHO, the salt really doesn't do a whole lot of damage unless it's relatively warm out anyway.
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Old 11-24-2014, 07:12 PM   #6
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I live Hamilton. Thank you very much for your tips esp with the wiper thing. I should get used to seeing my car dirty during winter then. Cheers.
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:15 PM   #7
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Sometimes I think having a barrier of dirt on the car, that builds up every time you use the car during winter, is better than washing it all the time. You will just end up grounding all that dirt, grit and salt into the paint. I probably wash mine every 2 months or so during winter, they tend to overuse salt and grit in the UK, as we have a cold damp climate, black ice is a bigger problem than snow.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:53 PM   #8
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Based on what I've read about salt and corrosion on vehicles is this: The longer salt sits on the vehicle, the more likely corrosion is to occur. Frequent washes doesn't allow the salt to act on any bare metal that it may come in contact with as the reaction between the salt and metal is a slow process. The longer it's there, the stronger the effect. Even if you wash the vehicle, and go out onto a wet road getting new salt accumulation, the chemical reaction was interrupted. That being said, I'm terrible for keeping car washed. I get about 4 per winter....lol.
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Old 12-06-2014, 06:57 PM   #9
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I'm curious about this too. I'm moving to New York State next year and the salt concerns me. Seems rather archaic to use it rather than sand. Jurisdictions still using it should compensate for diminished value, IMHO. But it seems to me that you'll still get it on all sorts of brake lines and the like? A wash won't keep it off of everything.
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Old 12-06-2014, 07:10 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jcp385 View Post
I'm curious about this too. I'm moving to New York State next year and the salt concerns me. Seems rather archaic to use it rather than sand. Jurisdictions still using it should compensate for diminished value, IMHO. But it seems to me that you'll still get it on all sorts of brake lines and the like? A wash won't keep it off of everything.
No, you can't keep it off everything Jcp, however, it does take time for the salt to start reacting with the metal it comes in contact with. A good wash breaks that sequence even if new salt is accumulated right away. I've had many vehicles here in Ontario where road salt is used extensively. I've never had one "rust out" on me, but surface corrosion can still be a problem, and brake lines and such, well, I seem to have to replace them about every 8 to 10 years.
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