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By: Blair Qualey

For many drivers, their automobile is a source of pride and joy. However, winter weather conditions can damage your precious vehicle — both cosmetically and structurally. In the northern parts of the province and in the interior, this can mean salt, dirt, and snow on the roads. In the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, the rapidly changing temperatures and heavy precipitation can turn rain into wet snow and slush. To keep your ride in pristine condition during these months, consider the following tips from your friends at the NCDA.

The first tip might seem like a no-brainer, but if you have the ability, store your vehicle inside a garage or underneath a protective carport or shelter when not in use. Simply keeping your vehicle out of harm’s way, safe from the snow and rain — which can quickly turn to ice when the temperatures dip — will take care of most of the problems presented by the winter season. If you’re unable to do so, try using a windshield cover or a large piece of cardboard to shield against ice and snow, ensuring a safer drive and saving time on morning clean-ups.

As with any preventative measures, being proactive is a great way to get ahead of the problems before they present themselves. While not in use in many areas of the province, The City of Vancouver uses de-icing salt on roadways when our weather takes a turn for the worst, which can take a toll on the undercarriage of your car. To stop this issue before it starts, try using salt eliminator treatments — a specialized process that cleans the underside of your vehicle — as well as applying rust protection to the same areas. Protecting these crucial parts will keep your ride on the road longer, and certainly help maintain the value of your vehicle if you’re considering selling your car in the future.

While that takes care of protecting the underside of your car, that still leaves the paint, finish, trim, and windows. Exercise caution with gentle warm-up and ice removal techniques, never use metal ice scrapers and take a firm, but delicate approach in sensitive areas to prevent scratching. Allow your car to warm up naturally, and never use warm water for ice removal, unless you want a cracked windshield. For additional protection, many drivers will apply a wax coating before winter sets in, which creates a protective seal, guarding against ice, snow, and corrosive salt. Alternatively, explore DIY paint sealants from dealerships, offering effective protection against harsh winter elements. And of course, for your own protection, make sure to invest in a nice pair of warm waterproof gloves to keep your fingers free from frostbite when cleaning the exterior.

Let’s not forget how damaging winter can be to the interior of your car. Keep your vehicle clean and dry with custom-fit floor liners, which act as shields against slush and salt, preserving your carpet and preventing rust beneath.

Adopting a comprehensive approach to winter car care involves proactive measures, protective treatments, and winter-ready practices. Each step will contribute to the longevity and resilience of your vehicle.

More big news for 2024: The long-awaited return of the Vancouver International Auto Show, happening on March 20-24 at the Vancouver Convention Centre! For more on the show, including ticket information, please head to:

Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at [email protected].