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I recently got myself a Hyundai Elantra, and I also recently moved to Toronto, from a country with no snow ever.

My main question is: what's the general strategy or best practices around washing the car after driving in snow, when it gets snow and dirt both on the body.

My main objective is cleanliness, protecting the paint and body, and economy.

I can assume different people follow different methods, such as, washing their cars only after the seasons ends, or as soon as they get a chance

But I am trying to understand some best practices around it, since frequent washing+rubbing can also harm paint and coating (correct?)

Thanks in advance.
(P.S. My first question here too :) )

  • @Moab It's more around salt, but nonetheless quite useful. Would wait to hear more. Thanks! – Aman Alam Feb 5 at 18:18
  • You have several questions, you are only supposed to ask one per post. Hope the other question I linked to answers some. – Moab Feb 5 at 18:30
  • Okay, I'll clarify the question more. The several questions are all trying to understand the strategy around washing – Aman Alam Feb 5 at 18:32
  • @Chenmunka partly :) – Aman Alam Feb 5 at 19:20
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I cant say for snow in particular (I've only ever cared for vehicles in Southern Cali, so no snow like you), but I'd think it's much the same as most cleaning/detailing practices. The major difference being icing.

Obviously, one huge thing you can do is store your vehicle inside as much as possible.

What I'd recommend is cleaning the car thoroughly at the beginning of the season, and getting some kind of ceramic top coat protectant. They vary in durability, but tend to be far more chemical and abrasion resistant than waxes. If you really care to drop big bucks, there are companies that do specialized cured ceramic coats that will really take a beating (and probably last years in your conditions). But its not cheap at all.

Even if you do it yourself using something like TLC (v2) or Exoforma, that will really protect your clear coat between washes, and when the temperature is high enough, you can basically just clean (gentle wash) and reapply. That should pretty much handle the clear and painted surfaces.

As for the undercarriage, I'd just say, clean it well, and take a look underneath if you can to see that nothing is bare (which will likely be hard to tell). If there are bare spots, use your choice of primer & paint to seal it off from the weather (when its dry of course). Then just clean the undercarriage as the weather permits and as its needed.

In general, car care (and therefore reliability and longevity) hinges almost entirely on the routine you have to take care of the vehicle. Depending on your particular use of the vehicle, or your environment, the routine has to be adjusted to accommodate those changes. Racecar techs swap various parts every race; semi-truck techs have a different routine by law - which also differs from Nevada to Quebec; the same is true with aircraft and all sorts of passenger vessels. Jay Leno has the cars in his garage servicesd all the time, and he actively drives (many of) them to keep them in good healthy condition. At the end of the day, the deciding factor is "how much do you care about your car or what it provides for you?"

Again though, this is just based on normal car care logic. There could definitely be aspects that I'm overlooking. My family has car in the mid-west and they do have to deal with snow and ice often, and with blizzards and hail sometimes, so I only have second-hand experience with those aspects.

Oh, and I'd also add avoiding using hot (or even warm) water when the weather is cold. I dont know that it would, but it certainly could cause cracking of different materials, including glass, metal, paint and clear coats.

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  • Thanks so much, lots of good info here – Aman Alam Feb 6 at 16:31
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    @AmanAlam Of course! :) And there's a LOT of good information on YouTube on various aspects of vehicle detailing. Again though, it depends on your level of commitment. I used to spend about 5 hours per month on average babying my motorcycle, but now I just can't. LOL! – kyle_engineer Feb 7 at 1:04

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