Benefits of Car Detailing Before Winter

Car detailing is the thorough process of cleaning and restoring a vehicle to the best condition possible. You should detail your car two or three times a year, especially if you live somewhere with drastic changes in seasons. Detailing your car in time for winter, for example, is a great way to protect it from the elements.

Follow this routine in the fall or at the very beginning of the winter season.

Person washing a black car that is covered in foam

Before You Start Car Detailing: Maintenance Checks

Before diving into your detailing, start by giving your car a thorough inspection. Doing this will help you identify areas that need further attention or repairs. Before the snow settles in, check the following:

  • tire pressure and tread wear
  • oil level and quality
  • coolant level
  • battery condition
  • windshield wiper condition

You can learn more about car maintenance tips here. Also include the switch to winter tires.

Once you’ve run through your maintenance checklist, you can get to detailing. All of these services can be done by professionals, but if you’re interested in DIY-ing, you can learn to complete winter detailing tasks from your garage.


Winter is the prime time for your car’s exterior to collect damage. Both the paint and underbody are at risk of deterioration from salt and debris that riddle the winter roads. With wax, you can give your car a protective coat against these elements when you detail your car.

Car wax comes in paste, spray, and liquid forms. Paste waxes are the most popular for their quality and durability. Spray waxes are the easiest to apply, but they don’t last as long as liquid and paste forms.

These steps can help you do a thorough car wax job:

  • Start by washing the entire exterior of the car.
  • Read all the instructions on the product (the type of wax you choose will affect how you apply it).
  • Use small, circular motions to create a thin layer of wax that still allows you to see the color of your car’s paint.
  • Tackle the car in sections, applying wax to one area before moving to the next.
  • Once the wax has dried, use a microfibre towel to remove it.
  • Buff the car in fast, circular motions until the surface appears shiny.

For extra protection, apply another layer of wax during mid-winter.

Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax

35.19 $

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NAPA Bodypro Polymer Wax

26.89 $

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Tire Shine

Tire shine can help your tires grip the roads better when they’re icy. This silicone-based product keeps the rubber moisturized to prevent cracking and protects from damage caused by salt. You can also use it on the underbody and engine while car detailing.

To dress your tires for winter, follow these steps:

  • Start with clean, dry tires.
  • Read the directions on the tire dressing product you’ve chosen.
  • Apply tire shine on tire sidewalls using a foam applicator or a microfibre
  • Allow the dressing to fully dry before driving.
  • Wipe excess dressing away with a towel.
  • Don’t apply tire dressing to the tread, brake rotors, discs, or pads.

Mac's Tire Shine Foam

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Armor All Ceramic Tire Coating

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Prepare Your Interior When Car Detailing

When you’re not in your car with the heater on, the cold weather can cause the interior upholstery to stain and/or crack. Prep your car’s interior for winter with these steps:

  • Vacuum the floor and seats (for leather, only use a soft bristle vacuum attachment).
  • Clean the seats with a product suited to the material in your car using a microfibre cloth and/or an upholstery brush for stubborn stains.
  • Apply a protectant with a microfibre For a leather interior, apply a leather protectant. For a cloth interior, use a fabric protectant.
  • Use waterproof seat covers to add another layer of protection.
  • Protect your car’s floor from winter stains and snow that melts off your boots with floor mats.

By following this car detailing routine, you can help your car thrive through winter, looking and performing its best.

If you own a trailer or RV, check out this article on how to get it ready for winter storage.

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