Our cars can become victims of the elements in the winter, thanks to the damp, wet and cold conditions which all have negative effects on the body work and the engine – but there are other factors to consider in the winter too.

The grit and salt put down to help melt the snow no doubt keeps the roads safer to drive on, but that stuff can have a nasty effect on your car and it can get into all the nooks and crannies under the car as you drive along.

While we all prepare for winter with checks on the car fluid levels and battery operation, we rarely think about the effect that simply driving on snowy gritted roads could be having on the vehicle’s bodywork.

Sand, grit and salt can damage paintwork, cause rust problems and even hinder your car’s performance, so you really don’t want it building up on your car anywhere over the winter months.

The places you are most likely to find problems are on the doors, bumpers and also the underside of the car. But there are a few measures you can take before the temperature drops, to help protect your car:

1. Wax your car
Salt and grit flying up from the road and from the lorries can damage your car’s paintwork so applying a good wax protection to your paint work before gritting season begins will help to keep your car’s paint in good condition.

You should also get a bodywork professional garage to seal the undercarriage of your car to help protect it from the impact of corrosive salt and grit. 

2. Clean your tyres regularly
Your tyres will pick up salt and grit in the treads and then every time you drive they will throw it up underneath your car, into the bodywork, so keep your tyres clean throughout the winter so your car is not damaging itself on every drive.

3. Wash your car regularly
Make sure you wash your car regularly throughout the winter, particularly under the wheel arches and the underside of the car, to keep it clear from any build-up of salt and grit from the roads.

4. Avoid driving through puddles
If you can avoid driving through large puddles in the winter as they will gather the salt from the gritting lorries as well as dirt and debris, all of which could damage your car’s body work.

5. Don’t drive through road gritting times
If bad weather is predicted you can guarantee the salt and grit lorries will be out in force the night before so try to avoid driving during these times otherwise you will be exposing your car to fresh salt unduly.

6. Clean your car of snow
If you are not driving your car regularly, keep it clear of any snow build up both on the car and underneath it, otherwise you will end up with car problems and it probably won’t start. Try covering your car or keeping it in a garage if it’s not going to be driving during the winter.