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Can Snow Damage Car Paint?

Would you like to know if snow can damage car paint? Well, we have researched this topic and have answers for you. Understanding if snow can damage car paint is vital, so you can take proper precautions.

Snow does damage car paint. Snow is a composition of tiny ice crystals. If it's improperly removed from your vehicle, it can damage the paint.

In this article, we will learn if snow can damage a car's paint job. We will also learn the answers to other interesting related questions, such as how do you remove snow without damaging car paint, and is it okay to leave snow on your car? Keep reading to learn more.

red car covered with the snow, Can Snow Damage Car Paint?

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Can Snow Damage Car Paint?

Snow can certainly damage your car's paint. Crystals of snow are sharp and can cut into your car's clear coat, exposing lower layers of paint to water and air.

Snow can also build up on your vehicle and freeze into ice, which can cause even more damage when removed. The best way to prevent snow from damaging your car's paint is to remove it before it freezes into ice.

The problem with removing snow and ice from your car is that as you brush it off, snow's sharp edges will scratch your paint. The solution is to remove snow from your vehicle with a method that minimizes scratches.

Winter snow accident featuring a car in a ditch on a snow-covered country road with the lights on

How Do You Remove Snow Without Damaging Car Paint?

Many products claim to assist with removing snow from your car, but many will do more harm than good. Any scraper that uses hard metal to remove ice is unsuitable for your car's paint.

Even hard plastic scrapers can dig into your car's paint and leave unsightly scratches. A soft brush is the best tool for removing snow from your vehicle without damaging the paint.

Be sure to dust the snow off gently to keep damage to a minimum. Over time, even a soft bristle brush can damage your car's paint.

One of the gentlest methods to remove snow from your car is to brush it off with your hands. Ensure that your clothing has no hard edges that could scratch the paint.

Sometimes, it's impractical for you to brush all the snow off your car with your hands. In this situation, the careful use of a soft bristle brush would be best.

If you are unsure of what brush won't damage your car's paint, here are two of the most popular soft bristle brushes that will be gentle on your vehicle.

Astro 27-Inch Snow Brush

You can find this tool here on Amazon.

OxGord Snow Brush

You can find this tool here on Amazon.

Is It Okay To Leave Snow On Your Car?

Blizzard on the road which causes traffic

There are a few reasons you should never leave snow on your car: it can harden and become difficult to remove, lowers gas efficiency, and poses a threat to other drivers.

Let's look at these concerns with leaving snow on your car and learn why it's in your best interest to remove snow from your vehicle.

Difficult To Remove

When you leave snow on your vehicle, it can harden into ice. Once you have a large section of ice stuck to your car, removing it can become challenging.

Not only is it difficult to remove, but removing it can cause significant damage to your paint. Any time you need to scrape ice off your vehicle, you risk scratching the paint. Even with gentle techniques, the force required to remove ice is also enough to scratch paint.

Lowers Gas Efficiency

Another problem with leaving snow on your car is how it impacts gas efficiency. Water, and by extension snow, is weighty. As snow builds up on your vehicle, it adds significant weight to your car, lowering gas efficiency.

Threat To Other Drivers

The biggest reason you should remove snow from your car is because it is a threat to other drivers.

As you drive, large chunks of snow can fly off your vehicle, creating hazards for other drivers. If a big enough piece of snow hits another driver's windshield, it could cause an accident.

If another driver becomes injured, you will be liable for their injuries. For many reasons, leaving snow on your car is never a good idea.

Does Waxing Protect Your Car From Snow?

Woman hand drying the vehicle hood with a red towel

While many people wax their cars to protect them from the elements, waxing will not prevent damage caused by snow. People sometimes think of waxing as a force field protecting their vehicle, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

The wax coating on your car easily breaks down, so you must be reapply it often. Even with a fresh coat of wax, your car will have little additional protection from snow. The reason wax can't protect your vehicle from snow has to do with snow's shape.

Snow has many sharp crystals that can scrape away a wax coating. If you have a fresh coat of wax, it can make brushing snow off your vehicle more manageable, but only marginally.

In reality, waxing works more to hide scratches in your paint than it does to protect it.

Can I Remove Snow From My Car With Water?

Removing snow with water is the gentlest method of removing snow and ice from your vehicle, but there's a catch. If it's cold enough outside for the water to freeze while you try to melt the snow, you may make the situation worse.

Large sheets of ice can freeze over your car and can make it impossible to drive without removing them. Plus, eliminating sheets of ice from your car, all but guarantees scratches.

It might prove an excellent method if it is just above freezing outside and you'd like to use your garden hose to remove snow from your vehicle. Since water melts snow's sharp edges, it stops it from scratching your car.

Can I Remove Snow From My Car With Salt?

It would be best if you never used salt to remove snow from your car. Like ice, salt is a crystal, and crystals are sharp and notorious for scratching car paint.

When it snows, and the roads are salted, they create a significant hazard for your car's paint. While snow can cut into your paint, salt does so even faster.

Salt can also build up on your car's underside while driving. Removing this salt from your vehicle can be even more challenging than removing snow.

Like removing snow, the best method is to use water, but you can't use that method when it's below freezing. If you must remove salt from your car while it's below freezing outside, use the following method.

  1. Take a bucket of warm water and add 2 to 3 cups of vinegar. This will help keep the water from freezing.
  2. Next, dip a sponge into your solution and gently dab water onto the salt.

It is critical not to wipe the salt with the sponge to avoid scratching the paint. This process can take a while to be effective, so it's usually best to wait until it's warmer and use a garden hose.

How Can I Protect My Car From Snow?

Thick snow covering the street, hedge, trees and the parked car

There is no denying it, living in an area that gets snow risks damaging your car's paint job. Not only does the snow damage your paint, but so does the salt on the road. Also, waxing only hides scratches and doesn't help to protect your car's clear coat.

The best solution to protect your vehicle from snow is to have professionals touch up its clear coat every year before winter. By ensuring that your car enters winter with a thick clear coat, you ensure it can handle the scratches winter will bring.

After winter, if you'd like to hide the scratches caused by snow and salt, use wax. Wax will fill in all the minor scratches in your clear coat, effectively hiding them.

Keep retouching your car's clear coat anually, and it will have optimal protection from snow.

Final Thoughts

red car covered with the snow

In this article, we learned snow could damage your car's paint because of its crystalline shape. We also learned you shouldn't leave snow on your vehicle since it can damage your paint, lower gas efficiency, and poses a danger to other drivers.

Remember, the best way to keep your car's paint safe from snow is a fresh, clear coat before winter.

We hope you enjoyed this article. If you want to learn more, check out some of these other posts.

Do Car Dealerships Fix Scratches And Paint Chips?

How Does A Honda Pilot Drive In Snow?