Winter weather in Minnesota is notoriously harsh and can quickly damage your vehicle — but only if you let it. Since winter is basically here in the Twin Cities, now is the time to be extra diligent about protecting and maintaining your vehicle’s exterior.

At Minnetonka Collision, we know winter vehicle maintenance can be a hassle, but we also know that neglecting it can result in body damage and pricey repairs. To help you better protect your car or truck throughout the season, we’ve outlined several protective measures you can take below.

Common Causes of Winter Weather Body Damage

If you’ve lived in the Twin Cities area for a few winters, you’re probably aware of how winter can damage your ride. But if you’re new here and haven’t spent a winter driving through snow and ice, here’s a heads up on the most common culprits behind winter-related body and undercarriage damage.
They might look beautiful (and they are), but when they get huge, they’re quite heavy and can detach from the buildings they hang off of. And when heavy icicles fall, they aren’t careful about where they land. If you happen to park beneath a hanging ice spear and it detaches while your vehicle is sitting there, it could easily leave a hefty dent in the body of your vehicle when it lands.
If you drive daily during winter, moisture will inevitably end up sticking to the body of your automobile. Moisture isn’t necessarily damaging when it doesn’t stick around for long, but rust can easily develop if your vehicle is almost constantly wet. That’s especially true if your ride has any existing clear coat or paint damage or its undercarriage already has a few areas with minor rusting.
Road Salt
Salt of any kind is highly caustic, and when you regularly drive during winter, you’re bound to get road salt on your vehicle. That salt can scratch your vehicle’s clearcoat, damage its paint, and even lead to corrosion development on components of the undercarriage.
Freezing Rain and Sleet
This type of precipitation won’t necessarily damage your vehicle on its own. However, when it mixes with grime, dirt, sand, or salt particles, the combination can leave scratches in your clear coat.

Check out these other common causes of auto body damage that can happen during any time of year.

Park in Covered Areas

If you have a garage, park your vehicle in it—don’t use it to store your extra junk! Winter weather and storms can be very damaging to your vehicle’s exterior, and your garage provides the necessary protection to prevent this damage from occurring. If you’d rather store your unused household stuff in your garage, you risk dealing with hail damage, rust formation, and ice accumulation.

If you don’t have a garage, consider parking in a carport or under a portable vehicle canopy. While these structures may not provide protection against rust, they will protect your vehicle from icy hail and sleet. Just make sure you never park under trees with snow-laden branches. You never know when a loaded branch may snap off of a frozen tree, so don’t put your vehicle at risk.

Remove Salt Promptly

Many people neglect regular car washes during winter because they don’t see the point of cleaning a vehicle just to get it dirty again immediately. Lots of drivers also worry that washing their automobiles when it’s cold out could cause damage.

While there’s some merit to both of those lines of reasoning, allowing road salt and dirt to sit on the body of your vehicle for months on end is a terrible idea. Keeping your vehicle clean throughout the snowy season can go a long way toward keeping it free of body and undercarriage damage.

Regular car washes remove dirt, sludge, and salt from the undercarriage and body panels of your vehicle. If you allow this buildup to accumulate, the corrosion process can quickly set in. Your vehicle may not develop rust right away, but over time, you’ll certainly notice the exterior begins looking lackluster.

To protect your paint, body panels, and undercarriage from damage, have your vehicle professionally detailed periodically or hit up the car wash once a week.

Protect the Paint

Regularly applying wax to the exterior of your vehicle can work wonders for protecting its paint. You can wait for a warm day and pull your vehicle into the garage to wax it or opt for a professional car detailing service to get the job done for you. Whichever you choose, a layer of wax will help prevent road salt from wreaking havoc on your paint.

Speaking of road salt, contractors dump over 350,000 tons of the stuff in the Twin Cities metro each year. With this much salt on the road, corrosion sets in quickly. If you notice small dents or scratches, take your vehicle to an auto body repair shop promptly.

Repairing minor body damage immediately reduces your chance of developing rust that can damage your vehicle’s paint. While you’re here, check out these other ways to protect your vehicle from winter-related rust development.

Minnetonka Collision Center: Your Twin Cities Auto Body Repair Experts

At Minnetonka Collision, we know winter can be especially hard on your vehicle. We’re here to help you keep it running in top condition with expert auto body repair and maintenance services. Whether you need rust remediation, winter storm damage repair, or dent removal, our knowledgeable and experienced technicians are here to serve you.

To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, give us a call at 763-230-7805 or feel free to message us with any questions or concerns. If you’re ready to get started, go ahead and request a free estimate, and we’ll get in touch!