Do we really need to keep cleaning our cars in winter?

It might not be the most appealing time of year to do so, but cleaning your car during the colder months is important. Jack Evans explains why.

It may seem like a thankless task. Scrubbing your car down in winter, only for it to take just one drive to completely reverse all your hard work.

Once washed, it's dirty after just one trip

Once washed, it's dirty after just one trip

However, ensuring that your car is spick and span, inside and out, is far more important at this time of year than it may seem. Here's why...

Aesthetic appeal

Yes, that's right - it may be a basic one, but keeping your car clean is a good idea simply because it makes your vehicle look better. It can be tempting to leave the bucket and sponge behind when winter starts, but making sure your pride and joy is clean and shiny means that on the rare occasion that you get a bright, sunny winter day to spend some time behind the wheel, it'll be looking its best.

Salt and grit

Is all this effort really necessary?

Is all this effort really necessary?

Anything made of metal doesn't react all that well to salt, and this is certainly the case with cars. Though modern vehicles are comprehensively sealed and galvanised to minimise the possibility of rust, salt and grit have a habit of being able to work into cracks and crevices.

Taking the time to comprehensively clean down your car, rinsing off harmful chemicals left on the road by gritters and other cars can extend the length of your vehicle's bodywork. It'll also help maintain alloy wheels and fight against corrosion there, too.

Safety first

As well as aesthetics and improving longevity, cleaning your car helps keeps it safer. A smeared, grubby windscreen is hard to see out of - particularly in the low-light situations you'll find during the winter time - and this could be potentially dangerous.

Make sure to pay attention to cleaning your windscreen and side windows - and don't forget your side mirrors too. It could make all the difference should driving conditions change.

Protect those carpets

It's not just the exterior of the car that needs a little love. A vehicle's interior takes some heavy abuse during the winter months. Imagine the amount of grit and salt you walk through on a daily basis, only to then jump inside your car?

It's therefore important to give those carpets a thorough clean down every once in a while, with a suitable carpet cleaner. You may realise that your pride and joy's carpets aren't in as good a condition as they once were when spring rolls around.

Air conditioning

OK, so you can't directly clean your air conditioning during winter, but it's certainly an important component to maintain. Though it may be tempting to keep the heated blowers on when the temperature drops, it's crucial that you run your air conditioning at least once a week. Why? Leave it alone and you'll likely find that certain components of the system waste away, and won't be as efficient once summer arrives.

Fail to use your air conditioner for a long spell, and you may find a nasty smell coming from the unit once you do decide to switch it on. The system will also help to dehumidify the car's cabin - and it's the best way to de-mist windscreens too.