I love snow. I’m honestly a little jealous that a good majority of the country got buried this winter while I sat and watched my local ski hill warm up and close for the season by February.
If you live anywhere other than the West Coast, odds are good that you, and your car, experienced record snowfall. If you’re one of the many car owners who simply gave up and let your vehicle slumber under the weight of the white stuff, you might have some special maintenance to do once spring does the dig-out work for you.
The first thing to know is that a few weeks buried in snow and cold probably isn’t going to do any major damage to your car. There are a few areas to take special care of, though.
One of my favorite pieces of advice came from Ray Magliozzi of Car Talk. He said one of the most likely results of not starting your car for so long is a dead battery and the loss of the car’s computer memory.
So, when you first get it started it may run poorly, it may not shift right, and there’s going to be a period where you have to get reacquainted with your car and your car has to get reacquainted with you. It has to know, “Hey, who is this behind the wheel? Oh, I remember you. You left me in the snow for two months. Sure, I’m not going to behave well, I’m going to give you a reminder that you abandoned me for a long time.”
Tires might develop flat spots, brakes might rust, and the engine might need a little more time to get back to normal operation. Once the car is free from the snow, and you’ve gotten it jump-started, take it on a slow drive around town and listen for sounds that are new to you. If they don’t go away after 20 miles or so, it’s probably a good idea to schedule an appointment with your mechanic.
As you’re digging your car out, remember to be careful with the paint. In your haste it will be easy to scratch and chip the car’s finish. If your car sat under the snow untouched, there probably isn’t additional damage to the paint. However, if you drove this winter or weren’t careful during the dig-out process, there could be some chips and scratches that need attention. There’s some great advice on how to repair those over at BestRide. You’re highly encouraged to take a look!
Did you dig out your car this winter or let it sit under a pile of snow?