How to Protect Your Car From Snow Without a Garage - 10 Tips (2023)

When we were kids, snow was one of the most anticipated things. We got to play with friends and family and build snowmen. Plus, many times snow lined up with Christmas, which is one of my favorite periods of the year.

Nowadays, when I wake up and see that it put down a good amount of snow in the night, I tend to get moody. Because I know I’ll have to get out in the freezing cold and get the car cleaned up as best as I can to go to work. Those moments are when I wish I had a larger garage. Over the years, I learned a thing or two from experience, which allowed me to deal with snow and cold weather better.

So here you have it, my 10 tips to protect your car from cold winters when you don’t have a garage.

How to Protect Your Car From Snow Without a Garage?

How to Protect Your Car From Snow Without a Garage - 10 Tips (1)

When you leave your car out during cold winter nights, you could have many unpleasant surprises when you get back to it the following morning: frozen windshield, doors shut, snow all around the car. These tips might help you avoid that.

Cover Up the Windshield

The most annoying thing after waking up is having to deal with a frozen windshield. Many times you don’t even have the right equipment, your hands get cold, and you hate your life. Chances are you are in a hurry, so you half-ass it, cleaning too little. This endangers you and others since you don’t have enough visibility most of the time. Luckily, there’s a way to avoid this. Simply protect the windshield with a cover.

I like polyester-based products. They trap heat during the day, so they resist well to very low temperatures during the night, without freezing and cracking.

A couple of notes on this:

  • Make sure you get a cover the appropriate size. I know this should be obvious, but don’t trust those “one size fits all” statements. Check yourself.
  • Fix it firmly to the car. Some models come with magnets. Honestly, I don’t like those since there’s a risk of damaging the car’s paint.
  • Beware of thieves. Yes, it doesn’t make sense to steal a cover worth 20 or 30 bucks. But trust me, some people would steal anything if they get the chance. Consider using a buzzer alarm to scare them off, at least.

If it gets very cold where you live, avoid household solutions, like towels or blankets. Ice penetrates under them easily, making them useless. If it gets windy, chances are they will get all over the place since they are harder to fix properly.

What about the Rest of the Car then? Two Ideas Here

So I showed you a simple solution to keep your windshield clean from snow and ice. What about the rest of the car then? Wouldn’t it be nice to avoid frozen windows, stuck doors, and paint damage? You have 2 options here:

  • Get yourself a car cover. This is basically a car coat that will protect it from snow and prevent ice from forming on it. Moreover, it will also be handy against summer heat, or to protect your car from tree sap. Car covers are very easy to put on and remove, it will take you just a few minutes. Again, double-check the size so that it fits your car properly. These products are not expensive at all, but I’d rather not get a super cheap model if you don’t want to throw it away after a few months of usage.
  • Alternatively, you could get one of those temporary car shelters. It’s more expensive than a car cover, but it’s the best solution if you have the space for it. The good thing is you can reuse it for outdoor stuff during summer days, like parties and picnics. Be careful if it tends to get windy where you live: in that case, you might want to reinforce the shelter structure with additional stakes.

Put the Wiper Blades Up

How to Protect Your Car From Snow Without a Garage - 10 Tips (2)

If you don’t have the space for a car shelter, and you are worried about seeing your windshield or car cover stolen, then this is the only thing you can do to make ice removal easier. Getting frozen wiper blades off the windshield may be a struggle since they can get stuck on top of the glass. In addition, you risk damaging the rubber portion by applying too much force on them.

Don’t use the wiper blades to remove the ice! You can ruin them, plus they are rather ineffective at it. Get yourself an ice scraper.

Beware of Fall Damage!

If the weather gets very snowy, it’s better to park your car away from roofs and trees. Frozen snow could fall off the roofs and hit your car, the same goes for tree branches.

If you think about it, it’s pretty obvious. Don’t fall for the temptation of parking your car under trees or near a building to protect it from ice and snow. It could cause far worse damage.

Avoid Getting Locked Out

There’s no worse feeling than discovering your car’s doors are stuck due to ice. To get your door loose, use a source of heat to melt the ice. For example, a heat gun might do the trick for you. But what about preventing it for future times? Well, there are a few things you can do:

  • Check the state of the rubber seals on your car’s doors. If they are in bad conditions, water can infiltrate, forming ice and getting them stuck. Ideally, you’d want to replace them before winter comes if they are severely damaged.
  • A simpler option is to use an oil-based spray on the door seals, to avoid ice formation. There are many products available; Teflon-based sprays work pretty well. A household alternative is common cooking spray.

Some More Winter Car Care Tips

We’ve covered the basics on how to protect your car against cold weather and snow when you need to leave it outdoor. Now let’s discuss some common sense ideas that will help your vehicle survive cold winters.

Get Yourself a Jump-starter

Cold and dead batteries, name a more iconic duo. If you leave your car outside all night in harsh cold, a dead battery might happen. Especially if you have an early morning meeting. To save yourself the struggle, get yourself a jump-starter. There are handy portable models available, which are very easy to use.

A jump-starter doesn’t come cheap, but it’s very much worth it. Probably you’ll use it very rarely, but I guarantee you’ll be grateful to have bought it every time you need it.

Make sure to Keep all Fluids at an Adequate Level

This is a good practice in any case, but it’s especially important during winter times. Check all levels to make sure they are sufficient, and always keep at least half a tank of gas. You don’t want to run out of fuel during an emergency or if you get stuck somewhere. If you are going for a long trip, consider taking an additional fuel tank with you, just in case.


To better deal with winter weather, don’t forget to do the following:

  • Swap your tires to winter tires. They’ll give you better traction and stability when roads get slippery. Also check tire pressure frequently, for example every 10 days. Deflated wheels give you less traction. Not to mention that they wear down quicker.
  • Make sure the coolant inside your radiator is appropriate. A 50/50 mixture of antifreeze and distilled water is a good way to start. Adjust the percentages based on the product you are using and on how cold it gets where you live.
  • There’s not only ice that can damage your car during winter, but also salt, sleet, dirt, and other stuff. Especially if your car is new, consider waxing it to protect its paint. I really like synthetic sealants for this purpose.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, my 10 (more or less) tips to get your car through a snowy winter when you don’t have a garage. Here’s a quick summary of what we discussed:

  • Cover up the windshield (or all the car). If you have the space, get yourself a temporary shelter;
  • If any of the previous options don’t suit you, at least leave the wiper blades up to make ice scraping easier;
  • Make sure you park out in the open when heavy snow is forecasted;
  • Treat the door seals to avoid getting locked out;
  • Get a portable jump-starter. Thank me later 😉 ;
  • Keep all fluids at an adequate level;
  • Winterize the car: change tires, put antifreeze inside the radiator, wax it.

Maybe you already knew some of them, maybe not. In any case, I hope you learned something you didn’t know before.


How do I keep snow off my car without a garage? ›

A car cover can serve as shelter from the elements when you have no garage. A car cover also acts as a barrier against dirt and debris that can cause scrapes and weak spots in your car's paint. Car covers can help save you time by eliminating the need to sweep off snow or scrape ice off the windows.

What is the best way to cover your car from snow? ›

Buy a car cover

If you can't park under a roof, a water-resistant car cover is your best option. Water-resistant material is essential here if you don't want to trap moisture. Choose a cover that drapes over your entire vehicle from front to back.

What are 5 things you can do to prepare your car for winter driving? ›

Winterizing your car can take time and money, so plan ahead accordingly with this winter checklist for vehicles.
  1. Check your tire tread. ...
  2. Fill up your tires. ...
  3. Consider snow tires. ...
  4. Change your oil and antifreeze. ...
  5. Fix your heater. ...
  6. Inspect your battery.

How can I protect my car from snow storms? ›

Below are some tips to help protect your car from snow damage.
  1. Buy a snow shelter for your car. ...
  2. Place a towel on your windshield. ...
  3. Apply toothpaste to car headlights. ...
  4. Wash and wax car. ...
  5. Use cooking spray to protect your car door.
Mar 12, 2019

What melts snow on cars? ›

According to the Farmers' Almanac, there are four natural ways to de-ice:
  • Salt: Salt is a well-known and easy way to melt ice, but you should use it with caution. ...
  • Urea fertilizer: Natural fertilizer urea is a safer alternative to salt. ...
  • Alfalfa fertilizer: Like urea, alfalfa meal is used as a commercial fertilizer.
Feb 3, 2022

Should I put a tarp over my car for snow? ›

Car covers will help to prevent paint damage to your vehicle as a result of ice, snow, and road salt. Keeping a car cover on will help to keep it warm, potentially protecting your engine from damage when you start the vehicle. A car cover will keep your windshield wipers from freezing and cracking.

What are 3 tips for driving in snow or ice? ›

Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don't try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight.

What are 3 safe driving tips for driving in snow? ›

Driving Tips
  • Allow enough time. ...
  • Keep your gas tank full. ...
  • Keep windshield and windows clear. ...
  • Slow down. ...
  • Be more observant. ...
  • When stalled, stay with your vehicle and try to conserve fuel while maintaining warmth. ...
  • Give snowplows room to work.

How can I keep my car safe in the driveway? ›

Secure your vehicle with the following tips:
  1. Park your vehicle in a locked/secure garage, if possible.
  2. Lock the onboard diagnostic port using a simple device (that can be purchased online) that blocks access to where thieves reprogram the vehicle's key fob.
  3. Use a steering wheel locking device to deter theft.

How do you keep your car safe on the street? ›

Preventing car and vehicle theft
  1. Lock your vehicle. ...
  2. Keep the keys safe. ...
  3. Be aware of carjackers. ...
  4. Park responsibly. ...
  5. Watch for illegal tow trucks. ...
  6. Fit good in-car security locks. ...
  7. Double-check electronic locking. ...
  8. Before owning, check for cloning.

What is the best surface to store a car on? ›

Concrete flooring is best because it transmits a limited amount of moisture. Some people will even park their car on plastic with a layer of carpet on top of it to reduce moisture under the car. Parking your car on a dirt or gravel surface for extended periods of time is never a good idea.

Can I put a tarp over my car? ›

As car covers, tarps don't fit the vehicle well and are not breathable. Wind can blow dust between the tarp and the vehicle, which can scratch the paint. Humidity can't escape the trap (see what I did there?), leading to mold and mildew inside and outside of the vehicle.

Can you leave a car outside all winter? ›

Parking your car outside in cold weather may accelerate the rusting process on your brakes. While some amount of rust is unavoidable during the winter months (especially if you're driving down salted roads), you may reduce the amount of exposure to moisture your vehicle gets by keeping it parked inside.

Can I put salt on my car for snow? ›

One of the main reasons for this is the salting of roads, which melts the ice that causes slippery and dangerous conditions during freezing temperatures. Although this is good for your safety, the salt is not good for your car as it causes corrosion and rust.

Can you put hot water on car to melt snow? ›

Do Not Use Hot Water. Pouring hot water over snow and ice may seem like a great idea, but it can actually do some harm. The windshield's glass may crack from the extreme temperature change, leaving you with glass shards everywhere and puddles of water all over the ground, which can be its own hazard.

Do cars get ruined in snow? ›

Even when the weight of snow isn't enough to crush it, snow can damage your car and its body when it isn't cleared soon. Salt and chemicals from the roads can mix with the snow sitting on top of your car, and this could end up corroding the finish and the paint of your car.

What are snow socks for cars? ›

Snow socks (also known as tire socks or auto socks) are textile devices that wrap around the tires of a vehicle in order to increase traction on snow and ice. They are normally composed of a woven fabric with an elastomer attached to the inner edge.

What are some safety tips for winter? ›

Tips for Staying Warm

Avoid serious conditions such as frostbite and hypothermia, by keeping warm. Wear a hat, hood, or scarf, as most heat is lost through the head. Wear layers, as they provide better insulation and warmth. Keep fingertips, earlobes, and noses covered if you go outside.

What does black ice look like? ›

While black ice is transparent, it can sometimes be seen in the right lighting conditions - if you are looking for it. Black ice almost always forms in very smooth, very glossy sheets. This glossy surface is your indication of potential black ice.

How do beginners drive in snow? ›

11 Tips for Driving in Snow for the First Time
  1. Prepare with the Right Tires. ...
  2. Drive Slowly. ...
  3. Leave Extra Distance Between You and Other Cars. ...
  4. Check Your Rearview Mirror Whenever Changing Speeds. ...
  5. Steer into a Skid. ...
  6. Don't Panic. ...
  7. Look Far Ahead. ...
  8. Don't Ignore Stability Control Lights.
Sep 10, 2021

Is it bad to park your car outside in the winter? ›

Parking your car outside in cold weather may accelerate the rusting process on your brakes. While some amount of rust is unavoidable during the winter months (especially if you're driving down salted roads), you may reduce the amount of exposure to moisture your vehicle gets by keeping it parked inside.

How do you get ice and snow off a car without scraper? ›

Let it flow — Some people swear by using tepid, warm water to clear ice from automotive glass. The water will turn the ice to slush, and it will largely be able to be removed using the windshield wipers, or a towel if you're dealing with the side windows.

Is it safe to sleep in your car in the winter? ›

A car can protect you from the wind and snow, but it can still get as cold as a tent in the middle of the night. And because cold air is passing through on all sides of the car, it's especially important to insulate your sleeping situation. A warm-rated sleeping bag can make all the difference.

How long can a car sit without being driven? ›

So how long can you go without driving your car? If you have not prepped your vehicle for a long time of not driving it you should not let it sit for more than one month, and even then, you should try to start it up and drive it for 15-30 minutes a few times within the month.

Is it better to cover a car in winter? ›

Snow and ice can damage your car's windscreen or paintwork, so a winter car cover can help prolong your car's lifespan. Low temperatures can also damage engines and metalwork, but a winter car cover can prevent the vehicle from freezing over.

How do you scrape snow off a car without a scraper? ›

Rubbing Alcohol & Water

It's true—rubbing alcohol will quickly dissolve ice buildup on your windshield, so if you're in a rush, this method is a safe alternative to using an ice scraper.

How do you push a car out of snow by yourself? ›

Follow these six tips below to get a car unstuck in snow:
  1. Clear a path around your tires. Try to dig snow and ice away from the drive tires. ...
  2. Rock your car free of the snow. ...
  3. Don't floor the gas. ...
  4. Add traction under your tires. ...
  5. Get others to help push your car. ...
  6. Ask for help. ...
  7. Always keep a cool head.
Nov 22, 2021


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