How to Protect Your Car From Snow Without a Garage: Tips Guide (2023)

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Winter weather can be especially hard on your vehicle without a garage in which to park it. Knowing how to protect your car from the snow without a garage is a big help in limiting the potential for damage and costly repairs.

If you live in an especially snowy region, then you have a good idea of how much snowfall could land on and near your vehicle in just one night. A garage is the best way to keep your vehicle out of the snow and safe from potential damage caused by winter weather. If you do not have a garage, you still can take some simple steps to help protect your vehicle.

When you know how to protect your car from the snow without a garage, it stands a better chance of making it through winter without any issues. The following tips will help your car to make it without suffering damage.

Know Where Not to Park During Winter

The single best way to protect your vehicle during the winter months is to know where you should not park it. Just because a parking space is available or looks like it is in a sheltered spot does not necessarily make it safe.

Some of the most dangerous places to park your vehicle during winter are:

  • Under overhangs
  • Next to a tree
  • Where a snow plow might pass
  • On steep hills

Overhangs and trees might appear to provide good cover for your vehicle, but it is a mirage. Overhangs often collect heavy snowfall and ice that might break loose and fall onto your vehicle. Tree branches might snap and drop in strong winds or when subject to heavy snowfall or ice accumulation.

When you knowhow to protect your car from snow without a garage, you know not to park where heavy ice or tree limbs might fall and land on your vehicle.

How to Protect Your Car From Snow Without a Garage: Tips Guide (1)

Beware of Snow Plows

You also should not park where a snow plow might pass and bury your wheels in thick, heavy, and partly compacted chunks of snow and ice. Unless the weather is clear and there are no clouds on the weather radar, snow plows might damage your vehicle and bury it in deep snow and ice during the winter.

Parking on steep hillsides also is a mistake. The surface of the road or parking area might become icy and slick. Driving on anicy roadmakes it difficult to get underway and might cause you to lose control of your vehicle. It might even slide into the path of another vehicle.

An open and flat area is better than parking under an overhang, next to a tree, or on a steep hill. Paying close attention to weather reports also could help you to avoid parking on the street when there is a good chance of a snowplow passing through.

Car Shelters Can Protect Vehicles

The next best thing to a dedicated garage is a temporary car shelter that will protect your vehicle against a variety of weather – including snow, sleet, and hail. A car shelter is affordable and just requires enough space on your property to erect it quickly. Then you can park under it and protect your vehicle against snow and other wintry weather.

All car shelters have a cover that usually comes to a peak in the center. Many also have covers on either side and the back to give your vehicle more protection against the elements. Because they are temporary structures, car shelters typically do not require permits to put them up.

Use a Car Cover

Another answer tohow to protect your car from snow without a garageis to buy acar coverfor it. One that is designed for your make and model vehicle should fit well and keep snow, rain, and other weather off of the paint. The snow still can accumulate on your vehicle, but it comes off along with the cover and leaves you with a clean vehicle.

You might be tempted to just buy a tarp and use tie-downs to secure it to your vehicle. That could work, but it leaves your vehicle vulnerable to scratches from metal tie-down points. The tarp also is more likely to trap dirt and other abrasives that could scratch the paint.,

A dedicated car cover is better than buying a tarp and throwing that over your vehicle. The car cover will be made with softer and more durable materials that protect the finish and glass against scratches.

Cover the Windshield

A covered windshield and rear window keep frost, snow, and ice off of the glass. It also makes it a lot easier to just remove the cover and all of the snow and ice that accumulates since you last drove it.

You can buy covers that are specially designed to cover your windshield or your windshield and rear window. Some also can cover the upper passenger cabin, including the roof and windows on all four sides.

If you do not want to buy a cover for your windshield, you could use cardboard. You can use the wiper blades to hold the piece of cardboard in place. The cardboard should cover your windshield and protect it against snow, ice, and frost. You just remove it, knock the snow and ice off of it, and toss it into the trunk.

How to Protect Your Car From Snow Without a Garage: Tips Guide (2)

Make the Wiper Blades Stand

The windshield often gets covered in wet snow, sleet, or freezing rain while driving in winter. When you park your car and it has been snowing, the defroster likely has caused precipitation to form on your windshield.

Melted snow and other types of precipitation are likely to freeze quickly when the temperature is below freezing. If you do not cover the vehicle or windshield, then you should make the wiper blades stand up while the vehicle is parked for an extended period.

Wiper blades are jointed and will bend outward at right angles from the windshield. They will hold themselves in place, which prevents the blades from freezing to the windshield.

Another way to knowhow to protect your car from snow without a garageis to install wiper blades with two or three edges on each blade. The additional edges on the blades make it easier to move snow and ice away from the windshield.

You also need to use washer fluid with a deicing agent. That will help to keep the windshield blades in good shape and make it easier to remove thin ice from the windshield with just the wiper blades.

Install a Remote Starter

A remote starter is a great way to warm up your vehicle on very cold mornings without having to actually enter your vehicle. You can leave your car parked in the driveway and start it using a remote control switch and then let it warm up.

You should have the heater set to defrost before exiting your vehicle when you park it. When you use the remote starter, the defroster will blow increasingly warmer air onto the windshield and side windows. The passenger cabin can warm up while the windows become much easier to clear of any ice or snow accumulation.

Some municipalities ban the use of remote starters due toauto theftconcerns. So you should double-check to make sure they are legal where you live. Many would consider it reasonably affordable to buy a remote starter and pay for professional installation – especially when it saves you from sitting in an ice-cold car to get it started.

Check the Battery, Antifreeze, and Thermostat

Car batteries discharge their stored energy much faster in subfreezing temperatures. You should have your battery inspected to make sure it is taking a full charge and will give you enough power to the car in very cold temperatures.

If the battery does not take a full charge, you should replace it with a new one that does. Motorists who knowhow to protect your car from snow without a garagemake sure the battery is a good one.

You also should make sure the antifreeze to ensure that it is clean and capable of protecting against deep freezes. Good antifreeze will protect against freezing at temperatures that are as low as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. They also help to prevent the engine block from freezing and possibly cracking.

While checking the antifreeze, you might consider installing a hotter thermostat. One that enables the engine to run a little hotter will make the defroster and heater work better.

How to Protect Your Car From Snow Without a Garage: Tips Guide (3)

Give Your Car the Best Insurance Protection

Wintry weather makes driving more dangerous and increases the number of insurance claims for many reasons. Now that you knowhow to protect your car from snow without a garage, contact ONIT Home today to find the right car insurance for your vehicle! We’re here to do the heavy lifting for you, finding you the top coverages at the budget you want! To get started, visit us online or give us a call today at 1-833-433-0331.

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  3. How Much Auto Insurance Do I Need: The Complete Coverage Guide
  4. What is the Best High Risk Auto Insurance Available in 2020


How can I protect my car from snow 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.

How can I protect my car in the driveway? ›

Home Security: Protect Your Car While It's Parked in Your...
  1. Lock the doors and roll up the windows.
  2. Take your valuables inside/put them in the trunk or glove compartment.
  3. Park in your garage whenever possible.
  4. Use a locking gas cap to prevent gas siphoning.
  5. Never leave your keys in the ignition.
Mar 28, 2013

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.

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.

What are 5 tips for driving in the snow? ›

  • Stay home. Only go out if necessary. ...
  • Drive slowly. ...
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. ...
  • Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. ...
  • Know your brakes. ...
  • Don't stop if you can avoid it. ...
  • Don't power up hills. ...
  • Don't stop going up a hill.

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

What are 5 tips recommendations for driving in winter snowy conditions? ›

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 do I protect my car in extreme cold weather? ›

7 Mechanic Tips on Protecting Your Car from the Cold
  1. 1) Maintain Your Recommended Oil Change Schedule. ...
  2. 2) Watch Out For Your Battery. ...
  3. 3) Park in the Garage. ...
  4. 4) Keep an Eye on Tire Tire Pressure. ...
  5. 5) Check-in on Your Radiator, Belts, and Hoses. ...
  6. 6) Complete Tire Tread Checks. ...
  7. 7) Headlight Bulb Checks and Restoration Services.

What should you not leave in a cold car? ›

Liquids expand when they freeze, which can lead to a big mess. That is why it's important to avoid leaving bottled water, fruit juice, pops and beer in the car when you get back from the grocery store. Pressurized cans could explode if exposed to extreme temperatures.

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.

How do I protect my car in a parking lot? ›

Here's how to do it.
  1. Park far Away From the Entrance. If you are like most people, you don't get enough exercise. ...
  2. Be Careful When Pulling in and Out. ...
  3. Provide Other Vehicles With Ample Space. ...
  4. Park Away From Shopping Cart Corrals. ...
  5. Carefully Open Your Door.
Sep 13, 2021

What is the best security for a car? ›

Here are the top anti-theft devices you can buy to make your car that little bit safer!
  1. Faraday Pouches. ...
  2. Disklok Steering Lock. ...
  3. Security Tire Clamp. ...
  4. Stoplock Pro Steering Lock. ...
  5. Car Smart Alarm.
Mar 7, 2022

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.

Can I block in a car parked on my driveway? ›

If a car is parked on my driveway, can I block them in? If someone has parked on your driveway and you were to block them in, your vehicle may be causing an obstruction to the public highway and this is a criminal offence. The owner of the vehicle could therefore call the police.

Is it better to keep car outside or garage? ›

Vehicle exteriors are kept in much better condition when stored in a garage which can lead to greater resale values. Because a garage keeps a vehicle warm, the fluid and oil are kept in a stable condition which leads to an engine that runs better than one that is kept outside.

How do you keep your car from skidding in the snow? ›

Avoid or Go Easy on the Brakes!

If you go into a skid, avoid using the brakes or steering against the skid. Instead, immediately take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction the vehicle is sliding until you feel recovery of traction, then slowly straighten the wheels until you recover complete control.

Should I brush snow off car? ›

It's important to brush and clear the snow off your entire vehicle, including your roof, windows, headlights, and hood. Leaving snow or ice on top of your vehicle is extremely dangerous to other drivers on the road. Snow and ice flying from other vehicles can cause accidents and even damage other cars.

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.

Which fabric is best for car cover? ›

"For car covers used outdoors, the best material is synthetic fabric of multiple layers, such as solution-dyed polyester and acrylic microfibers, which can be just as soft as cotton but also provide natural ultraviolet light and mildew resistance and water repellency."

What size tarp will cover a car? ›

12X16 Waterproof Multi-Purpose Poly Tarp – Blue Tarpaulin Protector for Cars, Boats, Construction Contractors, Campers, and Emergency Shelter.

Can I cover my car with a bed sheet? ›

An indoor car dust cover is the best to use, they are inexpesive and will keep your car cleaner than a sheet. A good all cotton bed sheet won`t harm the car any but won`t do a lot toward dust protection, they breath too much.

Can I put a blanket on my windshield to keep ice off? ›

Car mats (made of rubber), blankets or towels, or cardboard can all be used as a cover. They won't cover all of your windshield, but they will at least save you some work in the morning.

Can snow mess up under your car? ›

Driving in deep snow won't only leave you stranded, it can cause damage to your car. Like puddles, you never know what's lurking beneath. Packed snow containing road salt can get into places under your car causing rust. Deep snow can also damage your exhaust system.

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

What distance is safest in snow? ›

Increase Following Distance

The normal following distance rule of three seconds should become six to eight seconds in wet and snowy weather. This will make it easier to stop if you need more time.

What is the safest speed to drive in snow? ›

How fast should I drive in snow? If you have to drive in snow and ice, reduce your speed by half. For example, if you normally drive 60 miles per hour on a highway, reduce your speed to 30 miles per hour.

How do you drive in snow with a normal car? ›

Gently accelerate the vehicle using low revs and shift to a higher gear as quickly as possible. Keep your speed down, be aware of potential hazards, and give yourself enough time to brake and steer. To reduce the chances of the wheels slipping, use the second gear instead of the first gear.

How do you rock a car out of snow? ›

The Rocking Technique

If you don't have chains, and your vehicle is moving forward some but then stopping, try “rocking” back and forth between forward and reverse gears. Give it a little gas just as the vehicle starts to swing forward out of reverse. This may give you enough momentum to drive out.

How do you not get stuck in snow? ›

Tips to Avoid Getting Stuck in the Snow
  1. Take preventive action. When you're parking in fresh snow, drive a little forward and back from where you're going to stop. ...
  2. Don't dig yourself in. ...
  3. Try moving back and forth. ...
  4. Do it again and again. ...
  5. If you're still stuck. ...
  6. If snow packs up under the vehicle. ...
  7. On hard-packed snow or ice.
Dec 26, 2012

What are the three key elements to safe winter driving? ›

The three P's of Safe Winter Driving: PREPARE for the trip; PROTECT yourself; and PREVENT crashes on the road.

What drives well in snow? ›

Where you live should determine the type of drivetrain you look for in a vehicle. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, the best option will be AWD or 4WD coupled with good winter tires. City/Suburban driving with moderate snow and ice – FWD or RWD with winter tires will suffice.

Can I put a blanket on my car battery? ›

In a pinch, you can even use a regular blanket. Be sure to place the blanket on your battery as soon as you turn off your engine, as this will help retain the heat given off by your engine. Another important thing to remember is to be sure and remove the blanket before the next time you start your engine.

How do I prepare my car for ice? ›

Winter Checklist for Vehicles: How to Winterize Your Car
  1. Check your tire tread. When getting your car ready for winter, be sure to inspect your tires for tread wear and rotate them during every oil change. ...
  2. Fill up your tires. ...
  3. Consider snow tires. ...
  4. Change your oil and antifreeze. ...
  5. Fix your heater. ...
  6. Inspect your battery.

How do you survive a car without heat in the winter? ›

Fortunately, there are a few other budget-friendly ways to keep warm until you can take your vehicle in for heater repair.
  1. Park in the garage. ...
  2. Cover the windshield. ...
  3. Stock up on hand warming packets. ...
  4. Buy a heater or seat cover that plugs into your car. ...
  5. Keep blankets in the back seat. ...
  6. Take along a warm beverage.
Jan 22, 2018

What are some tips for extreme cold weather? ›

Dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of a single heavy layer. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens (not gloves), and sturdy waterproof boots to protect your arms, legs, hands and feet. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

What should you always have in your car in the winter? ›

Blanket, gloves and hat.

For heat, AAA recommends running the car for about 10 minutes every hour but keeping it off the rest of the time to avoid running out of gas. Make sure the exhaust pipe is clear of snow and ice when the car is running to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Can I leave groceries in my car in winter? ›

Different types of food can be left in different temperature differences. A good number of refrigerated food can be kept between 34-39°F. Foods kept in the freezer can be in the vehicle when the temperature dips around 0°F. Beverages, on the other hand, should be kept around 30°F, especially soda.

Will bottled beer freeze in car? ›

When water freezes, it expands. So, if you have a bottle of wine or can of soda, beer or other water-based liquid in your car it can explode, leaving you a sticky mess. Water and diet soda freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Regular sodas (with sugar) freeze at about 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Does a carport keep snow off your car? ›

This is why, if a garage is not available to protect your car from snow and ice, it is essential to park under a carport. Not only does this conserve the outside of your vehicle but it can also make your life much easier.

Should you cover your car when it snows? ›

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.

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.

Is it better to keep your car in a garage or outside? ›

Vehicle exteriors are kept in much better condition when stored in a garage which can lead to greater resale values. Because a garage keeps a vehicle warm, the fluid and oil are kept in a stable condition which leads to an engine that runs better than one that is kept outside.

Will a tarp protect a car from snow? ›

Cover your car with a tarp.

For my mother who lives in Maine, in a home without a garage, the tarp becomes a makeshift carport when it snows. She covers her car with a tarp before the snow starts falling, so clearing her car of snow afterwards is a snap—just pull off the tarp!

How do you survive living in your car in the winter? ›

Here's my checklist for people who have to sleep in their cars.
  1. Write down the address of where you are parked and keep it close at hand. ...
  2. Ensure your car is in decent running order before winter. ...
  3. Buy jumper cables (and make sure you know how to use them). ...
  4. Try to always have at least a half tank of gas.
Nov 29, 2021

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.


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