Last Updated on March 19, 2023 by Victor A

Modern cars are robust, there’s no doubt about that. They are made to withstand the harshest conditions and to last for decades. However, there are certain situations where a car might suffer more than usual, like when leaving your car outside in the cold weather.

Cold temperatures, humidity, and snow are not allies of automobiles. If you’re planning to leave your automobile outside in cold weather there are some things you need to have in mind.

For how long can I keep my car outside in the cold weather?

Cars are made for everyone, no matter the type of climate or if you have a garage or not. Nevertheless, a car will always last more if it’s kept in a garage than if it’s kept outside. 

To answer the question, you can keep your car outside all winter, but, there’s something to have in mind, depending on your car’s battery age, you might have to drive it often to make sure the battery doesn’t completely drain out.

You need to know that fluids inside your automobile thicken with cold, and that makes starting the car difficult. Thus, a weak battery won’t be able to start the car.

If your car battery is older than two years, make sure to drive the car at least once a week when it’s cold outside.

5 things to do before leaving your car unused outside in the cold for a while.

Fiat 500X in the snow
Fiat 500X in the snow

Here’s when things get tricky. You might have to make a trip or be unavailable for a month while you leave your vehicle outside in cold temperatures. 

The good news is that there are a series of precautions you can take to make sure your car remains in the best conditions:

1-) To begin with, salt is your enemy. When it’s cold enough to form ice or snow, road crews will throw salt on the road to prevent the forming of ice patches.

So, why is salt a problem? Because it creates chemical reactions that corrode exposed metals, like the ones found in cars. Especially the ones in the brake and fuel lines.

With that in mind, make sure you wash your car before you leave, and if it’s possible, wax it as it will help protect the paint. Another solution would be to use a car cover.

2-) Then, there’s the battery problem. Leaving your car outside in the cold for a month  you’re likely to find a drained out the battery, but don’t worry, there’s a solution for that problem as well. 

You can take the battery out of the car and keep it inside your home, or buy a battery blanket. Either way will work on making sure that when you come back, you are not greeted with a car that won’t start.

3-) Fill in the gas tank as full as you can, and if it’s possible use good quality ethanol-free gas.

Why should you do this? First of all, you fill in the gas tank to minimize condensation. 

When there’s less air above the gas, there are fewer chances of condensation, therefore less water in the gas. And for the ethanol-free gas, you should do it because ethanol leaves a residue that could wreck your fuel system.

4-) Make sure to inflate your tires between 2 and 3 psi over the factory recommendation, so you prevent flat spots.

5-) Put something inside your tailpipe to prevent animals from ending up inside and making a nest.

Just make sure to put a note on your steering wheel or a reminder on your phone, so when you come back to your car you remove what you used to fill in the tailpipe.

Tips for keeping your car in the best conditions during cold temperatures.

Mercedes-Benz EQC on ice
Mercedes-Benz EQC

Some good advice you might want to know to make sure your automobile goes through winter without problems are the following:

  • Wash it every so often, at least once a week, so you get the salt off. Give special attention to the underside of the car, so rust doesn’t appear.
  • In the morning, when you start the car don’t drive it hard, try to drive conservative for a little while so you don’t damage the engine.
  • If it has snowed, clean off the snow. You don’t want to leave the snow on your car for a while as it can weigh down the suspensions.
  • If possible, park over the road. Avoid grass as it can trap moisture under your vehicle and derode it quickly.

The bottom line

As you see, leaving your car outside in cold weather can be completely manageable if you make sure you take some of the precautions stated in this article.

The most important advice is the battery one, it’s more common than you think to wake up and find yourself with a car that won’t start because the battery has drained out. 

Nevertheless, if your car is new, or you replaced the battery recently, you won’t have to worry about this.

One thing to have in mind is that if your battery is very old, it’s possible to have it completely charged at night, and the next morning finds it dead. In the case this happens to you and changing the battery is not an option, consider getting a battery blanket.

Disconnecting the battery every night and keeping it inside your home is not a good idea, as the cables are not made to be manipulated constantly, plus the electronics of the car could also be altered.

However, don’t worry about disconnecting the battery once in a while because you have a long trip.

Chevrolet Suburban in cold weather
Chevrolet Suburban in cold weather

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