Remove the snow, keep the paint
Special to ADAMM
A push broom with long, sturdy nylon bristles may be the most efficient tool you could use for removing snow from your vehicle, but it may also be the most efficient tool you could use for removing some of the car’s finish.
Make that the second most efficient, right after snow shovel.
“We see it all the time,” says Jeff Wardon, collision center manager for EWALD Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram of Franklin. “You look over the hood or the top of the car and see the scratches from when they’ve taken a broom or the brush end of a scraper — or even the scraper — to it.”
The only thing—besides your hands—that he recommends to remove snow from the body of a vehicle is a squeegee with a rubber blade. They come in widths ranging from 8 to 24 inches. Some come with telescoping handles that make it easy to reach the entire vehicle without taking up a lot of storage space.
Online automotive advice columnists agree that anything with a hard plastic or metal edge or that has nylon or straw bristles can damage a car’s paint job.
Cars.com contributor Matt Schmitz and other gurus say a tool with a head made of non-abrasive, freeze-resistant polyethylene should be as safe as natural rubber. In fact, one such product is recommended on a Honda website, and another website sells a tool with a head molded into Chevrolet “bow tie” logo.
Many suitable items available online cost between $10 and $30, while the cost to fix scratches can range from $200 for buffing one area, such as a hood, to many times that if scratches are too deep to be buffed, Wardon said.
Schmitz also suggests pulling, not pushing, snow and starting at the top and working your way down past the windows to the hood, headlights and body. Wardon noted that a squeegee might not remove all icy snow from your vehicle, but letting the car warm up while you remove the easy stuff often loosens the crust enough to be removed safely.
Removing all the snow is not only a maintenance issue, but also a safety issue. Schmitz says,
“It’s not all about saving your own car, but being nice to others. Make sure you clear all of the big piles of snow off your car, so you don't become a moving cloud of snow spray and blind other drivers around you.”
Adds Cars.com research editor Mike Hanley, “Clear the whole car of snow. It’s also a potential hazard to you because braking suddenly could lead to a pile of snow on your windshield.”