No Garage? Here’s How to Protect Your Car from Snow

'80s Mercedes Parked in the snow in a parking lot

Parking in a garage is the go-to answer whenever people talk about keeping your car alive and protecting it from the weather. If you’re in a situation where you can’t park in a garage and snow’s coming, you don’t have to stress — I have you covered.

The best option would be to use a car cover and a nice snow brush to clean your car in the morning. Using the wrong tool for the job can lead to you scratching your car’s paint. You can also splurge for a car shelter that acts like a makeshift garage that can pop up at your parking spot.

I put together some tips to protect your car from the snow even without a garage. Let’s get started.

The Impact of Snow on Your Car

Snow can do a lot of damage to your car. The other piece of the puzzle is the cold that comes with the snow. Things can freeze, crack, and break during a snowstorm.

Having snow pile up on your car is also a huge nuisance. It means having to shovel out your car before you start driving. It could easily add 5 or 10 minutes to your morning routine.

Red sedan car covered in snow

Your windshield isn’t a big fan of cold temperatures. If you have a little crack in your glass, it can get much larger as ice freezes, thaws, and freezes again on your windshield.

In addition, it’s terrible when your windshield wipers stick to your glass. It can cause damage to both of them if you’re not careful.

What’s So Great About a Garage?

A garage does a lot of good for your car. It’s one of the best ways to keep your car alive for longer and preserve your paint in the meantime.

A garage shelters your vehicle from unfavorable outside conditions. You won’t have to get rid of ice, frost, or snow on your car in the morning.

It also regulates the temperature of your car. Cars don’t like to be exposed to extremely hot or cold conditions. In a garage, it’s always lukewarm.

How to Protect Your Car from Snow Without a Garage

No garage? No problem. Here are some easy ways to protect your car from the dangers of snow.

1. Stand Your Wipers Up

First and foremost, you’ll need to stand your wipers up whenever you’re expecting freezing temperatures or snow.

Frozen windshield in the winter with windshield wipers up to avoid being stuck

If your wipers are against your windshield when the weather happens, both can get damaged. Your wipers are pretty fragile, after all.

You can stand them up by pulling the arm of your wipers straight up. This preserves them and will stop them from streaking in the near future.

2. Cover Your Windshield

To make clean-up a little easier, you can use a windshield cover. The glass can be tricky to clean off after a fresh coat of snow falls down.

Car with windshield cover to prevent snow and ice on the windshield

These covers go over your windshield. When you get to your car in the morning, you just remove the cover, and your glass will be clean and snow-free.

If you don’t want to get too fancy, you can just use a large towel to cover the windshield.

3. Get a Full-Car Cover

To take the previous idea a step further, you can also get a full-car cover. I mentioned in another article that car covers won’t cause rust if they’re used correctly, which is good news for you.

Grey gray car cover tarp covering the car in the winter from ice and snow

This cover goes over the entirety of your car. The snow will fall on the cover, so it can easily be wiped away without worrying about damaging your car.

A year-round car cover will also protect your car from UV rays, chips from flying debris, scratches, and will keep your car cleaner.

4. Consider a Car Shelter

There are some modular car shelters that you can buy online. These pop up like a temporary carport without the same sticker price as their permanent counterpart.

Carport canopy saves the car from bad weather and snow in the winter

They work like a portable garage. You park your car in this shelter and it protects your car from the outside weather. Temperature is still going to be a problem, but at least you won’t have to worry about cleaning snow off of your car.

5. Be Mindful Where You Park Before a Snowstorm

Typically, there’s a bit of notice before the snow comes through your city. If you know that snow is on the horizon, you might consider parking somewhere different.

You could either grab a spot at a local parking garage or use a covered spot somewhere.

Cars covered in snow next to houses after a snowstorm

Make sure you move your car away from roads that get plowed. Failure to do so could get your car towed, ticketed, or covered in a mountain of snow.

Also avoid parking under trees and power lines, as these typically fall down with enough snow and wind. In addition, you probably won’t want to park on a hill. If the road gets too slick, you’ll have a heck of a time trying to get to your car in the morning.

6. Get Mentally Ready for a Dead Car in the Morning

A big side effect of cold weather is a car that won’t start in the morning. Be mentally prepared for this.

Man inspecting the dead car with the hood open during winter with snow in the forest

If you have a portable car jumper, this would be a good opportunity to break it out. If you don’t have one, then you should consider buying one.

You’ll want to factor in a lot of extra time in the morning so you’re not late for work.

7. Try to Wax Your Car Before Winter

Waxing your car before winter can prevent some of the big issues I’ve been talking about. It adds a slick surface to your vehicle which helps you to remove snow.

A man detailing a red car polishing and coating the car with wax on the clearcoat for protection

More importantly, the wax will protect your paint from chips and scratches that can occur during snowfall.

8. Check the Seals of Your Windows and Doors

Your windows and doors have a rubber seal that keeps the weather outside of your car. If there are any cracks or faults in these seals, snow and rain can make their way through to your interior.

The result? Interior damage can hurt the value of your car.

Close-up of a car sunroof seal rubber trim

If your sunroof’s seal is no good, then you’ll wake up to a mound of snow on your front seats.

Check these seals before the first snowfall of the season. They’re easy enough to replace once you have the right materials.

9. Get a Good Snow Brush for Your Car

A good snow brush will work wonders for you. I used to just use my hands to wipe off my car, and it would take forever.

Man cleaning his car from snow with a brush on a winter day

Using something like a shovel or broom can damage your car’s paint, eventually leading to rust.

I have this snow brush and ice scraper combo that has saved my neck on a lot of frozen mornings.

Conclusion

Just because you don’t have a garage doesn’t mean you have to give up when it comes to protecting your car from snow. Follow my tips to keep your car safe during the next snowstorm. For other car care tips, explore my blog. View a full list of products I recommend that can save you this winter.

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

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