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Are heated garages bad for your car and is it bad to park a car in the garage during winter? Should you keep your car in a garage? Well, it depends where you live and how much you care about your car or effort to just start driving in the wintertime.
Heat accelerates oxidation, also known as rust. When you drive in the heated garage with snow, ice, and road salt on your car, it melts, and the water and salt mix. Your car will rust more rapidly if you store it in a heated garage in winter.
Lets explore the pros and cons of keeping the car in the garage during winter and other seasons.
Is it Better to Keep Your Car in the garage?
Cars don’t need to be garaged, but they definitely benefit from it.
In the summer, the garage protects your car’s paint and finish from overexposure to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays that can fade the interior and body color. Plastic, rubber, and painted parts all degrade under exposure to UV light from the sun.
Your car is safe inside the garage during winter storms, not getting covered with snow and ice. When exposed to the elements, a vehicle’s parts will deteriorate faster.
That’s all true. But it’s not the whole story. It’s well known that the salt poured on our roads in winter is the nemesis of your car’s body panels and undercarriage. Without getting into too much chemistry, salt causes the metal to rust.
Just about any winter driving can be bad for your car’s metal parts, which is about the whole matter.
Do Cars Last Longer in a Garage?
Most people don’t understand that parking their car in the garage in winter can make the rusting effects of road salt even worse, and here’s how.
- The salt-filled snow and slush that sticks to your car are bad, but it’s not that serious if it remains frozen.
- When you park your car in the garage, even if it isn’t heated, the slush can melt from the engine’s heat. The water that results from the melted slush increases the rust-causing properties of the salt. That can lead to additional rust damage than if the car remained outside.
- The dampness in your garage does not soon evaporate because of winter’s cooler temperatures and the lack of ventilation. That means your car can be wet for more extended periods than it is dry. That prolonged wetness gives salt more time to do its dirty work.
- Every time you take your car out and bring it back in again, the whole corrosion-causing process repeats itself.
Benefits of Keeping a Car in a Garage
Garage keeps you and your car protected from hail, rain and temperature extremes, and other outdoor conditions when getting in or out of the vehicle.
Some areas might have problems with theft and vandalism. A garage keeps your car out of sight from those planning to steal or vandalize it.
If parked outside, the car can either become too hot or too cold, depending on the region’s temperature.
The car interior will warm up more quickly because the engine temperature is the same as the garage’s air temp. Or cool faster if was not directly in the sun.
Hail and falling tree branches are just a couple of examples of ways a car can get damaged from being outside. Dents, scratches, and broken windows are all possible exterior problems that can occur when a vehicle is left outdoors.
When a car is parked inside a garage, the temperature under the hood stays stable and doesn’t fluctuate with the rise or drop in outside temperatures.
The essential fluids like the engine oil will be thinner, which lubricates internal parts more quickly at start-up. And there is no need to brush any snow or scrape the ice off the vehicle, which means less chance of scratching the paint job and damage to windshield wipers.
Some insurance companies offer lower policies for people who store their vehicles in a garage.
Forget the ice scraper or dewy windshield. Parking in a garage helps keep windows clear of ice and condensation, so there is no need to ride with one head out the window.
If you park your car outside and find the car battery dead when trying to start again, because extreme cold lowers voltage from the battery, making it difficult for your car to start. The state of the vehicle’s battery needs to be checked before winter arrives.
When it is snowy and freezing outside, having a heated garage can be such a time saver in the morning. Who wants to spend 20 minutes clearing snow off their car and warming it up?
The choice is yours. Suppose you don’t notice any premature corrosion, and you absolutely love walking out to a clean and warm car in the mornings. In that case, the garage is the place for your vehicle.
Insulate, Heat and Ventilate Your Garage
Insulate and heat your garage. This will conserve energy and your car battery and extend your car’s lifespan at the same time. You can insulate your garage door and roof, and walls. And make sure to insulate the area between the garage and the house to increase your home’s energy efficiency. (usually insulated even when the rest of the garage is not.)
Garages are generally not well enough ventilated to completely dry the car.
Ways to Protect Your Car Without a Garage
- Buy a portable carport. There are plenty of tents, tarps, and other coverings available for car owners who need car coverage without too much cost.
- Keep paint in good shape with regular waxing. This will help keep the exterior of your car protected from the weather.
- Invest in sunshades or tinted windows. These are an easy way to reflect sunlight out of your car and keep the interior cool and comfortable.
- Be careful of where you’re parking. Avoid parking under trees that could drop leaves, sticks, and other debris onto your car and damage it.
- Sticking to your manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule
- Build a carport (<–article all about carports)
Check out all the garage alternatives in this article.
If you park your car in the outside or garage in winter, try to wash and wax it as often as possible to reduce your chances of premature corrosion and body repairs, including regularly washing off road salt from the undercarriage.