Can snow damage my car if I don’t clear it off right away?

We had a big snowstorm yesterday. I work from home and don’t really need to go anywhere. Is it okay to leave my car covered in snow? Or can snow damage my car if I don’t clear it off right away?

Matt Terzi · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
We totally get it! No one enjoys clearing snow off their cars. But the news here isn’t great, either: yes, snow can damage your car if you don’t clear it off.
At face value, you’d think snow wouldn’t be that bad. It’s just cold water, right? It’ll eventually melt away, so what harm could it really do? But snow can damage your paint, your brakes, and more.
Snow gets heavy as it builds up. That pressure, plus road salt and pollutants in the snow itself, can eat away at your car’s paint over time and cause damage. Snow can also cause rust damage to your body, frame, and various other car parts as well, especially when you let it build up and sit on your car.
Snow can also cause damage to your brake system, most notably brake rotors and pads, which will get rusty when exposed to water and not in use. Plus, not running your engine for a while will drain your battery, making it harder (or even impossible) to start up the car after the snow all melts.
Clearing off the snow early isn’t just a matter of car damage, either, but human back damage. As snow goes through melting and refreezing cycles, it’ll get harder and more exhausting to clear off the car. That also means you’re trying to clear big chunks of ice off your paint, which isn’t ideal.
It’s unpleasant, downright miserable work, but also necessary: unfortunately, you do need to get out and clear the snow off your car, and you should try to do it at least once per day to be safe.
And while you’re out there, you should also start up the car and let it run for a few minutes, or take it for a little drive if road conditions are safe enough to do so.
We don’t want to leave you on that sour note, so here’s some good news for you:
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