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How to remove snow and ice from your car without damaging its paint

Here's how to preserve your car's paint job and clear off snow at the same time.

You wouldn’t shave your face with a sling blade, or remove your makeup with sandpaper.

So what in the winter wonderland would possess you to remove snow from your car with a shovel?

We’ve seen exorbitantly priced paintjobs running as much as $15,000 — but even if you’ve long since soured on your Wagon Queen Family Truckster’s metallic pea paint, no car is going to improve its appearance with dents, dings or telltale brushstrokes permanently etched into its profile.

Here are some tips to help you avoid shaming your car with a snow-clearing scarlet letter…

  • Get the right tool for the jobShovels, household brooms and nylon-bristled brushes will damage your paint. Instead, order a good foam brush with a nonabrasive, freeze-resistant polyethylene head covering a recessed hard-plastic scraper, along with a telescoping handle.
  • Use the brush to pull, not push, the snow off your car.
  • No foam brush handy? Take a hands-on approach. Pull on some leather gloves and push the snow off manually. Your reach will be more limited, but at least you won’t damage your paint.
  • For a frosted-over windshield and windows, consider using a brass-blade scraper. It’s a treacherous-looking tool, but your car’s glass is plenty hard to withstand the scraping unscathed. De-icer sprays can also help.
  • Resist the urge to remove every last bit of snow, and instead let your car warm up so the heat from your defroster and engine take care of the nooks and crannies.

Whichever approach you take, be sure to remove large piles of snow from your car instead of letting the wind do your dirty work for you at the peril of those behind you.