It’s hardly a secret that winter does a number on your car. One of the biggest culprits is road salt.

While road salt is effective for keeping the roads safe, it has the opposite effect on your car. Road salt creates chemical reactions that cause corrosion—with fuel lines and brakes being the most susceptible to damage.

Winter car washes

While you may skip them because it’s nearly impossible to keep a car looking clean in winter, weekly car washes really are a must if you live in a cold-weather climate. In addition to a simple spray down, it’s also worth investing in a wash that cleans the undercarriage of your car at least every few weeks.

There’s just one caveat: Skip the wash if the temperature is below 30 degrees. Water that hits your car when the air is too cold could lead door handles and locks to freeze shut. Also, even if the temperature is above freezing during winter, it’s a good idea to thoroughly dry your car before you drive off. Road salt will stick to a wet car, undoing the benefits of the car wash.

Winter car waxes

A protective layer of car wax can help protect your car from road salt. Ideally, you’ll want to get your car waxed before winter arrives. If you waited too long, you can still get a wax—just have the job done indoors or on a warm day of at least 50 degrees.

Spring cleaning

Spring is still a few months away. When it (finally) arrives, it’s a good idea to help your car recover from winter. Spring for an exterior detail that includes a high-pressure wash that hits your car’s undercarriage and a rust inspection which will restore your car’s luster.

Old Man Winter is no car’s friend. But with a little extra care, you can protect your car and the investment you have in it.