Yesterday I went off the highway thanks to some black ice. No one was hurt and my car is fine but no the wheel wells are full of snow. So now when I go faster than 60mph the whole car vibrates, it was suggested that I take my car to the local car wash to melt the snow. Mostly I was wondering with the freezing temperatures is it safe to run my car through a car wash? It’s currently 1degree in Bedford, NH.

I think the vibration is caused by snow in the wheels, not wheel wells. The snow will pack into the wheels and throw them out of balance.

I would suggest going to a wand car wash. I know of no harm that would come to selectively using hot water to wash away stuff in the wheel wells and bottom of the car. Around here, the drive thru car washes don’t stay open when the temps hit 20 degrees, due to icing around the car wash drives, so I think the wand approach would work at the temps you have.

If you have a heated garage, you can get a similar, slower effect, by letting the heat do its thing.

Be prepared to take the car to a suspension specialist if the car wash approach doesn’t “fix” the problem. You may have some unseen damage of the experience.


I figured that I might need an alignment, what other unseen damage could there be? Should I also be concerned about hidden dammage to my front bumper?

It won’t hurt a thing. Also temps are suppose to rise tomorrow in NH (around 45). You can also go to one of the touchless car washes…at they end they have dryers. One good one on Mast rd in Goffstown.

I would recommend waiting it out for the warm temps tomorrow. If the car wash has an attendent running it they will not let you run it through the wash with all that snow in the wheel wells.

Glad you are okay and hopefully a nice (soft) snow bank stopped you without incident.

I avoided a sign and got quite stuck in a snow bank. It was a slightly expensive morning. I had to be towed out.

Whoa folks!

As one who has in my younger days tried to wash a car in extreme cold (it was 17 degrees F in my home town in NH today) allow me to strongly advise against going to a car wash of any type. In addition to the water freezing immediately to sheetmetal, and freezig the urethane gaskets on the doors to the doorframes, pressure sprayers may blow it into the lock mechanisms and cause all sorts of havoc.

I’d suggest having it lifted on a rack and the snow cleaned out of the wheels. It’ll cost a few bucks, but it’s a lot better than the problems you’ll cause trying to wash it out…at least here in New England with our recent weather. Although of those who posted that the temps will rise to the 40s tomorrow are right, a hand wash should be fine with care. It’s supposed to drop into the teens again in the evening, so be careful with that pressure wand.

And yes, sliding into a plow bank can knock the alignment off. Been there, done that.

I agree. A car wash, even if you can find one open, is not the best idea. The water you spray all over a car’s wheels, tires, suspension, etc, will FREEZE the second you leave the car wash bay, and likely cause more problems than you had when you pulled in.

Don’t do it!

RIGHT…You will find few if any car washes open when the temperature is below 20 degrees…

Huh? 17 degrees is extreme cold? Maybe -17 in Minnesota but 17 above is balmy. We run cars through the car wash all winter long with no problems whatsoever. They have the undercarrage wash to clean the salt and muck from underneath and driers at the end. If you are worried about door freezing, go to a full service wash then, but you need to get the snow out of the wheels to see if you have a more serious problem like a bent wheel. If it is below zero, some of the car washes will start to shut down but that’s it.