Winter Proofing


While I hope winter is a long time from now, it is sure to come back to Ohio.
I would like to get your opinions what I can do to further protect my Camaro as this coming winter will be it’s first (at least with me as the owner). I want to enjoy this car for as long as possible, but not stress over it. I understand this is a beauty of a car, and at the same time it is simply just a car.
I’ve heard spraying the underbody might be a possibility, as well as regular washes can help.
Any suggestions?


If you mean spraying something under your car as a protective coating, forget it. Just drive through a car wash with the so called belly spray after the snow has left. Give the car body a good coat of wax ( and no you don’t need a bunch of opinions on what kind to use ). If parked outside you can use a good car cover.

Thanks! I’ll have to invest in a cover! And wax it ever so often.
Any particular reason as to not using a protective underbody coat of something?

It is a waste of money and impossible to cover everything and it will just cover natural surface rust and trap moisture that will increase rusting. Also could block necessary drain holes.


Like @VOLVO_V70 said, do-it-yourself undercoating can cause more problems than it solves. I’d avoid it.


Thanks for the information! Didn’t realize a possible side effect such as trapping moisture and such.

Additionally, since your opening post makes it sound like this Camaro is not new, doing undercoating at this point would also trap contaminants and rust that are already present on the undercarriage. Particularly with a car that is not brand-new, undercoating has the potential to make things much worse.

Correct, it’s a 2011 with now 19K miles on it, but it looks brand new!

…the paint may look pristine, but–trust me–the underside has already accumulated various types of debris, and some rust is undoubtedly starting in some areas. Encapsulating that stuff is not a good idea.

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If it were my car, and not a fancy Camaro, I’d get good winter tires mounted on steel rims and have them installed at the first sign of snow. Other than that, in late August or early September, I’d get my coolant and battery tested, especially if you’re using long life coolant in it. If you’re using the regular yellow coolant, I’d just go ahead and change it out with fresh coolant.

If I owned something as nice as a Camaro, I’d be tempted to garage it all winter and make use of other transportation, like mass transit or a beater.

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Agreed. It doesn’t look horrible under there like my '06 Impala does, but it certainly has accumulated grime and such. Thanks for the tip!

If I had a garage to store it, I would. However, I bought this with the intent of using it for enjoiyment in this time of my life. I will do my best to keep it nice for as long as I can under the conditions.

However, you have to remember that RWD cars with high-torque engines do not have good traction or directional stability in bad winter driving conditions. Because of that reality, I second Whitey’s suggestion about mounting 4 winter tires.

The improvement in handling on a snowy/icy surface with winter tires is nothing short of amazing, and the reduction in stopping distance is drastic enough to save you from accidents that you might otherwise experience.

I hear ya!
I would like to see how it handles as it is first to get a feel of it.
I’ve priced some times and will look at getting them eventually. I may also craft a fitted structure to hold sandbags over/near the rear tires in the trunk.

Weight distribution is 52% front, 48% rear. Watch out how much weight you put over the rear tires. You might change the weight distribution more than you think, and that will cause steering problems.

Thanks! I will take that into consideration! Yet another thing I didn’t consider having a side effect!

For the top-side it’s pretty obvious what you need to do, keep it cleaned and waxed, but the under-side, that’s not so easy. Road salt from the de-icing of the roads is the big problem. As you drive over that slush, the wheels throw it both front and back. It’s very corrosive and the rust holes from all that is usually what finally decides when an old car goes to the crusher. So the most important thing is to use a garden hose or pressure wand at the car wash to wash the road salts from that under-area of the car (more or less in line with the wheels) once a week, or even twice a week. Beyond that, some posters here advise to spray the rust prone areas on the underside with a rust inhibitor. Waxoyl is one product I’ve heard of, or some say just used motor oil from the last oil change. I’ve never done either so can’t report on how well it works, but it sort of makes sense, any kind of wax or oil film on a metal surface will repel water, and it’s an easy enough thing to do. You’d do that in the summer or fall I presume. Concur with the others that applying a thick undercoating layer is not a good idea.

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The drive through car wash with the underside spray ( belly wash ) that I suggested is simpler and more effective.


Camaros and cars like them are horrible winter cars and if you have to park on the street, it will gwt splashed with saly from the salt trucks but also every passing car. If you really want to keep this nice for a long tome, you need a winter beater.

Whenever we winterize our 1969 Camaro SS, we put in StaBil, put the car on jack-stands, ant take the tires off. When we do this, it starts up right away and there are no flat spots. Make sure you charge your battery as well.