Shoveling and snow blowing is already a hassle for New Englanders, but scratching your paint, denting your vehicle, or cracking a windshield can make a bad day much worse. While we know that winter weather can create all sorts of potential autobody hazards for your vehicle, one often overlooked situation that can cause lots of damage is the process of snow removal.

Follow these tips to help keep your vehicle safe while you shovel!

1. Shovel The Snow, Not Your Paint!

Do not use a shovel to clear snow that is directly on top of your vehicle. Whenever possible, use a quality snow brush or snow broom instead. It’s also important to be careful when shoveling out the snow that surrounds your vehicle. The hard plastic of a shovel (and especially the metal edge that comes on some shovels) can cause serious damage to your paint and leave scratched that can cause damage beyond the clear coat.

2. Snowblowers May Throw Debris

If you are using a snowblower, be careful where your chute is pointing! As easily as your snowblower can throw snow, it can also throw pebbles, chunks of ice, and other debris. Make sure that your chute is always pointing away from your vehicle and other people while the machine is running.

3. Cracked Windows and Ice-Scrapers

Cold brittle windshields and ice-scrapers can be a tricky combination. While it’s important to scrape the ice off your windows so you can see, it’s important to be careful when doing so. If you have a chipped windshield, we strongly recommend getting it filled or replaced before a winter storm. It’s very easy to turn a small crack or chip into a much bigger problem by pushing too hard with an ice-scraper.

…and remember, you should only use an ice scraper on your windows, not the body of your vehicle! Just like a shovel, the hard plastic of a scraper can cause serious scratches.

4 . Be Smart About Where You Park

Put some thought into where you park and avoid street parking when possible to avoid body damage due to sliding vehicles or plows kicking up debris. Park indoors or safely in a driveway whenever you have the option. This will also help a little with preventing corrosion from road salt.

5. Don’t Go Without Digging Your Car Out

Just because snow removal can cause dings and dents does not mean you should avoid cleaning your car off completely. In fact, waiting too long to dig your car out and remove snow and ice can cause problems as well. When cars sit for long periods of time, it can drain the battery. Also, snow that sits on cars for long periods of time in cold weather can freeze, making it much harder to remove. This can cause damage when trying to make enter your vehicle later on. Many plastic door handles and fuel doors can snap off from pulling on panels that are frozen shut.

Heavy and hard-to-move snow can cause other major issues as well from clogging your exhaust pipe to throwing off the balance of your wheels — both of which can have dangerous consequences.

If You Find That Your Vehicle Has Been Damaged…

Sometimes you can do everything right and still wind up with a scratch or dent thanks to winter weather. If you find a scratch on your vehicle, check out this article for tips on evaluating how serious your scratch is. For deeper scratches, dents, or major bodywork, you will need the help of a professional — and that’s where we can come in.

At Reliable Collision Repair, we understand that whenever your vehicle needs bodywork, even for a scratch or dent caused by snow removal, it can feel like your life has been turned upside down. That’s why we do everything we can to get you back on the road. From handling the appraisal to dealing with your insurance company and even providing rental vehicles or helping to tow your vehicle to our shop in some cases – we can help you at every step of the way.

As a class-A autobody shop, when you use Reliable Collision, you can rest assured that your vehicle is in good hands. If you give us a call at (401) 823-4770 or schedule an appointment with us through Carwise, we’ll be happy to help get your vehicle back in the road in tip-top shape.