Winter is a hard time of year. It’s cold, get’s dark earlier, and can be a nightmare for your car too. Trust us, we’ve seen it all from the undercarriage to the car roof with a new tree limb dent.
The main aspects of winter that make it harder on a car are the constant precipitation, salt and sand on the road, and the ice. All of these aspects cause damage to even the most careful driver’s car.
We are in the know and would like to share our six tips for car care to help you and your car get through winters with the least amount of trouble.
1. Wash Your Car Regularly
One of the easiest ways to protect your car from winter weather is to wash it regularly. One of the most common issues is salt and sand dings or corroding the paint which becomes rust spots without attention. By washing your car regularly throughout the year, in particular during winter, you can help maintain your car and prevent damage.
We’d recommend doing DIY car washes since many car wash services use recycled water and that means it’s cleaning your car with water that has salt in it. That being said, we recognize that not all people have the time or desire to clean their car like the car enthusiasts who have a special garage and tools just for cleaning their baby. For those, we suggest you go to a car wash but find a touchless car wash that doesn’t use foam or cloth washing mechanisms since the built-up sand and salt will scratch your car causing more harm than good.
Lastly, if you’re dead set on not washing your car more than two times a year in your fall and spring cleaning then do your car a favor and try not to wipe the salt off without rinsing it first since it will scratch the finish making it more susceptible to rust in future years.
2. Protect Layer Over Car Paint
Did you know that the paint finish actually has little divots and holes for water and dirt to build up which can damage the paint and cause rust? By putting some sort of protective coating on your car (whether it’s wax, sealant, or ceramic coating) can help your car’s paint last longer and prevent damage. The other option is to cover your car in a protective film. No matter which path you choose, the purpose is to help protect your car from abrasions and the contaminants found in the snow while driving.
3. Park Under Cover
Although the protective cover for your paint shields your car as best you can while driving, it’s helpful to protect your car from snow and potential damage when it’s stationary as well.
By parking under a carport or in a garage you help safeguard your car from falling objects, ice build-up, and damage from contaminants in the snow. You also have to clean off your car less reducing the chances of you damaging your car in the snow removal process.
4. Clean with the Right Tools
When you do have to clean snow off your car, remember to use the right tools. The best tools will have a foam head to push snow off your car without scratching the paint or a soft bristle head to clean snow from the sides of your car. This is the ideal tool for clearing your car of snow.
If you have snow and ice built up on your windows then you might need to use an ice-scraper. But remember to use it only on the windows to prevent damaging the paint on your car. Avoid using hot water to melt ice off windows or the exterior of the car since the heat difference can cause the windows to crack. Additionally, if it’s below freezing the water will freeze on the ground creating an ice rink for you and the car to slip on.
Lastly, If you’re thinking your shovel or house broom will do in a pinch, picture your car wincing. Both of those will scratch your car causing abrasions for rust to develop. We’d strongly recommend you use your jacket sleeve over a shovel or broom and your car will appreciate the loving touch.
5. Repair Damage Immediately
If you do notice abrasions on your car, repair them immediately to help your car last longer and prevent future large repairs that cost significantly more. A small paint touchup costs less than repairing a rust spot that stretches the length of your driver’s side door. Trust us, you’d rather pay for the paint touch-up.
6. Avoid puddles and Deep Snow
The paint isn’t the only area of your car you need to protect. There’s also the undercarriage. During winter when you drive through puddles and deep snow debris like sand, salt, and chemicals get lodged up in your undercarriage. This debris takes its toll on your car and causes rust and damage to your undercarriage. If you have to drive through puddles or deep snow, then remember to wash your undercarriage afterwords.
To wash your undercarriage during a DIY car wash you can stick a sprinkler head (the kind you ran through as a kid) under your car to help dislodge the dirt and debris. If you go to a car wash just make sure it has the undercarriage wash and you select that in your wash package.
This winter, be prepared for the snow and protect your car so you can have many great years with your favorite vehicle. I don’t know about you but I love my car for all the details I chose and want to make it last as long as possible.
Take the time and care with our tips above to ensure your car looks younger than its mileage. If you find it gets a dent or needs a touch-up from winter damage, give us a call to set up an appointment and we’ll help get your car looking brand new again!