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Learn How to Protect Your Car's Paint in the Winter

Protect Your Car's Paint

If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to live somewhere with harsh winter weather, you’re probably well aware of the toll it can take on your vehicle. Winter car protection is critical to keeping the exterior of your car looking like new. Without it, the salt used to de-ice roads, parking lots, and driveways will begin to eat away at the metal parts and paint on your car.

Here are the steps to take to prevent rust on car paint.

Wash Your Car Often

It’s probably not what you want to hear, but you need to wash your car frequently in the winter—some sources recommend weekly trips to the car wash, but we’d say that you should at least give your car a thorough washing after a major snow or ice storm, once the roads are clear and salt is no longer being spread.

Even if you don’t live in an area that uses salt on the roads, this is still a good idea. Sand and coal ash also damage the exteriors and undercarriages of cars because of the abrasion they cause. Standing outside with a bucket of soapy water and a hose probably isn’t on your agenda in January, so if you don’t want to budget for frequent car wash visits, at least use a waterless car wash spray to keep things clean.

Use Car Wax

In the early days of automobiles, drivers would slather their cars in oil to protect the paint from the elements. Now, we have a better option: car wax. You may use car wax as a UV barrier during the summer, but it’s also worth applying carnauba wax during the winter time as well to protect your car’s exterior from the salt and grime on the road. 

The caveat here is that car wax needs to be reapplied after every trip to the car wash. The upside? That means when you use car wax, you can get away with less frequent car washing.

Don’t Let Road Debris Stick to Your Paint

When bits of sand, dirt, salt, and other debris gets stuck to the paint on your car exterior, it can weaken the clear coat and cause scratches in the paint. Use detailing clay, also known as clay bar, to loosen and gently remove this debris without damaging the paint. Keep in mind, too, that ice scrapers and brushes may seem like a good idea, but they can create micro abrasions in the paint where rust can take hold.

Park in Your Garage

The best salt and snow protector for car paint is the garage. How to protect your car from snow without a garage? At the very least, your car should be parked in the driveway, away from snow plows that distribute salt behind them as they plow the roads. 

Touch Up as Needed

Every few weeks, set aside some time to take a good look at your car’s body. Are there chips and scratches in the paint? Touch them up as soon as possible to keep rust from forming. You may have received touch-up paint from the dealership where you purchased your car. If not, a professional auto body shop can perform paint touch-ups for a reasonable price.

Find an Auto Body Repair Service Near You

Whether it’s fixing the damage wrought by winter or repairs after a collision, CrashBay has your back. Have more questions? Click here to find an auto body repair shop near you!

About the author

John Harvey