In winter, exposure to snow, lots of rain, hail, as well as salt, grit, mud, and even falling branches creates a perfect storm for damaging your car’s paint quickly. And where the paint gets worn away, the metal bodywork becomes vulnerable to corrosion.
Dirty, worn paintwork makes your car look shabby and harder to sell, which is bad enough, but as well as lowering its value, you could be hit by extra costs repairing chips and rust. The good news is this damage is easy to avoid with a bit of preventative winter car maintenance. Find out more about useful and not-so-useful winter maintenance, or read on to find out how to protect your car paint this season.
Winter Car Care Tips 101
1. Wash Your Car Often
Although getting your car washed isn’t always the most fun thing to do—it’s one of the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your car’s paint long term. Keeping up with a car wash schedule throughout the year keeps your vehicle’s exterior protected through any harsh weather conditions.
To wash your car at home, you’ll need the following items:
- Car shampoo
- Rubber gloves
- And, if you have one, a pressure washer to make it quicker and easier
Start with the roof and work your way down to achieve the best finish. Clay bars are useful for getting rid of any hard-to-remove grime and stains, such as bird droppings, grease, and caked-on mud. It would be best if you aimed to wash your vehicle at least once a month over winter, and ideally more like two or three times a month.
2. Deal with Chips and Any Bodywork Issues
After washing your car, inspect the paintwork for any chips or worn patches. If you spot any, make sure you get them seen by a certified mechanic to fix up. If you don’t, these are the places moisture and road chemicals will find their way into the metal bodywork of your car and possibly corrode it. If the process has already started and you can see rust appearing, you’ll want to fix it and reseal the area immediately to minimize damage.
Better to invest a little now and enjoy a better-looking car that will hold its value longer than pay out much more to fix corroded surfaces or take a hit on the resale value.
3. Apply a Protective Coating
After washing, apply a special coating to boost protection against dirt and corrosive elements. Your protection will last anywhere between a couple of months to a few years, depending on your choice.
- Protective film—highly effective protection from chips, which could suit you if you drive on roads with lots of grit. It can be applied to specific parts of the vehicle most susceptible to scrapes and chips.
- Ceramic coating—a perfect option that provides long-lasting protection from everything from tree sap to road chemicals such as salt or grit.
- Sealant—this is more effective protection than wax that can last up to around 6 months.
- Wax—an affordable option, easily applied and lasting up to a few months. Considerably better than nothing.
Sure, it’s a bit of extra effort, but applying a protective coat of wax or sealant is the best way to keep the elements from damaging your car’s paint over winter. Remember, if you’re already a customer of Endurance Warranty, your protection plan comes with $250 in discount vouchers, which can be used at popular retailers like AutoZone. It’s super easy to use these to save money on products like paint sealant or other maintenance tools. Log in to My Digital Vehicle Rewards and redeem your rewards today.
For more tips on kitting out your car, have a look at these 8 affordable ways to make your car feel brand new.
4. Deal with Snow Safely
If you live in an area that experiences snowfall, make sure you have a soft brush with a long enough handle kept clean and ready to remove the snow without scraping or scratching the paintwork. If your paint has any chips, then the snow’s moisture can corrode the bodywork, so the idea is to clear it as often as possible.
5. Protect Your Vehicle When Parked
Where do you leave your car overnight or when you’re not using it? If you have access to a garage or a covered carport, using it over winter will help protect the vehicle’s paint. If you don’t and park your vehicle outside, try to avoid leaving it directly below trees. Even though you might think they’d offer some protection from the elements, birds and branches can cause a lot of damage too. Finally, consider buying a cover. They’re inexpensive and provide sufficient protection.
Don’t Pay Directly for Auto Repairs
The paintwork is just one thing you should take care of when it comes to owning a car. It’s a time of year that can place a particular strain on your vehicle, from the battery to the brakes and tires. For thorough protection from unexpected maintenance and repair costs, as well as all-round peace of mind, choose an Endurance extended car warranty.
There’s a selection of great coverage plans designed to suit different needs and budgets, as well as flexible payment plans to ensure you feel empowered this season. With every plan, you get 24/7 roadside assistance, a rental vehicle to cover you while your car’s being repaired, plus trip interruption costs if you’re away from home when your vehicle has a problem. What’s more, whichever one you go for, you’ll receive a 1-year Endurance Elite membership, completely free, giving you everyday driving benefits. Request a free, no-obligation quote to start saving today.