Keeping Your Car Clean and Protected in Winter


Tips for protecting your car and keeping it looking good

Winter is here, the time of year when road conditions are often less than ideal and keeping your vehicle’s exterior clean can be even more of a challenge, and even more important. Whether you live in a warm, cold or seasonal climate, keeping your car’s exterior clean and protected is the best way to keep the vehicle looking great for many years to come.

“While neglecting the paint job may not lead to mechanical performance issues, it will result in a lower resale value, just like if you never changed your oil or got a tune up,” states Charles W. Bryant from Howstuffworks.com. Also, people often believe that a car that looks bad is also poorly maintained mechanically, making them less likely to offer top-dollar if you want to sell it or trade it in.

Anyone who wants to maintain the value of their vehicle and keep it looking beautiful needs to protect its exterior, no matter the outside temperature. “Bird droppings, wind, rain, hail, tree sap, smog, ultraviolet rays from the sun––you name it,” states Bryant. “There are a host of threats to your car’s shiny finish.”

If you live in an area with ice and snow, you may also have to deal with road salt. Salt is great for melting ice off the roads and clearing a path from your driveway to your front door, and it is also used in some areas as a pre-treatment to prevent ice formation during warmer weather than you might expect. Unfortunately, it is also great at creating corrosion and damaging vehicle paint. Thoroughly wash the exterior and undercarriage of your vehicle often to remove salt, slush and mud. A good coat of wax in the fall will help protect your vehicle’s finish during the winter.

Aside from frequent cleanings, regular waxing is one of the best ways to protect your vehicle’s finish because it helps preserve the oils in the paint that prevent the oxidative process that causes dulling. If water doesn’t bead up nicely during your next car wash, then you likely need a new coat of wax.

Winter debris can also damage your windshield wipers. If your wipers are leaving behind streaks or making strange squealing or chattering noises, it’s time to think about replacing them.

“Inspect the wiper blades monthly,” recommends AAA. “Check to see if they are worn, cracked or rigid with age. Damaged wiper blades won’t adequately remove debris, compromising the driver’s vision and safety.” You can also obtain special winter windshield wiper blades from your dealer, which are better equipped to stand up to the harsh conditions that winter brings, such as heavy snow, ice and debris.

“It’s suggested that you replace your windshield wipers every six to 12 months,” says John Fuller from HowStuffWorks.com. “Keeping your wiper fluid filled up is also a plus, as fluid can assist in breaking up snow and ice on the windshield.”

If you live where it gets cold, using fluid formulated for lower temperatures will prevent washer freeze-up.

All it takes is a little bit of extra attention in order to keep your car protected and looking beautiful. “Proper maintenance can extend the life of your vehicle and help prevent costly repairs,”  said John Nielsen, managing director of AAA Automotive Engineering and Repair.

Head in to the dealership and let the experts prepare your vehicle’s exterior for winter weather today.

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