How to Protect Your Paint from Winter Damage
Modern automakers make vehicles designed to withstand harsh conditions. But winter is a particularly challenging time for our cars, despite all the advances in technology. Snow and ice thrown up by the tires can damage the paintwork and bodywork, leading to costly repairs. Salt applied to the road speeds up the corrosion process, causing rust.
Fortunately, there are a number of methods you can do to protect your vehicle’s paint this winter season. Take a look at these ideas.
Add Paint Protection Film
As you travel along snowy or icy roads in winter, the treads on your tires can fling particles up against your car’s body. Over time, the paintwork and underlying panels accumulate damage, allowing rust to get in.
The solution to this problem is to apply paint protection film. In the past, drivers would put a large piece of black vinyl over the front of their vehicles, but that was unattractive and didn’t provide all-around protection.
Paint protection film, however, is transparent, so you can’t see it from a distance. And it protects against rock strikes on any part of the vehicle you apply it.
Remove Ice and Snow from Your Vehicle with Ice Scrapers
Winter weather will regularly entomb your car in a thick layer of snow. If you don’t remove it immediately, it will begin to compact down and form ice, which is stubborn and difficult to remove.
At this point, many car owners will reach for whatever tools happen to be in their vicinity to scrape it off. However, if you use the wrong implement, you can wind up damaging the car.
The best approach is to use an ice scraper—a product specially designed for dealing with large chunks of ice on your vehicle. It has a soft plastic edge with just enough hardness to allow you to remove ice, but not so hard it’ll damage your vehicle.
We typically think of waxing your vehicle as something that you do after going through the car wash to give it a little extra shine. But it turns out that this common practice is also highly protective in the winter.
Wax is a naturally hydrophobic substance. When you put it on your car’s chassis, it creates a layer between the chassis and the outside environment. The barrier helps to protect the paint and bodywork, preventing the ice, salt, and rain coming off the surface of the road from coming into contact with the metal.
Wash Your Car Often
Corrosion is always a risk in the winter, but it doesn’t happen immediately. Instead, it mainly occurs when owners put their vehicles away covered in wet with salty water from the road. During the night the water, salt, and metal all combine to create an unholy reaction that leads to degradation.
The good news is that you can prevent this from happening by simply hosing down your car with water before you put it away. Spraying dissolves the salt, making corrosion less likely.
Don’t Park Your Vehicle on the Street
If you can avoid parking your vehicle on the street during the winter months, you should.
The problem is this: during the winter, all sorts of sprayers and gritters make their way up and down your street, launching salt particles into the air indiscriminately. If the salt lands on your vehicle, it can leave it vulnerable to damage.
In icy conditions, the risks are even higher. Cars on roads that the authorities haven’t gritted can slide out of control and scrape off your paintwork, necessitating costly repairs or insurance claims.
Apply a Polymer Wax
Polymer waxes are like modern versions of traditional chemical-based waxes. They create a barrier between your vehicle’s paintwork and the outside world.
You can apply polymer waxes using a polisher or by hand to a completely dry vehicle. Your goal should be to apply the thinnest layer of wax as possible, wait overnight, and then apply a second layer the next day. You can continue repeating this process until you feel you’ve added the protection you need. If there’s a haze, you can buff this away with a microfiber cloth.
Despite all these methods to protect your vehicle, winter scratches are often inevitable. Most drivers experience some kind of damage, even if they take all of the above precautions.
If you discover an issue, take your vehicle to an auto body shop immediately for repair work. Don’t want for a scrape or scratch to become rusty. If you do that, it’ll be much harder to fix.