Winter can be a cruel mistress, especially when it comes to your car's body work. A vicious combination of moisture from snow fall combined with the road salt can wreak havoc on any bare metal surface it touches. The end result is a potentially catastrophic explosion of rust and corrosion on the most vulnerable parts of your vehicle.
If you have a winter beater you use during the snowy season or if you can't afford to keep your only car covered up, here are a few things you can do to protect it from the ravages of rust this and every other winter.
Cleanliness is the Key
Keeping your car spotless is one of the best ways to prevent rust and corrosion from taking hold. It's a good idea to give your car a thorough washing at least once a week to remove salt deposits and debris that could easily promote rust formation. Instead of running the car through an automatic wash (which often recycles water laden with trace amounts of salt), wash it either at home or at a do-it-yourself car wash equipped with high-pressure hoses.
This doesn't just include topside of your vehicle, but also the chassis underneath. For instance, snow and ice intermingled with road salt can easily accumulate within your vehicles wheel wells and fenders. You can knock off the majority of this accumulation with a simple ice scraper and follow-up with a thorough rinsing using a high-pressure hose.
Drying your car afterwards is especially important, as cold temperatures can easily cause any lingering amounts of water to freeze solid. After all, you don't want your doors, trunk and hinges to freeze shut. Grab a microfiber towel and carefully dry all of those edges, nooks and crannies that water could seep into, including the undersides of your car's door handles. Don't forget to apply protectant onto vulnerable vinyl and rubber surfaces that could dry out and crack under winter conditions.
Touch Up Body Panels
A few bumps here, a couple of scratches there—it all adds up over the long run. Any one of those scratches, chips or scrapes can easily pose problems for your vehicle if they expose the bare metal underneath. For this reason alone, you always want to inspect your vehicle for scratches and be prepared to patch that damage as soon as you can.
The best way to do that is by arming yourself with a bottle of touch-up paint. You can find many of the more common vehicle shades at your nearest auto parts store, but harder-to-find shades are often available at the dealership or through your auto body repair shop. Using your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) is usually the quickest way to find an exact match.
Wax On, Wax Off
A thorough coating of wax can easily protect your paint job and the body work underneath from the ravages of winter weather. Car waxes offer a protective coating that resists road salt intrusion as well as very minor scratches and damage from tar and tree sap. It's generally a good idea to give your car a good waxing before starts snowing, although it's never too late to wax your vehicle. Just keep in mind that waxing may be a bit more difficult in colder weather unless you have a nice warm garage to do it in.
In addition to waxing, you should also give your car's chassis a thorough undercoating prior to major snowfall. This prevents road salt from corroding the largely exposed metal underneath your vehicle. A good undercoating helps protect many of your car's most vulnerable components, including suspension hardware and brake lines.Share
14 January 2015
Have you been overlooking the chipped paint on your car? Maybe you have ignored the rust that is forming on the quarter panels. Allowing these auto body problems to persist will lead to rust which is devastating to a car. Once rust begins to form, it can be difficult to put a stop to. Working with an auto body shop to repair any scratches or dents in your car can preserve its appearance and keep the car in solid condition. I have provided a few instances in which an auto body problem was ignored and what happened to the car after a few months had passed. Use these examples to help you learn when to take your car in for work.