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The glory days of summer cruises have come to an end. The drives through the changing leaves on the trees along country roads are telling us that winter is approaching, and with that comes the responsibility of performing the maintenance required to prep your car – inside and out – to survive the salt, pebbles, and ice.
Protecting the Exterior
The salt, and in some states pebbles, does quite a number on auto paint, and you’ll want to keep a thick layer of protectant to buffer your paint against road crud. A high-quality waxing with a wax high in carnauba is a great choice because carnauba is natural, highly stiff, and will stick to the paint through the harshest elements. An orbital buffer and/or a professional will be necessary for this kind of wax.
Paint sealant makes for even better prep and would be applied prior to the wax. Usually, these sealants are acrylic, resin, or synthetic polymer and although lacking in luster, that will be fixed with your carnauba waxing after the sealant, which will last 5-7 months – the entire winter season.
Don’t forget to top up your windshield fluid with the slightly more expensive and much more useful winter-mix. You will thank yourself when you can actually see even though the windows are covered in ice.
In some parts of the United States, snow tires are mandatory, but if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, getting a set of snow tires is worth the money. Snow tires have much deeper treads and are a bit wider than a standard tire. In a worst case scenario, a set of tire chains in the trunk couldn’t hurt.
Inside the car
First off, you’ll want to clean the dust out of the vents, especially if you don’t use your air conditioner. A lot of dust and pollen can get into the vents and spray them into the air when the blower is turned on. A Shop-Vac both sucking and blowing will accomplish this better than simply running the air.
Fill your car with at least a gallon of water and some power bars or non-perishable food so if you ever break down and have to wait, you’ll be fed and watered. Other emergency supplies to include would be thermal blankets, road flares, and hand warmers.
And finally, we’d like you to turn on the air conditioner. Yes. The air conditioner. Running it at least 5 or 6 times during the winter will keep your A/C system and related hoses/grommets lubricated and help protect the mechanical parts from atrophy.
Keeping your car looking good can be a challenge in winter. It suddenly seems like everyone drives a white car! Besides for the wax mentioned above, make sure to periodically take your car to a car wash to get some of the salt and crud off. Most car washes have an undercarriage spray option, which helps to get the salt off the bottom of the car.
Another part to keep looking clean are the wheels. Try Rust-Oleum Wipe New Wheels. Wipe New Wheels is the only consumer product to provide lasting & powerful protection against road salt, brake dust, grime, and corrosion. Wipe New Wheels’ nano-polymer formula gives the consumer unprecedented results and durability; it restores original luster, makes cleaning easier, and protects from harsh elements in just one wipe, and one application. Innovative Wipe-it technology makes application fast & easy.
Drive safe and look good this winter!