How to Protect Your Car from Michigan’s Harsh Winter Weather
It’s that time of year again. Temperatures are dropping and our first snowfall is already here. Not only do snowy roads create longer commutes and overall frustration for drivers, the snow and salt can wreak havoc on your vehicle’s exterior and interior. Here are 3 tips to protect your car during the winter months and keep it in the best condition possible.
Winterize Your Vehicle Before the First Snowstorm
Before the first sign of snow, it’s time to prep your vehicle – inside and out.
Prep the Exterior – Waxing your vehicle may seem like something you do during the summer, so you can enjoy the shiny and sparkling exterior. However, wax can provide a protective barrier in the winter. This makes snow easier to remove and prevents salt from eating away at the paint.
Prep the Interior – Tracking in snow and salt can stain and discolor your flooring and seating.
Your factory floor mats won’t offer much protection from the elements so you will want to purchase some heavy duty floor mats. You can purchase these online and they can be custom fit to your vehicle’s year, make and model. These heavy duty mats will not only keep snow and salt off of the flooring but they will have a gripping surface to prevent slips and will have grooves in place that will hold any snow that drips off of your boots to one area.
Next, you will want to protect your seating. For leather, apply a leather cleaner and wipe the seats clean with a microfiber towel. This will prepare your seats for a leather serum application. A leather serum will will prevent any water from penetrating into the surface and discoloring the leather.
If you have fabric upholstery, be sure to apply a fabric guard to prevent any staining or discoloration.
Remove Snow and Ice Without Scratching the Paint
Another joy of winter weather is cleaning the snow and ice off of our vehicles. Even if you have a garage at home, sometimes you can’t avoid the snow storms that hit while your vehicle is parked in the lot at work. There are actually some techniques you can use to prevent scratching your vehicle when you are removing snow. They will take a bit longer but if preserving your car’s paint is important to you, you will want to follow these steps.
First, start your car and turn on the defrost. This will heat up the windshield and hood for easier removal and therefore requiring less force from your snow removal tool. While the front of the vehicle warms up, start removing snow from the rear of the vehicle. Tackle the top of the car first. Otherwise, if you clean off the top last, it will just bring down more snow to the sides of the vehicle that you already cleaned.
Do not use a snow brush with nylon bristles. Instead use a sponge brush. Or take your nylon brush, wrap a microfiber cloth around the bristles and secure with rubber bands. Absolutely never use a snow shovel to remove snow if you are trying to keep your paint in mint condition.
As mentioned, start at the rear top of the vehicle and begin removing snow and use a step ladder if needed. Instead of pushing the snow, pull it towards you. Remove most of the snow but it’s alright to leave one inch or so of snow and ice. This will protect the paint as the top of the vehicle does not require a complete removal. The main thing is to remove the majority of the snow so that it does not fly off when you are driving and distract you and other drivers.
Move on to the sides of the vehicle. If you are scraping your windows to remove ice, scrape up and down instead of left and right. This will prevent accidental dings to the surrounding exterior.
By now, the front of the vehicle has warmed up significantly allowing for easy snow removal without much force or potential scratching. If there is still a layer of ice on your hood, avoid using your scraper. Instead lift the ice up and remove. Since the vehicle has already been warming up for some time, you should be able to lift up the ice fairly easy.
Wash and Wax Regularly to Remove Salt
Salt is great for making roads safer and saving lives but it can significantly decrease your vehicle’s life span. Did you know that sodium chloride (salt) can corrode your new vehicle in as little as 4 years?
Wash your vehicle at least once a week. Some vehicle owners will even visit the car wash 3 times a week. It may seem counterproductive in the winter because your car will just get dirty the next day. However even if your car doesn’t stay clean for long, the goal is to wash off any salt that can eat away the paint and cause major damage.
Waxing is still important too. As stated earlier, you will want to prep your car with a fresh coat of wax before old man winter hits, but the wax eventually wears off. If you don’t have a warm garage to apply wax, visit your local auto body shop. Pole Position provides detailing services all year round for interiors and exteriors.
We hope you enjoyed this article and learned something. Be sure to check out our next article to learn how to drive safely and avoid accidents while driving in the snow and other inclement weather.
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