Simple steps to protect exterior against harsh weather
Waxing isn’t just for muscle cars on display at auto shows. Laying down a protective layer over clean paint helps your vehicle weather the snow, rain and salty roads of winter.
“Winter always has the harshest elements on the paint itself,” said Mike Pennington, a product expert for Meguiar’s, a company specializing in car care products. “A thorough washing and waxing before winter is crucial for the preservation of your vehicle’s exterior. It’s not just a job for summer.”
A sleek appearance and that smooth-to-the-touch feeling are only part of the benefits of waxing. It can also provide a barrier between your paint and the elements. To get the best results, your vehicle should be washed thoroughly before applying wax, Pennington said.
“If you did not remove the bonded dirt, grime and dead insects from the paint, the wax won’t bond or adhere as well,” he said.
Select a polymer-based wax for more protection, Pennington said. Natural waxes don’t tend to last as long as synthetic products, which can withstand more exposure to rain, snow, salt and magnesium chloride found on winter roadways.
The paint isn’t the only part of the exterior that can be protected. Clay products used to clean a windshield help water repellants work more effectively, he added.
Pennington encouraged driver not to neglect the undercarriage. Pressure washing the fender wells, wheels and around the suspension can remove road grime and minerals that accumulate during winter driving.
Pennington offered the following advice for protecting your vehicle’s finish this winter:
- Make sure the car is washed and clean before waxing. Wax doesn’t adhere well to a dirty exterior.
- Washing and waxing isn’t exclusively a summer task. A clean and protected exterior helps your car handle winter’s harsh elements.
- Choose the type of wax most suited to your application. For example, natural waxes offer excellent protection but typically do not last as long as a synthetic product. According to Pennington, polymer-based waxes have a better chance of making it through the winter.