undercarriage damage from winter weatherThroughout the winter season, multiple factors can put extra wear and tear on your car’s paint, especially if you live in New England. Incorrectly cleaning off snow, ice and sleet may scratch your car’s paint job, increasing the chances of rust formation.

Rock salt covering the roads and sprayed from other cars significantly speeds up the oxidation process, whether it gathers in the wheel wells and undercarriage or gets into a scratch on your paint.

For these reasons, diligently watch your car for scratches, signs of rust and protect the paint with the following tips.

Wash Your Car Regularly

Washing is the most efficient solution to get rid of salt, dirt and other accumulated debris. Go over the paint and undercarriage every couple of weeks and after major storms – whichever comes first.

Not all washing techniques are equal – especially when you want to avoid scratching your car’s surface. To avoid damaging the paint:

  • Use a soap specifically formulated for cars – no body wash or hand soap.
  • Consider using a pressure sprayer to get rid of buildup, without using a standard rubbing motion that could scratch your car.
  • After you’re done, wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.
  • Finish the job by applying a spray wax to reinforce any existing application.

Patch Over Any Scratches

Leaving any scratch exposed, particularly ones that go all the way down to the metal, give rust a clear pathway to start eating away at the body. If you notice even the smallest chip, have it painted over at an auto body shop to protect the paint and avoid any application blunders.

Be Conscious of How You Clean

Certain tools and methods may scratch your car’s surface. Be wary of the following:

  • Don’t use a shovel to remove snow from your vehicle. The hard, sharp edges could nick or scratch the paint.
  • Avoid using an ice scraper on painted surfaces. Designed for glass, this tool may scratch.
  • While softer, brooms are known to leave streaks on the paint, causing debris and salt to sit on the surface. Brushing may drag these substances across the paint, leaving scratches behind.
  • Have a brush that’s specifically dedicated to removing snow from the body of the vehicle. These tend to have softer bristles, which are far less likely to create micro-abrasions on the paint’s surface.

Wax the Car

Wax creates a thicker barrier against scratches that also allows precipitation to bead up and roll off. Ideally, waxing should be done right at the start of the season, with a full detailing job. Depending on the weather conditions in your area, a few at-home touch-ups with a spray bottle further protects your paint from the element.

Look for a polymer-based formula and use a polisher. Avoid waxing out in the sun and start in thin coats, added one at a time with 12 hours of curing in between. Polish the area with a microfiber towel after you’re done.

As a secondary measure, many drivers in the Northeast opt for a protective film or sealant on top of the wax. In both cases, it adds an additional layer of anti-stick protection against any dirt, gravel, debris and salt, keeping your paint pristine in the process.

Keep It Covered

If your home has a garage, this seems like a no-brainer. Keeping your car indoors provides a temperature-controlled environment away from the road salt sprayed by other vehicles into your driveway.

If you don’t own a garage, look into other protective measures, like temporary enclosed carports, a tarp secured in place or a custom car cover. In any case, make sure this solution prevents moisture from passing through and offers UV protection. It should also be comprehensive enough to block out any spray and slush from the street.
Whether your car needs a professional wax application, comprehensive exterior detailing, rustproofing or a new paint job, bring it to DaSilva’s Auto Body for quality work. To set up an appointment, give us a call today.