How to Keep Your Ride Looking Sharp in Winter

Harsh road grime can damage exterior surfaces
Harsh road grime can damage exterior surfaces

A little time and effort now means far less work making the car look sharp when the days get longer this spring.

“All this road salt, slush and crud that gets on your vehicle definitely shortens the life of the body work on your vehicle. Run it through the car wash whenever you have a chance. Even though it seems like a losing battle because it’s going to reappear on your vehicle in a few days, (washing) does help the overall life expectancy of your vehicle,” said Bill Gardiner of MotoringTV.

Mike Deddo, a senior research chemist for Turtle Wax, offers the following time-saving tips for car maintenance:

1) Protect the carpet

Invest in some high-quality floor mats, especially if you live in an area that receives a lot of rain and snow. Mats customized for your specific vehicle provide the greatest coverage and help the carpets from being soaked.

Molds and pathogens breed in damp, dark spaces and can make your interior musty and unhealthy. Not only do the mats collect debris and moisture, they are also easy to clean and durable.

2) Don’t neglect the inside of the windshield

A car wash cleanses the exterior of the windshield, but the interior side remains fogged with interior gases and moisture. Clean windows reduce fog’s ability to adhere to the glass and eliminates glare.

Film accumulates on the windshield’s interior and reduces visibility, especially when driving towards light. Blame those pieces of plastic inside your vehicle for the film on your windows. That celebrated new car aroma comes from upholstery and chemicals which create haze. Use a glass cleaner to treat the inside of the windshield whenever you wash your car.

3) Keep the cabin dry

Clean towels stashed in a door’s side pocket come in handy. Use them to wipe your shoes off before getting in the vehicle if you’re worried about your floor getting wet.

Soaked in a sudden downpour? Drape thick towels across the seat and give yourself a dry place to sit. Your vehicle’s warm cabin will quickly melt snow, so be sure you have something to wipe all the water up.

Clear up accumulated gunk like salt and road grime from around the pedals. Routinely use carpet and upholstery cleaners to keep the fabrics clean and fresh. Remember, carpet cleaners are typically more aggressive than upholstery cleaners, so read the directions.

4) Driving in the rain does not substitute for car wash

If you live in a snowy region with salt on the road it’s crucial to get that stuff off your vehicle as soon as possible. Spray waxes are easy to use and a layer on freshly washed paint provides protection from the elements.

Taking time to clean mud, road salt and water spots from winter storms prevents rust and corrosion from setting in.

5) Keep your wheels looking sharp

Sand and salt on the road damages wheels in the same fashion as the vehicle’s body.

Road grime can permanently damage wheels and cause corrosion. Severe corrosion not only diminishes the value of your vehicle but weakens structural integrity of the wheel.

Avoid costly repairs by cleaning the wheels and spraying them with wax. Use the pressure washer at a self-serve car wash on the wheels, tires and undercarriage.