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Winter Paint Protection to Undertake Now

Waxed cars. Use a large sponge or lamb's wool mitt to wash your car.

If you thought high temperatures took a toll on your car’s paint, the worst is yet to come as cold weather brings its own challenges that can cause corrosion. Winter paint protection begins now. Take these steps to protect your investment, and keep your vehicle shining.

Winter Is Coming

Frigid temperatures are a winter staple, but the season brings with it snow, ice, rain and a great deal of mud. Add in corrosive road salt, and the challenge to keep your vehicle clean becomes magnified. Storing your vehicle in a garage or underneath a carport will reduce the burden, but you’ll still have to deal with the elements when you’re out and about.

Here’s how to undertake your winter paint protection regimen:

1. Wash Your Vehicle

The first step requires a thorough washing of your car. You could take it to a car wash, but you’ll still need to perform a second Wash a carstep while at home.

Choose your favorite car-wash product, which is designed specifically for automotive paints. Fill one bucket with water, adding the product early on. Fill a second bucket with just water that you’ll use to clean the sponge or mitt, as needed.

Rinse the car first, then use a lamb’s wool mitt or an oversized natural sponge to apply the soap to the surface. Be generous here — overlap small horizontal strokes across the entire body from the roof to the sides, hood, trunk and down to the rocker panels. Avoid washing the car in direct sunlight as that will leave unsightly spots once you’re done. Work in sections, then rinse that area before the soap dries.

For stubborn material such as tar, bug splatter and tree sap, apply a tougher product designed for that purpose.

2. Dry Your Vehicle

After you rinse the vehicle thoroughly to remove all remaining suds and residue, use a chamois or soft terry cloth to dry it. Work from the top to bottom, blotting the surface to absorb excess water, then dry the remainder.

3. Wax Your Vehicle

Your quest for winter paint protection has now arrived at its most important juncture: applying the wax protectant. Liquid wax is easier to apply, but paste wax is usually more effective for removing embedded dirt. It can also be used with a power buffer.

With the vehicle dried thoroughly and sitting in the shade, you’re ready to begin. Follow the application directions, but in general, you should apply the wax in a circular motion. Consider handling sections one at a time as the wax dries fast. The best approach for wiping away the wax is to use a clean microfiber cloth applied in a circular motion to the finish.

Once done, look for areas where wax inadvertently covered other surfaces, including chrome trim and the lights, wiping any excess off with a cloth.

Job Well Done

Admire your work because you’ve prepared your vehicle for winter’s worst. However, throughout the long, cold season, you’ll want to wash your vehicle regularly to remove salt and dirt buildup. By doing so, you’ll prevent corrosion from the start.

Check out all the paint and body products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on weather protection, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.


Matthew C. Keegan View All

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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