It’s bad enough those of us who live north of the Mason-Dixon line begin whipping out the winter attire during September. Getting those thicker layers of clothing soaked makes the reality of winter even worse because, really, the last thing anyone wants to be is w-e-t in the already present chill of late Fall. So, many people take the short cut and opt to subject their rides to harsh weather without properly winterizing. Big mistake.
Trust us, the only thing worse than getting soaked in dropping temps is looking at your car a few months in to see ice built up behind the tires and a thick layer of salt and dirt coating the entire side. Winterizing vehicles is really important and actually makes less work for you during the height of the season (and come spring). We’ve covered many of the topics below in detail.
- Servicing the vehicle regularly
- Stocking up on emergency supplies
- Checking the battery and anti-freeze mixture
- Swapping in winter blades and refilling wiper fluid
- Investing in snow tires
- Keeping the gas tank at least half full.
- Checking tire pressure
- Making sure the four wheel drive is in good working condition
- Changing the oil and adjusting the viscosity
- Checking belts and hoses
Today, our efforts are directed at a few tips for winterizing the exterior, undercarriage, and interior of any vehicle.
Winterizing the Exterior
How many people spend their summer afternoons washing and waxing away, making sure their prized rides glisten with every sparkle of the sun? The same special treatment has serious benefits when winterizing vehicles, protecting the paint, wheels, and glass from a harsh beating in the elements. As Autogeek explains, “Snow and ice, and the scraping it takes to remove them, can be as rough on your vehicle as they are on you.”
Turtle Wax reinforces the importance of winterizing the exterior of vehicles in their own informative step-by-step article called How to Prep Your Car for Winter. “For best results, wash your car with a product like Turtle Wax® ICE ® Wash and follow with Turtle Wax® ICE® Liquid or Paste Wax to protect your vehicle’s surface from road salt and snow. Concentrate on the lower parts of your car such as behind the wheels, quarter panels, and front grille where ice, snow, and salt hit hard and stay the longest.”
Drivers will want to protect their glass and wheels from harsh winter weather as well. Products like ProtectaClear add a strong layer to metals, which is ideal for winterizing wheels so they can brave icy and salty road conditions. A windshield washer fluid that won’t freeze up, such as Rain-X all season, is a good choice to coat the glass. While you’re at it, toss a pair of Rain-X Latitude wipers in the cart—rated by Carbibles.com as the best choice for winter blades.
The exterior of a vehicle may take a direct hit during the wintertime, but the interior isn’t immune. You may do your best to keep snow, ice, mud, rocks, and salt outside where they belong, but carrying that mess into your vehicle is unavoidable in many instances—like the snowball that missed you and covered the driver’s seat, or the outdoor elements on your coat that are trekked into the car.
Armor-All products provide a great layer of protection for the hard parts inside a vehicle, but what about soft goods such as seats and carpets, which love to soak up stain-causing agents like it’s their job? WeatherTech and HuskyLiners protect your flooring the same way Covercraft and CoverKing protect those seats.
What Can’t Be Seen
The exterior and interior are prepped and ready to sink their teeth into winter, but what about those areas that can’t be seen? Underneath the vehicle is going to take the worst licking, and there’s almost no way to avoid it. Unless, of course, you simply park the car for the next few months. As that salt and mud builds up, parts will begin to rust. To prevent this, we recommend adding a layer of rust protection to the undercarriage.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. The best method is to have the vehicle professionally undercoated. Another is to apply the undercoating yourself with products like Rustoleom’s Undercoating. Remember, you get what you pay for so with a professional job, you can pretty much set it and forget it for a very long time. If you opt for the DIY spray-on route, expect the life of the undercoating to deteriorate every few months. It will need to be reapplied and time is money, right?
By adding layers of exterior, undercarriage, and interior protection, we reduce the amount of work that has to be done during the harshest parts of winter and thereafter. If it’s something you’re unwilling to do yourself, then enlist the help of professionals—you’ll thank us later.