From having snowball fights to going ice skating, there is much to do in winter weather. The downside is that with winter comes with poor road conditions. Snow plows and salt trucks make the roadways safer, but the salt causes harm to your vehicle in the form of corrosion. It is important you know some simple tips to follow to protect your car paint from the road salt during the winter. So, here’s what you need to do to protect your car’s paint and avoid rust that can also damage other components so that next thing you know, you have to shop for auto parts on sale.

Drive Smart

The less salt that gets onto your car, the better. You need to know the best way to drive in a snowy environment. Therefore, take steps to decrease exposure to road salt:

  • Don’t drive in deep snow
  • Avoid driving through puddles
  • Keep your distance from salt trucks
  • Remove ice chunks from behind the wheels and under the fenders
  • Shake your boots off before entering the car

Wash Your Car Frequently

Another simple solution is to stay on top of washing your car. The ideal frequency is every seven to 10 days, unless you don’t drive your car regularly and it stays in the garage. No matter how often you do it, though, always wash on days prior to the temperatures rising to 35 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, as the warmth kick-starts corrosion from the salt. It’s also best to wash your car after blizzards.

It may be cost-effective to get a monthly pass to your favorite local car wash to save on money (just make sure it doesn’t use recycled water). On the other hand, you can get your own car cleaning products and do the job at home. Remember to rinse the underside thoroughly. If you have to wash your vehicle on a colder day, drive it for a few minutes first and heat the interior to help prevent the water from freezing. Also, do it earlier in the day so it has time to dry. Wear waterproof protective gear so you don’t freeze either when you get wet! When you’re done, open and close the windows, doors, and hatch or trunk to prevent them from freezing shut.

Remember to vacuum out the interior and wash the mats, as well. You may want to switch to rubber mats just for the winter for increased protection and easier maintenance.

Apply Protective Products

Part of keeping your car in good condition is applying products that will safeguard the paint. The most common method is waxing the vehicle, which you should do before winter begins and every few months after that for continued defense against all hazards to the paint job. Another option is something such as 3M paint defender spray film, a clear coating you spray onto all painted parts for a year’s worth of protection. What’s best for your situation may rely on the age, make and model, and usage of your car.

Repair Chips to the Paint

Unfortunately, sometimes the paint will get chipped no matter how many preventive measures you take. If the chip is larger than a pen tip, fix it right away to avoid rust from setting in. It’s much cheaper to repair small areas of damage than to have to repaint your entire car.

With the right upkeep, winter doesn’t have to be a major threat to your car’s appearance. Maintaining these good habits will help your ride look great all year round.