Critical tips for protecting your vehicle’s exterior from winter wear

Making sure your car or truck is ready for winter is an important aspect of being a responsible driver. But preparing your vehicle isn’t just about checking your fluids and filling your tires – Old Man Winter can take a toll on a vehicle’s exterior, which means it needs the proper protection too.

Freezing rain, snow, sleet, salt, road chemicals … a winter wonderland doesn’t come without its side effects. For cars, these can cause devastating damage to the exterior, aging the vehicle and quickly becoming a headache to the owner. Follow these steps for protecting your car’s exterior during cold weather, no matter what region of the country you live in.

Step 1: Wash regularly
Keeping your car squeaky clean isn’t just for warm days. If anything, the salt, sand and chemicals on winter roads make washing even more important during cooler times of the year. How often should you wash? According to J.D. Power, vehicles should be washed when the paint starts to look dirty from two car lengths away. In times of inclement weather with extra salt and chemicals on the road, you should consider washing your vehicle sooner by heading to your local car wash or self-serve washing station.

Step 2: Replace wiper blades
Quality wiper blades serve two important purposes during winter – they help clean the glass from chemicals and elements that cause etching and cracking, plus they help keep the windshield clear for safe driving. Even though most people think of the cold temperatures during winter, the sun’s ultraviolet rays can be extreme this time of year, especially when reflected off of snow. These rays can quickly damage the rubber on the wiper blade, causing it to crack and function incorrectly. Replace blades immediately if you notice streaks or a scraping noise. You’ll keep your vehicle’s exterior protected and front window clear on the roadways.

Step 3: Cover truck beds
Trucks are great for navigating through winter weather. But if a truck has an open bed and is parked outdoors, it can quickly fill up with snow, sleet and freezing rain. Who wants to shovel out their truck bed? Protect your bed and extend its use year-round with an Access Tonneau cover. Custom fit to each truck model, the Tonneau’s fabric is pliable in temperatures as low as negative 40, yet strong enough to withstand heavy snow and ice that may build up on top of it when parked outdoors. When hauling, the cover protects the contents underneath while ensuring your truck bed remains safe from the elements. A tonneau cover also prevents your cargo from blowing out of the box and earning you a ticket for littering – which can leave you stuck with a sizable fine.

Step 4: Wax well
Most people forget about the importance of wax during the winter months. While wax protects a car’s paint during summer’s heat, it creates a critical barrier between a vehicle’s exterior and the salt and grime of the road during winter. Have your car professionally waxed and it should last for multiple months. If you do it yourself, make sure to apply the wax in a warmer environment, such as a heated garage. If you have alloy wheels, special wheel wax can help provide protection from brake dust and decay from salty deposits.

Vehicles are a big investment, so it’s important to keep them looking and functioning well, both inside and out. Follow these tips to prevent winter’s wear from taking a toll on your vehicle’s exterior.

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