Protecting your pride and joy and one of your biggest investments this winter. The car has become an extension of its owners’ personality, as well as accounting for a large part of our hard-earned income. Let’s face it, as Americans we love our cars. We want them to look good, ride smoothly, and last a long time. Then, of course, there is the weather. Man is constantly adapting to his environment and adjusting to its climate. We put things on the roads so we can drive in any weather without fear of becoming the next human-powered hockey puck.
During the winter months, different agencies apply different things to the roads to keep them drivable, such as salt, sand, and de-icing chemicals, which don’t harm the environment but can destroy a regular waxing. Magnesium sulfate works great to keep cars from sliding into guardrails and ditches, but it’s hell on refinishing cars. With rust and corrosion threatening to destroy your investment and reduce the value of your car by thousands of dollars, the stakes are high. We may not yet be able to control the weather, but we can bring you the advice of years of experience and industry knowledge to help you minimize your risk, fight Jack Frost, and work with Mother Nature to coexist and navigate successfully. in the winter. How can you win the war against winter?
Winter is coming and soon it will be in full swing. The roads will be packed with tourists and fans of outdoor sports. You and your car must be ready. We know from experience that bare metal rusts when exposed to moisture and harsh elements. Look around your car, are there any paint chips? Even small chips can allow moisture to get under your car’s finish and through all of the metal. It goes without saying that holes in your car won’t improve your chances of getting good resale value. And if your car is on a lease, you’ll be hit hard when you return it. There are several things you can do to care for these chips now. To find a chip repair person, visit the Paint Bull website and search for one of their 500 mobile chip repair dealers. If you have a fiberglass body or a mostly plastic car, like a Saturn, it might not be as critical if you have one or two chips.
All cars that are driven in severe winter climates need some type of base coat. There are many options. You can go to your local auto parts store, buy a can of basecoat and spray it yourself or you can go to any auto detailing company and have it done for around $80-100. There are some detailed companies that have multiple stores across the country, as well as mobile units, that can provide you with this base layer. You can also go to the ziebart website, they have 216 stores across the country. They have been closing stores at a rapid rate of around 30 per year. They charge around $200-300 and will touch up the base coat job for free every year. They use this as a trick to get you to walk into their store next year and sell you more stuff. Your warranty is of questionable value as if the store closes, who will do the warranty work? Another problem with a lifetime warranty is that most people don’t own their cars for their entire lives.
If you own a truck or cargo van, you may want to consider a liner. There are a few different types of liners. Rhino Lining in Rhino Lining Westbite has a rubber-like lining. An average bed is about $300. There’s Line X which is a harder liner on the Line-X website and Permatech which has a really good liner that falls somewhere between Line X’s hard liner and the softer one from Rhino Lining. All of these brands have hundreds of franchisees and distributors. You can conveniently search their websites to find a location near you. The going rate is around $300 for an 8 foot bed and you can bargain a bit with your local dealer.
What can you do to protect your car paint? Several things. It is important to understand the different types of wax and how they perform against salt spray tests. Carnauba, the most popular name for wax among consumers, does not hold up well to harsh salty conditions, thawing wet areas, or magnesium chloride-soaked roads. However, it works well against roads that have been covered with sand. Teflon and silicone waxes do not work well in any of these conditions or in colder climates.
So what is the best modern wax for these winter environments? Polymers work best, but are usually applied in a liquid form and are therefore applied in thinner coats. Multiple coats may be required to ensure protection lasts longer than three months. It is best to apply several coats and then reapply in three months. If you don’t feel like you want to do this yourself, you can call a number of companies that provide on-site service at your home or office. National Detail Systems has more than 300 distributors.
Ask about polymeric wax and ask for a multi-coat discount. Expect to pay $65-90 plus $15-25 for each additional coat from National Detail Dealers. It will vary significantly from dealer to dealer. The Car Wash Guys are standard priced and charge $35 for a polymer outer layer and charge $10 for additional layers. Many car washes also have quick detail service from $35-55. For a list of car washes and the new JD Powers Car Club website. This site is quite useful. The website will give you a map to the nearest car wash based on the zip code you enter. You can print it out and drive and wax your car. Fixed-site car washes vary so much from operator to operator that it’s hard to say how much extra coats will cost—it may even depend on what day of the week you go, which manager is working, and how busy they are that day. You should try to go on a Tuesday.
You may want to put a protective coating on the carpets in your cars. The very popular product ScotchGuard was withdrawn from the market this year due to environmental issues in manufacturing and is no longer available. Blue Coral makes a similar aerosol product, though not as good as 3M’s former leading brand. With the new genetic splicing of nylon woven into cotton plants, we are seeing a new generation of vehicle interior mats. It is more durable, easier to clean, and holds up well to multiple steam cleaning passes. Perhaps a simple plastic covering over the rugs is your best bet. Most minivans these days come with plastic covers, and if yours doesn’t, you can buy plastic covers for next to nothing at any auto parts store.
There are also some very high-tech solutions for car protection. For window glass there is a hydrophobic treatment called Diamon Fusion. Prevents window chips and allows you to drive in heavy rain without using windshield wipers. A simple solution can be RainX, which can be purchased at any auto parts store for around $5. All of the companies listed in this article can also install RainX for you. Be sure to ask them to apply it to interior windows as well because it prevents unnecessary fogging when you don’t have the defroster set correctly. The cladding industry has evolved and a glass cladding for use on the bottom tiles of the Space Shuttle emerged from the NASA Space Program, which can be laid at room temperature. It gets 2 to 4 millimeters thick. Glass, of course, is impervious to moisture.
This new revolution in ceramic technology is also being perfected by the Japanese. PP&G, the leading automotive paint company, is also at the forefront of this new field, and we may soon have a new, more advanced clearcoat for 21st century automobiles. That’s the good news. We may see a new automotive clear coat that will make waxes obsolete for years to come. The bad news is that, for now, there is no substitute for waxes, liners, and foundation. You can pay now or pay later. You really should consider protecting your investment. If you don’t take this opportunity to plan your winterization strategy, Mother Nature already has a plan of her own and it’s coming soon.
Many people will only keep their car for two years on a lease and then trade it in for a new model. So if there are no chips in the paint, you may just need a single coat of polymer wax and new wiper blades before winter. However, if you are going to keep your car for many years, protect your investment against the inevitable winter. Keep in mind that most manufacturer’s body and paint warranties do not cover salt or environmental damage. If you pay attention to these simple things, you can cruise through the winter without a problem as long as your tires don’t remind you and you can still afford gas.