At the first hint of winter weather, the “salt trucks” are out and the threat of road salt damage to your vehicle gets real. You cannot stop driving around Madison WI but you can take steps to protect your car’s finish. Winter driving puts you and your car, truck or SUV between a proverbial “rock and a hard place” – ice melting agents make roadways safer, but they are corrosive and threaten automotive paint.
On a positive note, salt and chemical road treatments don’t lead to immediate rust. It takes time. That gives you time to take action. Salt has to work its way through a vehicles finish to bare metal where it corrodes and rusts. It has to eat its way through layers of clearcoat, paint and primer. Thanks to great strides in modern clear coats, paints and primers, road salt is less likely to do real harm than it once was.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware of the threat and take regular steps to protect your car. Getting rid of salt sludge and grime not only makes you vehicle look good (and you feel good) it’s long-term protection. Road salt damage often gets its start in areas you cannot see and slowly eats away at metal.
Fight Road Salt Damage With A Car Wash
Frequent car washes are the best weapon you have against salt damage. High pressure sprays, especially underneath the vehicle, flush away salt residue before it can eat into crevices.
Do you think parking your car in a warm garage where the sludge and ice melts and fall off is safeguarding it? Think again. Rust forms when moisture and oxygen combine on metal. Add salt and the process speeds up. Coming in from the cold causes condensation on auto body surfaces – think “steamed up glasses.” Bringing a vehicle in from the cold is great for its engine and transmission, but no necessarily for the body parts.
Not all car washes are created equal. While more work, using a do-it-yourself wash bay can be a better alternative to a full-service car wash for frequent cleaning. Why? Modern car washes feature “reclaimed” water – environmentally-friendly techniques reuse rather than waste wash water. Unfortunately, during peak winter months that water can contain traces of salt and other ice melting chemicals. A regular clean rinse is important.
If you opt for the DIY solution take care to avoid anything that might scratch paint or clear coat. That include rough-bristled brushes. And never knock ice off a painted surface with a sharp-edged scraper or other tool. Even a small scratch leaves the surface vulnerable to salt penetration.
Car Wax – No. 1 Winter Protection
The most important element of a full-service car wash is the application of wax. Wax makes your car shine and look great, but there’s more to it than that. It provides an outer layer of protection between paint, clear coat and the elements. Never is it more important than when roads get coated with ice melting corrosives. Wax also protects from the UV rays of the sun – which are harsh in winter, too. You don’t want you ride’s paint job fading, right?
Unfortunately, the benefits of a good wax job wear off so it needs to be redone. Ideally, you’ll rewax every time you wash the car.
Here’s a tip – apply a coat of wax to headlights and brake lights and it will help keep snow from sticking so you can see and be seen better.
You take pride in your vehicles, especially when it’s looking its best, right? That’s why consulting a professional auto body shop for winter protection makes sense. Auto detailing is an AutoColor specialty. In the winter it’s more valuable than ever. With experience, skill and the right tools a pro gets protection into all the tight spaces.
Beyond wax, there are protective film coatings available. Paint protection sprays on as a thin film. It’s ideal for areas like rocker panels wheel well openings, bumpers, painted grill areas and hoods.
On Madison area roads your vehicles comes into contact with a lot of elements beyond snow, ice and road salt. Spills and diesel residue coat the roads and are additional threats. A clear coat protective layer is an added buffer worth considering.
Preventing Beats Repairing Road Salt Damage
Anything you can do to keep salt and other corrosives from getting a hold on your vehicle is worth the effort. Rust and corrosion is a cancer creeping into a car’s system. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies for sure.
When snow is forecast and roads are pretreated against what’s coming, you know the threat is real. However, in Southern Wisconsin early snow is often followed by attractive fall days. No snow left on the roads doesn’t mean there isn’t salt residue at work.
Driving through dozens of local neighborhoods roadways are chokes with leaves. If you park beneath trees shedding their fall colors your car can get a coating. Auto paint professionals urge you to remove and wet leaves as soon as you can. You think they’re a harmless nuisance, right? They are more than that. A coating of leaves provides heat that holds moisture and salt residue. It gives the chemicals a place to take hold. Clean the leaves off ASAP – don’t overlook inside wheel wells
AutoColor’s experienced auto detailing and paint professionals know how to protect your car, truck and SUV with the latest technology. For a pre-winter touchup and regular wash/wax treatments call or stop into one of our local shops: in Middleton on Parmenter Road or on Madison’s East Side on Stoughton Road near Buckeye. You take pride in your car, SUV or truck and want it to look its best for a long time, right? We’re at your service to help you wage war on road salt damage in the Madison WI area.