Snow storms, extreme cold and ice all increase the likelihood of vehicle paint damage in Madison WI. While there are steps you can take to guard against damage, and DIY fixes, a trip to an auto body shop is the high-quality solution.
Snow and ice on their own represent threats to you ride’s paint, but the biggest threat comes from attempts to remove them – salt and corrosives on the road and the tools you use to clean off your car.
In southern Wisconsin you cannot avoid road salt, sand and grit in winter months. That is why keeping your vehicle clean is so important. Professional body shop technicians have suggestions for protecting paint and clean coat while tackling snow and ice.
Tips To Avoid Vehicle Paint Damage
Snow, ice and road salt are the “big three” when it comes to elements attacking vehicle paint. Removing them isn’t as easy as it might look.
Removing snow – your snow removal technique is the biggest threat to your car’s surface. No matter how deep the snow has piled up, never use a shovel on the vehicle. It’s tempting to flip a snow shovel over and use it the slide 6-8 inches of snow off the roof or hood.
Plastic and metal snow shovels have sharp edges designed to scrape ice and packed snow off of hard surfaces. Fine for concrete walks and driveways, they have no place on a car’s paint where they scratch and gouge. If your ride already has a chip or rust spot, they are guaranteed to make it worse.
Be careful with shovels as you clear out areas around and under the car, too. One slip and a door or side panel is easily dinged.
Even the all the products sold for scraping windows that include stiff-fiber brushes are less than ideal. They too scratch in really cold weather.
Products with foam or rubber edges are ideal choices. When in doubt, use your hands to remove snow drifts!
Snow, unless it’s been allowed to pack down and freeze is the easiest element to remove from your car.
Take Care With Ice
Your local body shop knows all about the threat ice poses. But it’s mostly the ice under and around a vehicle, not what’s on top of it. Iced roads bring plenty of business to the auto body repair industry. However, in seasons where ice storms leave everything coated, ice on top can also be damaging.
Removing ice – a thin layer of ice can cause more damage than a heavy layer of snow. Again, the way you try to remove it is the major risk to your paint job. Never use a windshield scraper on a painted surface. By design these tools are created to dig down and are too aggressive for body paint.
Some people think tossing a bucket of hot water on the car is the way to melt ice. It does work. But there are serious side effects. If there’s a weak spot in glass surface the sudden change in temperature might cause a crack. And, if it’s still below freezing the water hitting the ground will refreeze and make walking dangerous.
If your car, truck or SUV already has a chip or rust spot the water will penetrate it. When it freezes there it expands and pushes on the surrounding surface. Depending upon the depth of the blemish it causes paint bubble, chips and cracks. These all open the surface to more serious erosion from road salt.
Once again your hands are the favored tool. Remove the largest chunks carefully. Be aware that too much pressure – like pushing sheets of ice off the trunk lid or roof – often leaves behind a trail of fine line scratches. Using a deicing spray – one approved for vehicle paint – and allowing the vehicle to run and warm up are the best way to deal with ice and reduce vehicle paint damage.
Road Salt Is THE Vehicle Paint Damage Concern
Next to fender benders, road salt is the most likely culprit causing vehicle paint damage and sending you to the local body shop. In Wisconsin, you cannot avoid it. So, you have to learn how to deal with it.
Removing salt – salt makes the sharpest ride ugly in winter and its work on the paint’s surface is uglier still. Keeping a vehicle clean is the first step – easier said than done in winter driving conditions. When salt builds up, there are good and bad ways to remove it.
Body shop pros say never just take a rag or mop and wipe it off. Always wash the surface first. Salt is so abrasive that even gently rubbing the finish will scratch and mar the paint. Rubbing it in also speeds up any corrosion on exposed metal so getting it off as soon as possible is important.
Washing your car in the middle of a Madison WI winter is a challenge. If you’re doing it at home, rinse it thoroughly before any scrubbing. Flush away as much salt and road debris as you can. If you’re using a local car wash, be aware that some are better for your vehicle’s paint job than others.
When you visit an automatic car wash make sure it’s “brushless.” Systems where brushes or foam strips contact the car they often spread road grime and salt from one vehicle to another.
Rely Upon Body Shop Professionals
No matter how hard you try the painted surfaces on your vehicles show wear and stress when spring comes. Chips and scratches are common. When you find damage as the result of winter’s extremes professional painting and bodywork is a wise investment. Removing the old paint and corrosion before applying new paint – and matching the color – isn’t easy. A DIY option is tempting, but getting the work done by a team of professionals you trust and that stands behind it’s workmanship is a long-term investment.
Auto Color provides a wide range of services to care for and repair your vehicles. Visit either of our two complete auto body repair shop locations in the Madison WI area – West on Parmenter Road in Middleton and East on Stoughton Road. We’re the body shop pros when you want the right solution to your vehicle paint damage problem in the Madison WI area.