The Paint A Part Blog

Winterizing Your Car Part 2: Prepare Your Car's Paint for Winter Weather

Snow Covered Country Road

Make Sure Your Car’s Paint and Exterior is Ready for Snow and Road Salt

Winter weather is temporary, but its effects on your car can be permanent. Snow and ice crystals can cut into your paint’s clear coating. Other hazards, like road salt and ice scrapers, can also mar your car’s paint. If you’re worried about winter weather damaging your car paint, you can easily winter-proof your auto body. We’ll guide you through winterizing your car, truck, or SUV in a few simple steps.

Start With a Thorough Wash

There are plenty of different chemicals to help protect your paint in winter. In order to get the longest lasting, most effective protection from these products, you need to give your car a thorough cleaning before applying them. Carefully washing off any imperfections from your paint job will help protective coatings adhere better to your car. As colder weather sets in, it becomes more difficult to get your car a thorough wash, so plan accordingly.

Protect Your Car Paint with a Coating

One of the biggest winter hazards to watch out for is road salt. It’s effective at removing the ice from roads, but it can also remove your paint if you’re not careful. The best preventive care for road salt is a high-quality paint coating or sealant. Coatings and sealants aren’t interchangeable. They have the same general purpose, but they use different ingredients. Each product also has its share of strengths and setbacks.

If you’re looking for a way to winterproof then a paint coating, like a car wax or a ceramic coating, is your best option. Paint coatings don’t need a lot of maintenance and they last longer than sealants. A ceramic coating can last up to three or four months –plenty of time to get you through winter. Certain brands of ceramic coating can last years. You’ll also be able to find specialized hydrophobic and ice-repellant coatings for winter weather.

Paint coatings are long-lasting and easy to use, but they are not without their drawbacks. They require a lot of prep work to make them effective, including thorough rinsing, polishing, and applying a solution to prepare the surface for coating.

Winter Proof With Paint Sealants

Row of cars covered in snow

If a paint coating sounds like too much work, paint sealants are another winterizing solution that doesn’t require as much prep work. Synthetic paint sealants don’t provide as much protection as a coating, but they’re durable than most waxes and easier to apply. They also require less upkeep. When selecting a paint sealant, check whether the sealant is safe for your car’s finish. Depending on which brand you buy, you might be able to add a layer of carnauba wax over the sealant for extra protection.

Preparing your car for a sealant is easy: spray an isopropyl alcohol solution into your car, then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. After that you can apply your sealant with an applicator sponge.

Wash Your Car Regularly Over Winter

Soapy car getting washed

Keeping your car clean over the winter months isn’t easy, but it’s an essential step for winterizing your car. When you’re driving in winter, road salt sticks to your car. If left there, the salt will gradually eat away at your paint. You can easily take care of road salt and dirt by using waterless car wash sprays. Most rinseless washes are safe to use not just on your paint, but on other parts of your car, including the wheels, tires, bumpers, and rims.

Use a Protective Covering

Covered parking garage

The process of winterizing your car is all about protection –and there’s no better protection than a good cover. The most effective cover? Indoor parking. If you’re able to, use an indoor parking garage over the winter months.

Not everyone has access to an indoor garage. In that case, you can also use a car cover to protect your paint. Find a specialized car cover that’s built for outdoor use. The best car covers are going to have protection against moisture and impact damage.

If you’re keeping your car parked indoors, and it will be inactive over the winter months, you should also consider getting an indoor car cover. An indoor cover will help keep moisture off your car. Trapped moisture will cause paint damage, rust, and mold.

What if I Need Replacement Auto Body Parts?

Let's face it, you can do everything in your power to protect you car's paint but it's still going to get chipped, scratched, and dinged. When this happens there are inexpensive ways to fix minor body damage. Paint A Part is a premium paint and ship vendor that sells prepainted auto body parts like replacement fenders, pre painted bumper covers, and hoods. Check out our vast selection of replacement auto body parts for most makes and models from Chevrolet and Ford to Honda, Toyota, VW, and many many more.