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Winter Can Be A Tough Season On
Your Vehicle's Paint Finish

Snow, rain, ice, road salt and gravel -- all can contribute to the deterioration of even today's durable finishes. Yet there are some simple things you can do to help protect your vehicle's paint this winter and throughout the year.


"Caring for your car's paint is obviously a good investment," says David Heckeler of I-CAR, a nonprofit collision repair training organization. "A well-maintained finish enhances the vehicle's value at trade-in time. More importantly, the paint helps prevent rusting of sheet-metal parts."


Therefore, one of the best ways to protect your vehicle's finish, according to Heckeler, is to park out of the elements whenever possible. If you do have to park outdoors in the winter, don't use an ice scraper on anything but the windows; scraping ice or snow off painted surfaces is likely to damage the finish.


If you live in an area that uses road salt to melt ice or snow, Heckeler says it's a good idea to frequently clean and rinse areas of the vehicle where salt might collect. This includes the engine compartment and wheel wells, lower trim pieces, and inside door edges.


Another culprit identified by Heckeler is gravel used to improve traction on slippery roads. It can be damaging to a vehicle's finish.


Slow down, not only to avoid losing control of your vehicle, but also to reduce the amount of gravel kicked up onto your vehicle and the vehicles behind you. Stay far enough back from the vehicle in front of you so that you're not driving into a spray of gravel.

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