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5 ways to protect your car from winter damage

Snow and salt can damage your vehicle if not treated properly. Here are 5 easy ways to protect your car during the winter months.

Snow, salt and cold weather can wreck havoc on your vehicle and its paint. If not treated properly, you could be causing more harm than good that can cost you bigger bucks down the road.

Daryl Collette is the President and Owner of Automotive Quality Solutions in Ashburn, Virginia. He says they've had to repair damage caused by people clearing snow off their cars using household brooms and yes, even shovels. 

Daryl says even many of the tools you buy at your local auto parts shop can cause unexpected damage. If your car already has salt and buildup on it, those brushes with aggressive and stiff bristles could actually be grinding  it into your paint.

Here are 5 things to remember to protect your car from Old Man Winter.

1) Use a tool with a foam head or soft brush and a retractable handle to remove snow from the top of your vehicle.

2) Think about preventive treatment like a sealant to protect your cars paint. 

Daryl says "If you go to a local detail shop or car wash they try and sell you wax. Wax is organic and typically doesn’t last that long, 30 – maybe 45 days. This time of year, we recommend a sealant, which in our world is a fancy word for synthetic wax. They will last 6 months, up to 2 years. There’s also a permanent coating, we do a ceramic coating that never wears off. When you get all that salt on top of those, it creates a barrier between your paint and clear coat so when your wiping things off or the salt is sitting their you have a little bit more protection to help keep your car looking it’s best when you do clean it. "

3)  Clean your car as often as possible. The less buildup of chemicals on your car, the less chance for damage.

4) Immediately, wash off any excess chemicals.

We've all done it right? Put our coffee mug on the hood of our car, forget it's there and drive off. All of a sudden, our car gets a warm, coffee bath. Well, if that happens. Daryl says it's best to wash it off immediately. The same goes for any gas that may drip on the side of the vehicle when filling the fuel tank.

"Coffee is acidic, if your getting gas and it spills on the car, that’s corrosive to the paint. If you have a good wax or coating, the coffee isn’t as dangerous because it’s protected by the chemicals, but if you don’t have that on, water it down and get it as diluted as possible."

5) Take care of bird droppings as soon as you can.

It doesn't sound pleasant, but bird droppings are also acidic and can cause corrosion. Daryl says damage can be done in as little as 15 minutes. He recommends removing them with a damp cloth, and ideally using a quick detail spray using a microfiber towel. 

Click here for more tips on how to protect your car, and more information on Automotive Quality Solutions.