Winterizing Your Car's Exterior
Providing additional protection for your vehicle in the wintertime is vital to maintaining the paint especially, but also the wheels and glass. Snow and ice, and the scraping it takes to remove them, can be as rough on your vehicle as they are on you. This article will walk you through a few products and procedures that will give your vehicle just what it needs to weather the winter storm.
Two words: road salt. Salt used to de-ice the roads can also de-paint your vehicle if you’re not careful. A quality wax or sealant combined with correct maintenance will get your paint finish through the chilly months.
Your best bet for winter paint protection is a paint sealant because they tend to last longer and require less frequent reapplications. If your only concern is durability, Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze offers the best long-term protection. Its acrylic-based formula is like body armor for your car and it lasts up to a year. The finish is not as dramatic as that of a wax, but if the sun peaks out one day, you can use a carnauba topper like Pinnacle Souverän Carnauba Wax to amp up the shine.
If you prefer a balance of durability and gloss, use Wolfgang Deep Gloss Paint Sealant 3.0. Once cured, Wolfgang Deep Gloss will provide 4-5 months of paint protection and an attractive, high gloss finish. It's beauty and substance rolled into one easy-to-use product.
The Forum Favorite Kit gives you both the acrylic protection of Klasse and the carnuaba shine of Souveran. Start with All-In-One to clean the paint, seal it with Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze, and then top off the paint with Pinnacle Souveran. The Klasse twins will absolutely protect the paint from snow and ice, and the Souveran wax makes it easy to maintain a nice shine.
We’ve heard great things about the durability of Collinite Insulator Wax #845; 5-6 months on average. It has a nice gloss and an amazing water-beading effect. Multiple layers is the key to durable protection all winter long.
Duragloss Total Performance Polish (TPP) #105 is another long-lasting synthetic sealant that stands up well to the elements all year round. Layer this over Duragloss Polish Bonding Agent (PBA) #601 for the maximum benefits.
The ultimate way to protect your paint through the winter months is with a coating. McKee's 37 Paint Coating is one of the more popular choices. This particular product is comprised of nano-glass ceramic particles and state-of-the-art cross-linking polymers. As soon as these nano-glass ceramic particles make contact with your paint, they begin to fill in light swirls, pits, and pores to make the surface perfectly smooth, preventing dirt, water, oil and anything else from adhering. McKee's 37 Paint Coating is resistant to alkaline cleaners, degreasers and harsh detergents, making it a great choice for winter paint protection. Application is simple, straightforward and the protection lasts up to two years.
Winter washing can be a challenge, but you don’t want to leave road salt on your vehicle. McKee's 37 Rinse Free Wash & Wax is a unique car wash that does not require rinsing, or even running water. All you need is 2 gallons of water, a clean wash mitt, and a microfiber drying towel. McKee's 37 Rinse Free Wash & Wax the paint with plenty of lubricants and it does not need to be rinsed, which makes it perfect for use inside a garage (preferably with a space heater!). And, McKee's 37 Rinse Free Wash & Wax keeps your paint protection intact.
Wheels & Tires:
Protect your vehicle’s wheels just like the paint. Use McKee's 37 Wheel Glaze, a protective wax for your wheels. It prevents brake dust adhesion, which is a problem year-round, and it repels snow and ice. It does require regular reapplications to maintain a high level of protection but the results are well worth the effort. Another great option is McKee's 37 Wheel Coating. This product is a nano-based ceramic glass coating that provides the best protection possible for your wheels. Like McKee's 37Wheel Glaze, it will keep the wheels clean and protected, but it will last noticeably longer. Application is simple and straightforward.
Tire protection is two-fold. For starters, the rubber needs to be kept supple in freezing temperatures to prevent cracking. Pinnacle Black Onyx Tire Gel looks great but most importantly; it hydrates the rubber to keep it flexible.
Secondly, make sure your tires are properly inflated. The air inside tires shrinks in cold temperatures. If they become under-inflated, the tread will not make enough contact with the road to maneuver on icy asphalt. Accutire’s Professional Metal Digital Tire Gauge measures psi from 5 to 99 in half pound increments.
Windshield and wipers:
Wurth Windshield Wash Additive is an antifreeze and cleaner that will keep your windshield clean and frost-free. Simply add it to your windshield washer fluid according to the directions. The additive protects against freezing down to -22°F and overspray will not affect paint, plastic, or rubber.
Everyone in snow-prone areas needs a quality ice scraper. The Ice Master Ice Scraper removes all kinds of frost, snow and ice from the windshield and windows with four blade configurations.
If scraping doesn't appeal to you (we understand!) 1Z Einszett De-Icer Spray is a quick solution to an icy windshield. 1Z Einszett De-Icer Spray penetrates and speeds up the removal of light snow, ice, and frost. It does the hard work for you, so you can easily push the frosty remnants off the glass.
If your vehicle is covered in snow, you’re garage floor soon will be. The Park Smart Heavy Duty Clean Park Garage Mat has a raised, removable lip around its edges to hold liquid until you have the opportunity to squeegee it out of the garage. The mat also catches oil to prevent stained concrete.
If you travel during the winter, you must have a Battery Tender battery charger! A Battery Tender battery charger keeps your car battery fresh over long periods of inactivity, saving you the cost of battery replacement. The Battery Tender Plus is our most popular model.
Check out our winter car care kits below for excellent savings on winter essentials.
Cover it up!
If you have to park outside during the winter months, consider a car cover. The Block It 400 Evolution cover is heavy duty protection against moisture and impact. If you want considerable protection in a lighter weight cover, the WeatherShield HP cover is manageable enough for everyday use and it offers great protection against the elements.
WeatherTech Floorliners offer durable, full coverage protection for your vehicle's carpet. These mats hold moisture, like snow and mud, and cover more area than traditional floor mats.
De-Icing Your Vehicle
Once winter sets in, arm yourself with the best ice scrapers and snow movers. Choose from the SubZero CrossOver Super-Duty Snow Broom or the SNOBRuM Snow Removal Tool. Each tool is made for heavy duty ice and snow removal and they're safe on automotive surfaces.
Ice scraping is easier when you use 1Z Einszett De-Icer Spray. It penetrates snow, ice, and frost so it can be easily scraped away.
Clean your windshield and prevent re-icing with 1Z Einszett Anti-Frost Washer Fluid. It works down to -20°F!