Protect Your Vehicle for Winter

Ensuring your car is well protected is important at all times. During the winter months, your vehicle is exposed to road salts, frost and the occasional sunny warm spells which can serve only to bake all the muck onto your paintwork. It’s essential therefore that adequate protection is in place to keep your car safe from the environmental onslaught.

Road salting is a vitally important part of road safety, but it also has its drawbacks. It can cause serious damage to the bodywork and chassis of your vehicle, unless you take extra care and the right precautions. The interior of the car isn’t safe either, as muddy boots can bring all the salty, dirty slush inside and onto the carpets, mats and upholstery.

You should protect the exterior of your car at the earliest opportunity and ideally before winter sets in. That way, your car is prepared for the winter months. The correct choice of products will give years of protection without the need for repeated waxing and polishing on an ongoing basis. It’s also worth considering protection for the chassis of older cars. Under body and cavity rust proofing is definitely worth doing.

There are a number of very effective protection solutions on the market designed to protect your car from the worst winter can throw at it, with different levels of full up care required. Some solutions require ongoing polishing (e.g. Autoglym Lifeshine), some require only a certain amount of aftercare treatments (e.g. Diamondbrite), while others require no ongoing maintenance whatsoever (e.g. Supagard). Some of these products come with warranties and guarantees of performance, ranging from three years to the lifetime of your ownership of the treated vehicle. Metalmate offers specialist warranted alloy wheel protection. Alternatively, you could consider just polishing or waxing your car, but the effects will wear off over a relatively short period of time and will need to be repeated at least every three months.

Protecting the chassis and cavities of your car is a dirty job and definitely one best left to the determined DIY motorist. But don’t fear; a number of Waxoyl treatment specialists exist. Such treatments are common with off road vehicles like Land Rovers and Range Rovers, imported vehicles, and classic cars. It is, however, still important to do the cavities of other vehicles. Water can often get trapped in cavities: especially in the door, where trapped water will often fail to drain properly. The treatment will typically last up to 5 years, depending on what car you are treating.

Protecting your car paint, upholstery, alloys and chassis is all very well and good, but there are a number of other important factors you should consider in order to get the most out of your car;

FLUIDS: Regularly check your car’s oil, antifreeze and screen wash. In particular, a regular oil change is the simplest and most important element to keeping your engine running properly.

PETROL: Always make sure you have plenty of fuel in your car because you never know when you might get held up or have to take a diversion. If there is a long trip you regularly do on a single tank, fill up before returning: it’s always important to have a contingency plan.

TYRES: Ensure all your tyres have sufficient tread left. In cold weather, it is worth considering installing good quality winter tyres. They are now proven to provide better grip and performance at temperatures below 6°C.

VISIBILITY: Lights bulbs, wiper blades, de-misters, heated windows, etc all need to be in good working order if you are to ensure that you can see other cars properly and they can see you.

BATTERY: With heaters, lights, de-misters and all the rest running, poor weather can mean you put a lot of demand on your car’s battery. Make sure to have your battery tested, especially if it is more than 2 or 3 years old. A dead battery is one of the most common causes for cars failing to start during the winter.

ESSENTIALS: It pays to be prepared! Bring a blanket for warmth, a light source such as a torch, food, water, a first aid kit and a de-icer. It’s worth considering buying an Emergency Winter Survival kit.


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