Winter Driving Tips To Keep Your Car In Pristine Condition
Winter is upon us and that means winter driving. Driving in the winter should always include maintaining your car with a little extra care until spring has arrived.
One of the main challenges of a cold winter is learning how to avoid rock chips and damage that can make your car look horrible and reduce its lifespan.
The good news is that you can minimize your chances of these pesky winter weather hazards and still have a beautiful car come spring. You just have to prepare yourself for the challenge and take some precautionary steps.
The following guide was prepared by our experts and is designed so that anyone who owns a car can fight back against winter and have a great ride all year long.
Avoiding Rock Chip Damage On The Road
Rock chips are the worst. They can damage your vehicles windshield and ruin the paint job. And with construction continuing throughout the winter, you are almost always at risk.
This is why you have to be vigilant to get rid of them – or even better, make sure they don’t happen in the first place.
First, adjust your speed for winter driving conditions. You’ll be able to see if there is gravel or other rock debris on the road. The faster you drive, the less you can see and the more force you are applying to that road dust.
If you are going 90 km per hour, you are exerting a lot of force onto the road, which can cause debris to fly up. Reducing your speed to 60 km per hour, or slower when you see rocky terrain reduces the chances that debris will fly up, and it should pass harmlessly under your car.
Secondly, allow more space than usual between you and the driver in front of you. Remember, it’s not only your wheels bringing up rocks you have to worry about – it’s the car in front of you as well.
Don’t tailgate. Not only does it increase your chances of being damaged by salt or debris, but it also increases the risk of an accident. You can easily add a full car length or more of extra space between yourself and the car in front of you. This is particularly important if you are behind an SUV or a large truck – both of which send lots rock chips into the air.
Thirdly, check out the road. Being observant of what you are about to drive into can make all the difference in the world. If you see rocks or ice, slow down or attempt to drive around them. Avoidance is one of your best bets in the fight against rock chips.
Being more pro-active, you can purchase a car bra for the front of your car. This is where most rock chips happen.
A good car bra will deflect most of those chips away – and leave the front of your car looking great – while making sure rocks don’t fly into your windshield. This combined with avoiding likely rock chip spots can go a long way toward keeping your car in the best shape possible.
Avoiding Road Salt Damage To Your Car
Road salt is the most effective way to melt snow and ice on the road. It is a boon to traffic officials and a huge bust for drivers.
When a winter storm hits – both before and after – the city often lays down a thick layer of road salt to keep traffic moving. The problem for drivers is that it is a deeply corrosive agent that attacks the undercarriage of your vehicle, paint and more.
Luckily, there are ways to minimize, if not completely eliminate, the damage to your vehicle by being pro-active. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can avoid road salt damage.
Wax your car before the storms hits and after every car wash. Most car washes now offer a wax option, and it is well worthwhile. A good coat of wax goes a long way toward offering protection to your paint. It will repel smaller amounts of road salt and keep your car looking good.
Then bring your car in to a shop and have them pretreat your undercarriage. Your undercarriage is where a lot of vital systems – exhaust, muffler, coil springs, subframe and hydraulic brake systems – located, often unprotected and exposed to the elements.
Putting an anti-rock or anti-salt spray treatment on them is a great way to protect them.
Now that you are prepared, get ready to wash your car thoroughly after every snow storm. It can take a while for the corrosive elements in road salt to do damage, so it’s best to get them off of your car as quickly as possible. You are going to want to also wash underneath your car as well, even if you have a protective coating.
During a storm, do not drive immediately behind a plow truck or salt truck. Guess what – that’s when they are laying out the road salt! If you drive behind them, you are getting pure road salt sucked into the undercarriage of your car. That’s not good at all.
Either remain well back of plow trucks or pass them if safe to do so. This will go a long way in avoiding damage or at the very least making sure the damage isn’t that severe.
Also, keep your car away from puddles. Driving through a puddle may seem like fun, and trying to drive around them may feel like a pain in the butt, but puddles are often filled with road salt.
When you drive through them, you are covering your undercarriage in road salt. You should also be careful to not actually park in a puddle. This can cause your vehicle and important components to essentially marinate in corrosive materials.
Finally, have someone look at your car before the first big storm. There may be things in your undercarriage that are already starting to corrode. They should be replaced before they spread their corrosion to connecting systems in your vehicle.