Wash Away the Winter and Prepare for Summer
Winter months take their toll on your car. Treat yours to a spring makeover to keep it looking great all year round.
Whether you drive a £500 runaround or a £50,000 sports car, winter is the great leveller. It can be your car’s worst enemy, proving potentially fatal to the former and shedding thousands in value from the latter.
Now the long winter months are finally behind us and the sun has come out, it is time to arrest the damage and get your car back into tip top shape. From giving it a good clean to using touch up paint to repair any minor damage, here are the steps you need to follow.
Road salt is essential for keeping us safe on those icy winter roads, but it can do serious damage to metal. The solutions used by the gritters are highly corrosive. In winter, many of us don’t see the point in washing the car, as it immediately gets covered in that salty, slushy mess that sprays up from the wheels ahead. But actually, leaving it there is the worst thing you can do.
Now spring is here, give the car a thorough clean from top to bottom, and try to get into all those inaccessible places, such as beneath the wheel arches, front and rear valances and underneath. If that seems a little much, most car wash centres will do it for you, and they have the equipment to do a quick and professional job.
Check for pothole damage
It’s not just metal that gets eaten by that salt – the roads also have a tendency to disintegrate, and the early months of the year are pothole season. Take a good look at the tyres and wheels, checking for cracks, bulges or any other visible damage.
Also keep your ears open. Bumping through potholes can easily damage suspension components, so any strange knocks or groans need to be examined by a professional.
Repair body damage
Poor visibility and slippery road surfaces are part and parcel of winter driving. They also mean that minor knocks and scrapes are far more commonplace than in the summer months. If your vehicle has suffered any minor abrasions, you might be able to polish them out provided they have not breached the outer surface of the paint. Find out by running a fingernail over the scratch and seeing if you can feel a ridge.
For deeper damage, it is even more important to act quickly, as any exposed metal will start to corrode, and what started as a minor chip can soon spread. If you are a DIY enthusiast, it is possible to achieve a good finish using sandpaper, rust convertor, primer and touch up paint, as long as you take your time, exercise patience and follow the instructions to the letter.
Check the floors
If you drive an older car or a classic, it is worth lifting the mats and carpets to check the floors. Older cars let water in from the most unusual places, and if it is left unattended, the car can begin to rust from the inside out.