Hello everyone, and welcome to the first installment of my Car Care Corner! Spring is here now, so what better time to start a new car care routine? In this segment I’ll go over everyday maintenance, how to navigate life after a collision, and just about everything in between.
Cars are a big part of my life. My family owned a collision repair shop for 45 years, so I grew up around cars in a professional atmosphere. (See Mayumi’s January article on Coache Collision to learn the full backstory of the shop).
I’ve worked at Coache for 8 years as a full time Estimator, before that I spent time on-and-off working as their detailer, and helping with odd jobs around the shop. On-and-off work because having a family business meant jumping in and helping out when the need arose. In total, I’ve probably worked there for almost 14 years.
Being surrounded by body shop technicians, automotive painters, and countless other professionals in the automotive space, I picked up a thing or two in the time I’ve spent with them. And that knowledge is what I will try my best to convey to you through these articles, so look forward to many tips and tricks along the way.
Winter has packed it in for the year, the sun is coming out, and some nicer cars are starting to come out of winter hibernation. But what about the cars that were driven all winter long? Those are the ones we will talk about in today’s installment.
The first and most basic thing, if you haven’t done it in a while, is to simply wash your car. Road grime accumulated over winter has salt, one of your vehicles’ worst enemies.
The sand/salt mixture that gets spread on our highways gets thrown up from the tires of the car in front of you chipping your hood, bumper, fender, windshield, you name it.
These rock chips are often chipped deep enough through the protective layers of paint that the salt will start rusting your metal panels. Washing your vehicle with soapy water will get rid of any surface contaminants, and hopefully slow down this rust from coming.
Washing the car can be done by hand with soapy water and a brush/mitt, or you can take it through a car wash facility if you don’t have the means to do it yourself.
One thing I will always recommend to everyone if you’re using a car wash: use a touch-less facility, not the ones with the huge round brushes.
Those giant brushes pick up dirt and all sorts of things from other cars, and those little bits stay stuck in the brushes. When you take your car through those brushes, you are causing all manner of damage all over your car.
Scratches, dents, you name it. If you’re washing the car by hand, rinse out your brushes before using them, and run your hand along it to feel for anything rough that may cause damage.
Once your car is clean and shiny, it’s a good idea to walk around it and inspect the body for any damages that may have shown up during the winter months.
Take a good look at your hood and fenders for those rock chips. Most vehicles these days have plastic bumpers, so there’s no need to worry about rust issues there. Some trucks and SUV’s have metal bumpers though, use a magnet to check if you’re unsure.
Any small damage that you find can be covered with some touch up paint, which can be acquired through your dealer, some auto parts stores, or your favorite bodyshop.
The touch up will cover the affected area, sealing it from the elements and slowing down, if not stopping entirely, the rusting process. The next step up from touch up, is to repaint the panels, and that’s where you come see someone like me for a quote!
There’s a lot of products out there that you can use as an extra protective layer for your paint at this point of the process; available from your local automotive store, or most stores with an automotive section.
My go to is any carnauba based wax. These waxes protect your paint from excessive UV damage, along with helping to repel water, and road grime. Mothers, Meguiars, Turtle, are some of the big name brands you may recognize.
Instructions will be on the packaging, but generally you buff the wax on with an applicator pad that may or may not be included, and then buff off with a fresh microfiber towel. You’ve heard it before, “wax on, wax off”. These products will better the appearance of minute scratches in your paint as well, in most cases.
The waxing doesn’t have to be done after every wash, but it should be reapplied at least 2-3 times per year with a regular washing schedule. Depending on your driving frequency, and how particular you are about your vehicle, you could be washing your car every week, or at least once a month.
I don’t like to let my cars go for more than a month before washing, as it gives those surface contaminants too much time to affect your vehicle after that point. There you have the basic clean vehicle routine, rinse and repeat! (no pun intended).
Thanks for reading, my first Care Care Corner! I hope I was able to impart some of my knowledge to you. There are many more articles to come, and many more topics to cover. If you have any questions about the tips I’ve written, feel free to contact me anytime, my contact info will be at the bottom of these articles. Until next time, drive safe and subscribe so that you will be sure to catch my next installment!