How to Get Your Vehicle Winter-Ready

(NUI) - As summer comes on, the harsh winter is probably only a memory for you. But your vehicle may still be suffering from the pounds of salt and other contaminants heaped on it during cold months past.

"The benefits of thoroughly cleaning and protecting your vehicle are more apparent in the spring and early summer than at any time of the year," notes Rob Garlo, technical manager for Ziebart TidyCar. "Months of salt or sea air contaminants, along with dirt, grime and road tar, will cause interior fabric and exterior paint deterioration if untreated."

A few passes through the local car wash and a quick vacuuming of the seats and carpet are not enough to remove the chemicals eating away at car surfaces, Garlo says. Even a thorough cleaning is not sufficient to keep the vehicle from prematurely aging.

One must also use proper protective coatings to preserve the life of the vehicle and make its interior and exterior colors vibrant as they were when it was new.

"Today's car and truck interiors are especially difficult to maintain because of the variety of materials, such as nylon, vinyl, leather and plastic," Garlo says. "Newer vehicles have tighter seat and carpet weaves that need professional equipment and products to remove ground-in dirt and stains."

While the new seat fabrics may help hold the driver in place, the do-it-yourselfer may find cleanup more of a chore than in the past.

New high-tech products developed in the last few years, such as Ziebart TidyCar "Knock-Out" mildew deodorizer and "Back to Black" molding restorer, are needed to truly renew a modern vehicle.

Garlo advises vehicle owners with the new "two-component" waterborne clear-coat paint to choose auto polishes and paint sealant formulated to maintain the showroom-like luster and color of these special paints.

For older cars with common scratches and small imperfections caused by stones and parking lot damage, repainting may not be necessary. A color-matched, permanent repair system, called ChipFix¨, may be all that's needed. This process maintains the integrity of the painted surface while eliminating the possibility of outer body corrosion.

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