How to protect your car's exterior

July 29, 2015

It might be what's under the hood that keeps your car running, but don't disregard the importance of your car's exterior. Avoid these common mistakes and add to your car's overall life expectancy.

How to protect your car's exterior

Avoid light fixture problems

  • When changing a bad bulb, clean dirty or corroded sockets with fine steel wool or a small wire brush.
  • Wipe the socket clean of debris before installing the new light bulb.

Fill with washer fluid only

  • Don't add water to the windshield washer reservoir. It won't clean as well as washer fluid, and it may freeze in cold weather and damage the system.
  • Don't try to run your windshield washer system once you suspect there's no more fluid in the tank, or you may damage the washer fluid pump.

Keep an old blanket handy

Protect your car's roof from scratches with an old blanket before tying lumber, bicycles or luggage to your roof rack.

Don’t let tools mar your car’s finish

  • If you plan to service and make repairs to your car, invest in a fender cover.
  • It drapes over your fender, providing a safe place to rest your tools without causing scratches.
  • It will also prevent your belt buckle from marring your paint as you lean into the engine compartment to work.

Don’t try to carry too much

  • Never exceed your car's roof load specifications or weight limits.
  • You can find them in your vehicle owner's manual. Check the weight limitation of your roof rack as well.
  • Typically the range is from 68 to 90 kilograms (150 to 200 pounds).
  • That's the equivalent of eighteen 2.4 metre 38 x 89s (eight-foot 2 x 4s) or three sheets of 17 millimetre (3/4-inch) plywood.
  • If you have to deliver a heavy load from the home or garden centre, consider having it delivered. It will save wear and tear on you as well as your car.

Secure loads to avoid dents and scratches

  • The beginning of the end for the finish on many cars and trucks — and for wagon and hatchback interiors for that matter — is an improperly stowed load.
  • Invest in the appropriate racks for bicycles, cargo and luggage.
  • A good trick to keep tall objects from sliding around in a pick-up truck bed is to use a shower curtain rod (or two) as a brace.
  • Just push the cargo against the front wall of the truck bed and install the rod behind it. Twist to secure.
  • Cargo nets will also help keep objects from banging around and damaging a truck bed.
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