How Weather & Climate Affect Car Care

Lamborghini in Summer & Porsche in Winter

Depending on where you are located in the world, weather and climate play a huge role in maintaining the appearance of your car. Some places, like Chicago, have four distinct seasons while others, like Arizona, really only have one or two. Internationally speaking it gets even wackier—there’s sand to deal with in much of the Middle East, constant showers in the United Kingdom, tremendous heat and humidity in Singapore, and all sorts of other circumstances that warrant a unique approach to detailing. Rather than dive into each specific region and climate, let’s take a look at some of the main ideas…

High Heat

As you may know, heat can diminish protective barriers on your car such as waxes or sealants. Fortunately, there are product choices that can eliminate the need for concern. For example, a polymer based paint sealant will retain its durability much better than a traditional carnauba paste wax. The same goes for wheel protection: oil based sealants are an easy choice because there is no melting point. Heat also affects trim and rubber since, usually, heat is accompanied by strong UV rays. It’s always smart to increase the protection on all surfaces if you’re in an area that experiences high heat on a regular basis.

Extreme Cold

When it’s really cold out, there are plenty of things that combat the idea of proper car care. The big one is quite obvious: you don’t want freeze your tail feather off. It’s cold, and unless you have a nice heated garage, it’s pretty tough to even find a place to detail your car. The key here is to be proactive and protect before it’s too cold to bear. And if at all possible, find a friend’s garage (or a local public garage) you can use for a few hours to protect your car’s surfaces from salt, snow, and everything else that accompanies the blistering cold.

Significant Moisture

Moisture and cars just don’t mix. You may have wipers, but you don’t have a “save my wax” button. The fact of the matter is that waxes, while they make the surface bead nicely, don’t last as long in high-moisture environments—including areas with high humidity. Also, certain regions experience some levels of acid rain on a regular basis… I think it goes without saying, but you should be protecting (regularly) with a paint sealant to prevent potential damage and to keep your finish continually protected.

Dust

For those of you who’ve never been to San Jose, California… let me tell you about a problem. The area more popularly known as Silicon Valley is often referred to as a dust bowl—just lots of dust in the air, always. These are usually the places where you see those cars with splotchy hoods and a cracking clear coat. There are plenty of places all around the world that experience this type of problem, and the only way to keep it from beating up your clear coat is to protect it. You’ll also find yourself washing your car more, but in my mind it’s worth it given the potential consequences.

If you didn’t catch it, the main idea (regardless of your location or weather) is to keep your car’s surfaces protected at all times. Of course weather can delay this or make it somewhat tough, though it’s important to recount that weather is many times the reason why we’re detailing in the first place. It’s a big part of why there are more and more car washes and detailing shops popping up everywhere, so your choices aren’t limited. It’s up to you how to attack your situation, but one thing’s for sure: it must include protection.