The ultimate guide to maintaining your car's exterior in Montana's harsh climate - OHS Body Shop

Montana’s climate can be harsh on your car’s exterior, from the hot sun and dust in summer to the freezing temperatures and road salt in winter. Without proper maintenance, your car’s paint, trim, and other exterior components can deteriorate quickly, leading to rust, corrosion, and reduced resale value. To keep your car looking its best and protect its exterior, follow these tips for maintaining your car’s exterior in Montana’s harsh climate:

Wash your car regularly

Dirt, dust, and road salt can accumulate on your car’s exterior and scratch the paint and metal surfaces over time. To prevent this, wash your car at least once a month, more often if you drive on gravel or salted roads. Use a gentle car shampoo, a microfiber mitt or sponge, and plenty of water to rinse off any dirt and grime. Avoid using dish soap or abrasive cleaners that can strip off your car’s wax and protective coatings.

Wax your car at least twice a year

Waxing your car helps to protect the paint and clear coat from UV rays, pollution, and water damage. Apply a high-quality car wax at least twice a year, ideally in spring and fall, or after washing your car. Use a soft cloth or applicator pad and apply the wax in circular motions, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Let the wax dry completely and then buff it off with a clean microfiber towel.

Protect your car from the sun

Montana’s high altitude and dry air can intensify the sun’s UV rays and cause your car’s paint and plastic trims to fade, crack, or warp. To prevent this, park your car in the shade whenever possible, or use a car cover or window visor to block the sun. You can also apply a UV protectant spray or polish on your car’s dashboard, door panels, and other plastic parts to prevent discoloration and cracking.

Remove bird droppings and tree sap immediately

Bird droppings and tree sap can eat away your car’s paint and cause stains and discoloration if left unattended. To remove them, use a soft cloth or towel and a mild cleaner, such as vinegar or a specialized bird dropping remover. Gently dab the affected area and avoid rubbing or scraping the surface. Rinse off the cleaner and dry the surface with a clean towel.

Check and maintain your car’s trim and seals

Montana’s dry air and extreme temperatures can cause your car’s rubber seals, gaskets, and plastic trims to dry out, crack, or shrink, leading to leaks, wind noise, and water damage. To prevent this, inspect your car’s trim and seals regularly, and apply a silicone-based protectant or conditioner to keep them flexible and sealed. Check your car’s weatherstripping and door seals for signs of wear and replace them if needed.

By following these tips, you can maintain your car’s exterior in Montana’s harsh climate and ensure its longevity and appeal. Remember to also check your car’s tires, brakes, and other mechanical components regularly and trust a professional auto body shop to handle any repairs or upgrades with expertise and care. OHS Body Shop has branches in Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Polson.