Is Your Hot Rod’s Paint Prepared For Winter Storage

I hate to say it, but for many enthusiasts, the summer cruising season is quickly coming to an end. That means it will soon be time to put those hot rods away. But before you do, you need to make sure the exterior of that ride is ready to be forgotten about for several months.

If you have spent the summer driving your car as you should, it likely has more than a few more paint contaminants keeping that gorgeous shine from wowing your buddies. But what is the best way to remove them? Contaminants like tree sap, road grime, and bird droppings can cause untold damage to the paint if left unchecked. To make sure your car’s paint is ready for the winter slumber, Meguiar’s has put together a list of DIY tips and product recommendations to help properly remove these contaminants.

winter storage

A quality detailer will help soften some of those “organic” contaminants and provide lubrication so you can safely wipe away the offending “stuff”.

Getting Sappy

While you were enjoying the summer months in your car, it’s likely that it ended up parked under or near a tree. We’ve all found the fine sap “drips” on our car’s paint, and the fine sap mist can usually be addressed quite easily with Meguiar’s Hybrid Ceramic Quik Clay Kit. The kit utilizes a synthetic clay pad, designed for removing bonded contaminants from painted surfaces. Meguiar’s recommends using this in conjunction with Hybrid Ceramic Detailer. This not only provides lubrication for the clay pad, but also leaves some hybrid ceramic protection behind when you’re done.

If you are plagued with bigger “blobs” of sap, these can be a bigger challenge to remove. However, a little isopropyl alcohol can do the trick. All you need to do is pour a little of the alcohol directly onto the sap and allow it to sit for a few seconds. After it has softened the sap, gently wipe away the residue and offending sap with a clean microfiber towel. Unfortunately, the alcohol will have removed any wax or sealant you had on the paint in the affected area. To remedy this, apply Hybrid Ceramic Detailer to restore some protection. Always remember to work on a cool finish and test on a small spot before beginning.

Bird Droppings

We’ve all had it happen. A bird contently watches as you wash that car. As soon as you finish, splat, he got you. It’s no secret that dries droppings can etch the paint on the car. To remove that offending splatter of undigested birdseed, Take a microfiber towel and a product like  Meguiar’s Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax to quickly remove the “stuff” if you don’t have access to water. The Ultimate Waterless Wash & Wax can be sprayed directly onto the paint and used to gently wipe away the droppings with your microfiber towel. This product will lubricate the surface and lift off the droppings before causing damage and can even be used on water spots as well.


Summer Road trips exposed your classic to heat and sunlight. Obviously, while you’re driving, the sun can’t be avoided. Sunlight is one of the most damaging elements to a vehicle’s finish. The UV rays and heat from sunlight also cooks “above surface bonded contaminants” like tree sap mist and insects and literally bakes them into the surface. If a car must sit out during sunny days, a car cover will help protect it from the sun and wind, which can damage a car with airborne contaminants.

It’s impossible to avoid outside contaminants when traveling in your car but being prepared is key. With these tips and products from Meguiar’s, your vehicle’s exterior will be cared for safely, giving you one less thing to worry about during your vacation.

Better Protection

Finally, when you have your car clean, there is one more step before covering the car for the winter. Protect the paint with Meguiar’s Hybrid Paint Coating Kit. This is an easy-to-use, spray-on coating for the DIYer. This is the latest chemistry creation from Meguiar’s to deliver the easiest, most chemically resistant, durable, and slickest paint protection solution to date.

Meguiar's Hybrid Paint Coating allows everyone the benefit of a ceramic coating without the high cost of a professionally applied ceramic system. 

The Hybrid Paint Coating Kit gives anyone the ability to easily obtain professional-grade protection at home. The coating bonds to paint, delivering extreme durability against environmental and chemical contaminants while the Hybrid Polysiloxane chemistry helps to provide more than a year of paint protection*. This protectant blends the best attributes of traditional ceramic paint coatings with Meguiar’s proprietary technology and allows everyone the benefit of a ceramic coating without the high cost.

*Up to 1 Year+ Paint Protection based on water contact angle lab testing and predictive modeling.

No matter what brand of classic you’re driving during the summer months, make sure you have the paint properly cleaned and protected so it is in tiptop shape when the sun once again shines on your garage door.

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About the author

Randy Bolig

Randy Bolig has been working on cars and has been involved in the hobby ever since he bought his first car when he was only 14 years old. His passion for performance got him noticed by many locals, and he began helping them modify their vehicles.
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