Trying to keep your car looking clean in a safe manner seems to be a bit of a fruitless task this time of year. Freezing temperatures, snow/ice and brine all conspire to relegate your car to a less than desirable state.
In today’s installment, Proper Winter Washing, we’ll go over the dos and don’ts associated with Winter Washing.
First and foremost; Avoid the car wash! Why you ask? Just think about how many cars have gone through those tunnels before yours. Loaded with sand, grime and other nasty elements that end up trapped in their brushes and bristles. And did they clean those brushes before your car entered? No way. Essentially you get all of the dirt from the previous hundred cars slapped around on your vehicle’s surfaces. The result? Scratches, swirling, broken antenna and more.
The second type of car wash is the ‘Touch Less’ car wash. More like, let’s ‘shoot the most aggressive chemicals at your car through these pressurized jets’ car wash. But that’s a bit wordy and probably why they settled on ‘Touch Less’. These harsh chemicals can damage exterior plastics, rubber and will prematurely strip waxes or sealants from your cars surface. You’ll have to ask yourself if that’s worth the three-four days of cleanliness you’ll get out of it.
Onto the dos…What you’ll need:
- 2 Five Gallon Buckets
- 2 Grit Guard Inserts for the bottom of the buckets
- A good Pre-Soak product to remove a majority of the salt/brine prior to hand washing. We use an APC (All Purpose Cleaner) mix
- 1-2 Wash Mitts. We prefer Sheep Skin, but a microfiber mitt or towel will suffice. Just make sure it is paint safe.
- 2-4 Drying Towels. We use a mix of Waffle Weave and Plush Microfiber drying towels
- A good quick detailer, spray wax or spray sealant. We love CarPro’s Reload.
Our guinea pig is a dirty, dingy, uncorrected Lincoln MKX. Why did we choose an unprotected, defect ridden test subject? Brine, Salt and dirt stick to untreated surfaces exponentially more so than a treated one. This will showcase how thorough our wash process is at removing those issues and how well even an imperfect car can look when following proper protocol.
Once your wash and rinse buckets are ready, we start off with our Pre-Soak. This APC mix will pull most of the damaging brine and salt away from the vehicles surface so that a safe, effective wash can be performed immediately after. Once this Pre-Soak has set for about 3-5 minutes, we’ll wash it completely from the surface and move onto the foaming stage utilizing our Car Soap.
Once the vehicle is covered in foam and suds, give it a minute to pull the remaining surface grime off the car. Now you can commence your two bucket washing starting at the top of the vehicle and working your way down. The heaviest dirt build up is on the lower portions of the vehicle. Because of that, we’ll wash those sections last to avoid contaminating our wash mitt and causing marring/scratching on the surface.
Upon completing the hand wash, you’ll want to thoroughly rinse the vehicle and dry using your plush microfiber or waffle weave towels. At this point, some may call it quits, we prefer to add some protection and a bit more gloss. We’ll grab our CarPro Reload and add a quick coat boosting gloss and adding durability in one quick application.
Winter doesn’t have to be the death of a great automotive finish. Through proper care and some prevention, your car can exit winter in the same condition it went into it. Proper protection and safe wash methods make all the difference in the world.
Feel free to comment or email us if you have any questions, comments or if you’d like to schedule service for your own vehicle.