Winter is among us, which means it’s time to start outfitting your car to adapt to increasingly chilly conditions wherever you might be.
Of course, we know domestic temperature conditions widely vary depending on the region—whether it’s San Diego, California, or Portland, Maine. Whatever the case, it is crucial you are prepared for less than ideal weather conditions.
And while we have given you reasons as to why you should avoid drive-thru car washes, we recommend that you take concerted precautions before embarking on the roads along those lines.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for a chilly end to the year.
1.) Have Your Car Professionally Washed
Car cleaning outdoors during winter by Marcho Verch via Flikr.
One of the most important rules for cleaning the exterior of your car is purging it of any salt remnants it may have from over the summer, especially if you live along any of the coastlines. Salt is particularly notorious for corroding and ultimately damages waxes and sealants on your vehicle. So removing this becomes a necessity prior to embarking on your winter road trips.
One of the reasons why we recommend you have your car washed professionally is mainly due to the possibility that you increase the risk of door jams and locks freezing over. This can also lead to ancillary damage that creates hard water surface spots which can prove to be almost intractable to remove altogether.
Generally, an auto garage will clean your car using techniques that involve a touchless or wand wash, which serves to clean out grit and salt from wheel wells and other crevices throughout your car.
2.) Wax your Car
Ride-sharing car parked on the side of the road during winter by Mercho Verch via Flikr.
According to experts, waxing your car is one of the easier and more effective ways to prepare its surface for winter.
But what does waxing do? The answer is quite simple, it adds an extra layer of protection for your car’s paint that makes the surface dirt-phobic and additionally protects the coat from other contaminants such as dust, snow and grime along with rust and corrosion.
For the tyro, here’s an easy method to wax your car:
Always read the product description before application.
Segment your vehicle into multiple sections so that the finish looks uniform across the body.
Now apply the wax to the foam applicator and begin one of the sections.
Next, make sure to use a circular motion when applying it to the surface of the vehicle. Only use a small amount of the product while applying.
At this point, you have a limited amount of time before the wax dries off completely. Use a microfiber towel to remove the wax before the drying period ends.
Repeat the aforementioned process if you’re using a spray wax.
Now check the surface to see if there is a shine to it and enjoy the results.
3.) Take Care of Your Windshield
A man cleaning his windshield by Cathy via Flikr.
One can argue that all items on the list are important, but taking care of your windshield both prior and during winter time is perhaps one of the most essential. What’s more applicable is that it creates a safe driving environment, too.
Of course, winter time is one of the most dangerous times—depending on the state—as far as the visibility from the driver side and your field of vision.
To curb these potential impending issues, we recommend purchasing water and ice repellent products—that way the chemicals within the repellants will bead the water so it easily rolls off the windshield glass seamlessly.
Furthermore, it will also serve to rid your car of snow, grit and grime off your windshield, too.
4.) Wax Your Tires
A full wax detail on a BMW tire by Cliff Judson via Flikr.
From a safety perspective, your vehicle’s tires are perhaps the most exigent part of your car during the winter. For example, the extra amount of snow (if applicable), brake dust and road salt can damage your tires in the long and possibly even the short term.
By waxing your wheels, you can protect your wheels from the aforementioned contaminants as well as others like slat, dirt and sludge, which can further damage your wheels.
Some of the recommended products for tire waxing include ‘Detailer’s Wheel Glaze’ and ‘Detailer’s Wheel Coating’ among others. These specific products prevent your brake dust along with repelling snow and ice from clinging to the tire threads.
5.) Detail Your Car’s Interior
1960 Corvette interior by Elmschrat via Wikimedia Commons.
This may come as a surprise to some, but providing detailing for your car’s interior is also crucial, too.
To combat other forms of contaminants entering your vehicle’s cabin, make sure to clean the interior frequently during this time to deter any salt or dirt buildup. More specifically, make sure to vacuum your car on a frequent basis.
Some of the surfaces to examine might be the carpets, seats, miscellaneous floor mats, dashboard or any other sections that might be more susceptible to contaminant buildup.
6.) Avoid Washing Your Vehicle in Freezing Conditions
A compact car covered in ice by Islam90 via Wikimedia Commons.
This could be inferred as one of the more obvious practices, but it should go without saying: never wash your car in freezing temperatures, especially the engine.
For example, if there are any issues with the wiring system, then the surfeit moisture can cause the car to not start altogether. In addition, the water from the hose or cleaning apparatus will freeze as it hits your car, making it nearly impossible to de-ice your windows, too.
If you find yourself in an emergency and have to clean your car in freezing conditions, here are just a few simple steps you can follow to avoid exacerbating the situation:
If you are forced into a situation where you have to wash your car in these conditions, try driving to a secluded neighborhood and drive around the block a few times to warm up the vehicle’s hood.
You can also leave your car on during the wash, which can prevent the water from freezing upon impact.
Remember, if you find yourself in an emergency, always use caution in these instances, as conditions are precarious. For our in-house mobile aluminum and metal polishing services, call us at CaliCarCoMobile.