CCC has produced a ‘Winterize Your Car’ Guide which looks to provide some guidance on Winter protection for your paint, wheels, tyres and glass. But what about routine maintenance throughout those upcoming Winter months? Well this guide will show you how you can maintain the condition of your car following the prep work in our previous guide.
Washing your car will be the most frequent process you carry out and in the cold winter months, it’s not something you want to be spending a long time doing! Depending on just how cold it is, we don’t recommend you wash your car when it is below 3c. You have to be mindful of the water hanging around in those hard to reach areas which will freeze if the temperature drops below zero. These areas can include door locks, door seals and windscreen wipers to name a few.
So let’s say the temperature is ok. We want to start with a couple of buckets, some quality car shampoo and a wash mitt.
Two Bucket Wash Method
When using a single bucket to wash your car, you are essentially putting your wash mitt (We don't advise using a rag, cloth or sponge as these can hold grit) into initially clean water, but as the cleaning process goes on, that water gets increasingly dirty with all of the grit and grime you are washing off the car. This will start to cause swirls and scratches on your paintwork as you rub that dirty water back all over your car. We can go more in-depth into using Snow Foam and Pre Washes but keeping it simple, an easy method is using two buckets. One bucket is for water only (for rinsing) and one bucket for your car shampoo mix (for washing).
A highly recommend addition to your bucket is a Grit Guard. These are round plastic devices which drop in the bottom of your bucket and simply keep the grit which you wash off your car away from your wash mitt. The grit falls to the bottom of the bucket and the grit guard prevents it from being reintroduced into the washing water and additionally keeping your wash mitt from coming into contact with it.
If you decide to use a pressure washer, spray water into as many nooks and crannies as you can find because salt and road grit will become trapped and cause damage over time if not removed.
Your choice of shampoo is very important – using Dish Washing Soap contains numerous detergents and surfactants which effectively remove dirt, grime, oils etc but importantly, it removes all those polishes and waxes you have applied!
There are a number of high quality car shampoos available, some of which are named ‘Wash ‘n’ Wax’. These are great for the paintwork, however applying a product containing wax on your windscreen is not beneficial as this often causes smears. We recommend a pH Neutral Car Shampoo such as CCC Aquamarina pH Neutral Vehicle Shampoo or CCC Ocean Jade pH Neutral Vehicle Shampoo. These are both highly concentrated and will perform extremely well, and remain frothy even as the water cools.
The vast majority of people will use a regular jumbo sponge to wash their car and initially there may not seem to be any problem with this until you consider the alternatives that are available.
A sponge can effectively clean your, but at the same time it will undoubtedly be inflicting some damage to your paintwork in the form of light scratches & swirl marks. This is because the face of a sponge is flat and porous and grit can become trapped. A safe and recommended alternative to a sponge is a Wash Mitt. These come in many forms such as Genuine Lambswool, Microfibre and Synthetic. Each have their Unique Selling Point (USP) and you can read more about each of them on our listings in the Shop.
When it comes to drying your car after washing & rinsing, the vast majority of people use a chamois leather. These are effective at absorbing water and drying your car, however they can inflict damage to your paintwork in the form of light scratches & swirl marks.
A chamois leather is an animal rawhide which means it was never ‘designed’ for the sole purpose of drying a car! The makeup of a chamois leather means that any small particles which have not been previously rinsed off can become trapped between the paintwork and the chamois during the drying phase and are therefore drawn across the surface resulting in the light scratches & swirl marks. Further to this, Chamois leathers also dry hard so if any part is not sufficiently wet and soft during the drying phase, marring can be caused.
A safe alternative to Chamois leathers are Microfibre Drying Towels. These towels are specifically designed to dry your car whilst not inflicting any damage and it is this construction that allows any stray particles of dirt left on the surface to become trapped in their fibres and therefore safely away from the surface of the paintwork during drying phase. Additionally, they are also very soft and eliminate the chance of marring.
A real bonus with Microfibre Drying Towels are their ability to absorb high quantities of water. Our ‘Big Blue' Microfibre Drying Towel for example is a huge Drying Towel and will hold (absorb) 10 times its own weight. It is an extremely efficient, safe and quick method of drying your car.
*Top Tip – Apply some KILLERWAXX Pineapple Express Shine to the rubber door seals. This will go a long way towards preventing the doors from freezing shut.
Now that the wash and dry has been completed, what about the protection? Well you will hopefully of already carried out your Winterizing Detail, but it is important to keep it topped up.
Detailing Sprays or Quick Detailers are a fast method of providing some added protection. With most detailing products, they should be applied surface temperatures of 10c and above. Waxes are broken down with solvents or in the case of KILLERWAXX Northern Lights products, Hemp Oil. Solvents tends to solidify at low temperatures causing them to clump and become harder to work with. You may have tried waxing your car late at night as the sun is going down and the temperature is dropping and found it hard to buff off – this is also true for daytime temperatures which are colder during the winter.
CCC provide a number of Detailing Sprays, some of which you can apply whilst the car is still wet. Detailing Sprays are simply sprayed on one panel at a time and spread across the paint surface with a microfibre cloth. This is then buffed off with a fresh dry microfibre to a high gloss finish. Some examples of Detailing Sprays:
- CCC 'NEW & IMPROVED' Detailing Spray
- KILLERWAXX Orange Pop Detail Spray
- KILLERWAXX Pineapple Express Shine
- KILLERWAXX Northern Lights Detail Spray
Wheels, Tyres and Glass
No further additional work is carried out on the wheels and tyres following your Winterizing Detail. A good wash followed by some tyre dressing is all that is required. For the glass, a clean with Glass Cleaner is pretty much standard work on any detail.
The very last thing to do after your maintenance detail is to clean all the tools and towels you’ve used. For microfibres, read our Microfibre Guide to get the most out of your products.
Products containing wax are not a fan of cold weather. Most garages are not heated and in the event of below freezing temperatures, these products can be harmed. If they freeze, they may become unstable and subsequently unusable.
* You can read more Detailing Guides here