Winter Detailing – Tips & Suggestions for Cold Weather
Detailing in colder climates is one thing that always comes up in blogs and forums. Where to go for washing? What products to use? How to wash without a garage? And many other questions are asked day in day out.
Having lived in Chicago for over 15 years, I’ve come to learn quite a bit about dealing with the cold weather while trying to take care of your prized possession.
Three key tips for winter detailing
I believe the main thing is a finding good location for car washing and detailing, whether it’s a local shop that lets you wash the car there, a heated home garage or a local hand wash place that utilizes your own quality products. Before I moved my business into a shop in the Chicagoland area, where I currently wash my vehicles, I used my garage that had no drain. My process during winter was to take the car through a local automatic BRUSHLESS car wash (and I enunciate brushless for obvious reasons, swirlmarks!) then to my garage, which I heated with a large kerosene heater. The automatic wash would get rid of most ice, salt, dirt, snow, etc. etc. and then I would do a wash with Optimum No-Rinse in the garage to thoroughly wash it. Some clients that don’t have a chance to wash it themselves have usually found a place that was fine with using the client’s products to produce better results.
Second, products selection is fairly important. As I already mentioned, Optimum No-Rinse (ONR) is my go-to product for winter washing. It does a great job cleaning up paint in any condition besides extremely soiled and muddy, which is why I always head to the auto pressure wash before, just to ensure less possibility for swirl marks. Beside ONR, you want to make sure to have a good spray wax to add a bit of protection each time you wash the car during winter. I personally used Optimum Car Wax as it’s very easy to apply/remove and provides pretty good protection or a spray wax.
Which brings me to my third and final point… interval at which services should be performed during winter time detailing. Typically I recommend clients apply a coat of quality sealant every 2-3 months on daily driven vehicles, but during the winter it’s imperative to do it a bit more often and ensure ample protection is on the paint. Reason being, not only is the colder climate more harsh on the paint (snow, ice, salt, etc.) but also, if you follow my method above, the automatic car washes, even the touchless ones, have very strong detergents and soaps that really do a number on any protection that’s on the car. I typically apply a coat of spray wax every 2-3 washes, then I apply an actual paint sealant every 1-1.5 months or so to ensure the car stays protected.
Well that about covers it, hope it helps a few readers get through the colder detailing seasons! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. Thanks for reading!