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How To Prepare For A Winter Car Wash

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How To Prepare For A Winter Car Wash

The winter conditions are awfully hard on vehicles, It’s more than just snow that impacts the integrity of an automobile. There’s slush, ice, road salt, water, mud and more.

These elements take quite the toll on both the interior and exterior of a vehicle. When it comes time to wash your car, truck or SUV during the winter, it is important to take a different approach than you normally would when washing your car in spring, fall or summer conditions.

The Importance of A Wintertime Car Wash

The worst thing that you can do is skip out on a wintertime car wash. While it is a pain to head on out to prepare your vehicle for a self-serve car wash or spin your wheels on over to an automatic car wash, it is worth the effort.

You’ll save yourself plenty of trouble and money in the long run by consistently cleaning your vehicle throughout the winter. If you leave all of those nasty wintertime elements on your vehicle’s undercarriage, wheel wells, bumper and exterior, it will likely become severely damaged. Your vehicle’s paint will be compromised when exposed the moisture from snow and ice mixed with road salt chemicals.

Some automobile owners in the great white north go as far as washing their vehicles two times per week to get rid of that nasty salt. Salt accumulates on the hard to reach undercarriage of vehicles and if left alone, it will cause rust and lead to other hassles that can cause expensive problems. While today’s newer vehicles have a special coating that fights rust, every vehicle is still prone to rust, especially in the wintertime. Vehicle wheel wells are especially troublesome during the harsh winter conditions. They have just enough space for snow, slush, salt and ice chunks to accumulate. Since these elements can wreak havoc on your vehicle, it is important that you wash your car at least once every couple of weeks during the winter months.

Prevent Freezes

Unfortunately, you can’t park your vehicle in your driveway and turn on your hose for a DIY (do it yourself) style car wash smack dab in the middle of winter. You run the risk of the water freezing and causing freezes in the gas cap, trunk, door locks etc. Therefore, you must take preventative action before attempting to wash your vehicle in the cold months. Use WD-40 to lubricate your vehicle’s sensitive areas like the trunk, door locks and gas caps.

This way, they won’t freeze while you wash your vehicle because the water won’t have a clear path for penetration.

A Thorough Wintertime Clean

When you wash your vehicle, don’t merely clean the top, sides and back. The undercarriage is especially dirty during the winter months. This is where all of that dirt, salt, snow and slush from the road sticks to your vehicle. Take great pains to clean this part of the vehicle as thoroughly as possible. If you utilize a self-serve car wash, get down on your hands and knees and use the spray nozzle to clean off this hard to reach area.

If you bring your vehicle to a professional car wash for a wintertime clean, make sure that you choose a wash that cleans the undercarriage of the vehicle. A clean undercarriage will prevent rust and premature wear and tear.


Utilise A Professional Car Wash

There is no doubt that the best way to clean your vehicle during the cold months is to head on over to an indoor tunnel car wash. You won’t have to brave the elements by washing your car yourself. Nor will you have to get down and dirty to clean that hard to reach undercarriage area. You won’t even have to worry about applying WD-40 to the vehicle’s areas that are prone to freezing. Everything will be done for you at a professional car wash including the drying process.

Keep in mind that the quality of your tunnel-style wash will depend on how much you pay. Avoid the cheap tunnel car washes during the winter months. They have bargain rate equipment that often doesn’t thoroughly clean vehicles.

Tunnel-style car washes that charge a bit more usually have high-quality car wash equipment that flushes out the dirt and salt from wheel wells, rocker panels and bumpers. Cleaning these areas is critical to your vehicle’s health. If left dirty, they’ll accumulate buildup and eventually cause rust and other problems.


If you decide to venture on out to a full-serve car wash, you’ll do your car right by requesting that the attendant dry the power antenna and the space near the trunk as well as the insides of the doors.

If you use a self-serve outdoor wash, be sure to bring along some soft towels to dry off these important areas. Also, be sure to open and close all of the vehicle’s doors and trunk to air out any water that might have penetrated.

Once you’ve thoroughly dried the vehicle, seal and re-wax the vinyl. Don’t exclude the rubber and vinyl on the exterior. You might even want to warm up the rag that is used to wax the vehicle so that it will help the wax stick to the frigid metal surface. You can even use a hair dryer to warm up the metal to facilitate the application of the wax.


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