winter protection

Washing you car in winter

What is the problem?

With the arrival of the cold weather and salted roads, our cars almost always look like they haven’t been washed for weeks. I hear so many people saying it isn’t worth washing their car because it will just get dirty straight away. Whilst there is no denying that logic, it is sadly flawed. Regular washing of your car is an important step to take in the long-term maintenance of its appearance and in the case of diamond cut wheels, it’s a critical thing to do.

Why is keeping my car clean so important?

Beyond the obvious safety and legal concerns (lights and windows kept clean and registration plates kept visible) damage to your wheels and paintwork is more likely to happen when it is dirty. Imagine all the salt, grit, mud etc dried onto your car. Then imagine being parked in the supermarket car park with people brushing past your car. That dirt will be dragged across the paintwork causing swirls and scratches. And when you close the doors or boot, your fingers get dirty (which is annoying), but they also scratch the paintwork by moving the dirt on the surface. Salt settled on your car gets into scratches and stone chips accelerating corrosion. And if you leave dirt too long it becomes harder to remove and the risk of paintwork damage rises quickly.

Your wheels suffer stone impacts, especially the back wheels, all through the year. Most of this damage is very small and you’ll struggle to see it. Powder coated wheels cope with this damage better than diamond cut wheels because the finish is a lot thicker. With diamond cut wheels the clear lacquer might be as thin as 60 microns, that isn’t much – it’s about 2/3rds of the thickness of a sheet of 80gsm paper – and the stone chips let in salty water. That salty water (brine) quickly causes corrosion that shows up as white marks under the lacquer and subsequently causes the finish to fail and requiring a full refurbishment.

So what do I do?

Getting the car to a freshly detailed standard isn’t that important in winter, but safely washing the dirt off will make life easier in the long term, keep your car looking great and lower the cost of ownership. Ideally, you’ll maintain your regular 2 buckets safe wash but, if you don’t have time to wash the car yourself go to a petrol station with a self-wash car wash and just use the pressure washer to remove most of the dirt – don’t be tempted to use the brush they have, they will destroy the finish of the paintwork! Avoid automatic car washes and roadside hand washes, they will also cause damage to your paintwork requiring significant machine polishing to correct.

Pre-winter protection makes life easier.

In an ideal world, you will have protected your car before winter arrives with quality products that form a physical barrier between the finished surfaces and the worst the winter can throw at them. If you haven’t gotten round to do it our winter protection treatment is just the ticket!