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Winter Detailing Tips from Pro Detailers

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Winter Detailing Tips from Pro Detailers

Living in the Northeast, we experience winter for what feels like half of the year, but just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of your vehicle. I am newer to dealing so I wanted to reach out to some professionals for some tips on detailing your vehicle and keeping up with winter maintenance. I reached out to James Melfi, Zach McGovern, as well as our customer service specialist Reece and one of Detailed Image’s owners, Greg! They all had some very useful insights.

Zach McGovern:

1. Do not let road grime linger. Keep up routine cleaning, even if it is not as thorough as you can do in the warmer months.

2. Do not be afraid to utilize touchless car washes to assist in your efforts. It is not always reasonable or safe to attempt to hand wash your vehicle in the winter. If temperatures or conditions are unsafe, take a trip to a coin-operated pressure washing facility or a drive through touchless wash to get the majority of the build up off of your vehicle. If you have a garage, follow the touchless wash up with a rinseless wash routine using a bucket of warmer water. (This is how I maintain my cars year round!)

3. Boost your base protection with a quick and easy spray sealant or quick detail spray with protective properties after washing. Make it as difficult for dirt, salt, and other road grime to stick to your paint, and it will be that much easier to keep it clean.

James Melfi:

I’d say it’s all about the snow removal process. Using a Snow Brum or the like to remove a layer of snow can be huge. The idea is to remove most but not all the snow- leaving a thin layer on the paint that can melt once the vehicle is turned on. By leaving the thin layer you aren’t rubbing the paint with anything abrasive. Reframing from using brushes to get the snow off can go a long way in reducing scratching.

Reece @ DI

In upstate New York, the winters can be extremely cold and my tips revolve around staying as warm as possible. To start, always make sure you prep your vehicle before the winter months. I like to apply a nice layer of protection in the fall so that the paint, trim, glass, etc. are all well protected before our first snowfall. Once the colder months come along, snow, ice, salt, slush, dirt, grime etc. are sure to follow. While your protection layers help prevent swirls, scratches and other imperfections, what I really like about a pre-winter prep is that a good layer of protection will keep contamination from sticking to the surface. This allows you to remove more dirt and grime with less water and less overall effort. Which simply means, your winter gloves can be back on your hands faster!

When cleaning in the winter I recommend two tips:

1. For light to moderate cleanings, use a rinseless wash to reduce the amount of water needed. I use warm water (not hot or cold) and multiple buckets, grit guards, and wash media to help reduce any possible imperfections.
2. If your vehicle is extremely dirty, I head to a touchless car wash or wash bay to knock off as much dirt and grime as I can. I will then follow up with a rinseless wash and a quick layer of spray on protection.

Once we hit the spring or a few warm days I will perform a more thorough detail and reevaluate if the vehicle needs a light polish or any new protective layers. Hope that helps!

Greg @ DI

On those chilly days, I recommend taking the time and filling your buckets with warm water from inside your house and wearing a rubber glove, it makes a huge difference!”

Detailing in the winter can seem daunting but for those of you reading this article, I hope you learned something new to help you in your winter detailing endeavors!

1 comment on Winter Detailing Tips from Pro Detailers

  1. Ron Ayotte says:

    I use the Sno Brum on my daily driver and the “spousal transportation unit”… both are ceramic coated and I find that I cannot leave a light layer of snow on the finish is impossible, the snow slides right off! I do rinseless washes when it is cold and conventional when the temperature is 40 or above.

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