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The warm summer days seem like a lifetime ago as the winter months quickly set in. If you are already a car care or detailing enthusiast, the chances are you have already been taking care of your vehicle through the summer months. Still, we must focus on the colder, harsher winter months and the challenges they can throw at us and our vehicles.
Snow, rain, ice and especially road salts all take their toll on the condition of our vehicles, especially the bodywork, which is why we must ensure they are sufficiently protected from the elements.
Suppose we fail to prepare our vehicles for these conditions. In that case, they may require some further, more detailed attention once the winter passes and the warmer weather returns, potentially costing you more time and money than if you had protected them beforehand.
Road salt is incredibly corrosive to our vehicle's paintwork and undercarriage. Still, the real problem comes once the salt has melted the snow and ice, turning into a slushy solution which is easily picked up by our vehicle's tyres and deposited down the side or back of the vehicle.
This highlights the importance of applying a layer of protective coating to the paint surface, and the requirement of regular winter maintenance washes to keep these salty deposits at bay to retain a good standard of vehicle appearance.
So, let's take a look at the process we should follow to achieve great results and efficient winter protection for our vehicles.
We should start with a thorough exterior clean, beginning with our pre-wash process to remove as much of the surface dirt and grime as possible before we move on to the contact wash, where we make physical contact with the surfaces.
Once the pre-wash stage is complete, it's time to address the wheels and wheel arches.
Begin by flushing out the arches, applying more pre-wash solution, and agitating with a suitable brush. We recommend the EZ Detail GO Brush for this.
Next, we remove all old dressings from the tyres and any staining on the tyre wall using Cleanse Tyre Cleaner. Apply Cleanse to the tyre wall, ensuring even coverage, and work with a Tyre Scrubbing Brush. Rinse and repeat until the foam generated by the cleaning process is white.
Now its time to apply Axis Non-acidic Wheel Cleaner diluted appropriately and sprayed onto the wheel surface, allow a few minutes for Axis to begin breaking down brake dust and any remaining road grime before working in with a detailing brush, not forgetting the wheel barrels.
Toxin is again applied to the wheel surface to seek out any iron particles, often referred to as iron fallout.
Once the wheel cleaning process has been repeated on all wheels, the contact wash begins, always using the two-bucket wash method and working from top to bottom. This ensures we minimise any potential risk of scratching or inflicting swirl marks on the paint surface.
After the wash stage, it's time to assess the condition of the paint and decide whether decontamination is required. Toxin Iron Fallout Remover, BlackJack Glue & Tar Remover and Erase Clay Bar will be required.
Begin by identifying tar spots and eliminating them with BlackJack. Apply to the affected area, and allow some dwell time before wiping away with a General Purpose Microfibre Cloth.
If the paint surface feels rough to the touch, much like a sanding feeling when you run your hands over the surface, this would indicate contamination, more than likely in the form of iron fallout particles.
Apply Toxin to all surfaces and allow to dwell, do not allow to dry.
When Toxin locates the contamination, it will begin to turn a deep purple colouration. Once this happens, pressure rinse off the surfaces.
Next, we take the Erase clay bar and remove any remaining contaminates that could potentially be left behind. View our clay bar guide here if you are unsure how to get the best from one. https://www.duelautocare.co.uk/blogs/guides/what-is-a-clay-bar
It's good practice to rewash the vehicle to remove any remanence from the decontamination products once you have finished the clay bar process.
Now it's time to get the protection applied. For this, we recommend Element Hybrid Wax. Element Hybrid Wax is a delectable combination of natural waxes complemented by synthetic additives to provide a durable, drop-dead gorgeous gloss.
Element Hybrid Wax will provide a show wax finish with the added benefit of three months + durability, resistance to detergents and fantastic hydrophobic properties thanks to the synthetic additives in the wax blend. This is a hybrid wax, the best of both worlds in terms of finish and durability.
Prepare the panels using Duel Panel Prep. This is, so all panels are oil and residue-free, ensuring the best possible surface for Element to bond with.
Load a Duel Wax Applicator Disc with a quarter turn inside the wax tin.
Apply Element with thin overlapping strokes as thinly and evenly as you can. This can either be in a circular or up-and-down motion. Apply to one panel first, and allow to cure.
A simple finger swipe test will determine if the wax is ready to buff off.
That's the process complete. Your vehicle is now well protected to see it through the winter months.
Your ongoing maintenance afterwards will be much easier and quicker thanks to the protection applied, which means less time outside with your hands in a cold bucket of shampoo and more time wrapped around a hot cup of tea!
Your maintenance process would be as follows, Snow foam pre-wash, we recommend Engage Neutral Snow Foam, then the wheel cleaning process followed by a contact wash with Bahama Blue Shampoo and the two-bucket method.
If your feeling flush, treat yourself to warm water in your buckets. It'll make for a much more pleasant washing experience in colder temperatures!
Dry the vehicle using our incredible Triple Twisted Loop Drying Towel.
Job done. Head back inside and warm up.