A Fall Detailing Guide
It’s coming. That dreaded time of the year when we trade in flip-flops for snow boots and t-shirts for sweaters. Now, I’m not bringing this up because I want to put you in a funk thinking about winter for the rest of the day, but rather because while we all know how to ready ourselves for the winter, we don’t always do the same for our cars. So here I’ll outline a few steps you can take in the fall before winter rolls in to make sure you’re prepared. Read on to find out why detailing your car this fall is essential for its health through the winter…
First let me start by saying that a synthetic paint sealant is usually a better choice than wax in the winter because of how durable it is. The big knock on paint sealants is that they don’t offer the same depth and warmth that a carnauba wax can. That’s all well and fine, but seriously many paint sealants these days offer great shine, and usually one application will last you all the way through the winter. Compare that with a wax, which will most likely need to be reapplied each month to keep a coat on your car at all times. Plus, if you really want that carnauba look, you can always apply a coat over your paint sealant.
There are a few reasons why putting a sealant on your car is especially critical in the winter months. The big one here is road salt. All that salt that gets spread on the ground is great to help road conditions but it wreaks havoc on your paint. It can corrode paint surfaces leading to rust and discoloration.
And that’s not all; all that snow and sleet coming down picks up environmental contaminants on its way down to your car and it just sits there on the paint surface, potentially causing damage. A good paint sealant will prevent these contaminants from ever coming into contact with your paint.
In addition, your paint can really take a beating from the dryness that can occur in the air during the winter. And we’ve already told you what a problem dry paint can be. A paint sealant will protect your paint from dryness and cracking the same way ChapStick will protect your lips.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the damage that UV rays can cause to your paint. That beautiful black paint job will fade before you know it if it’s left unprotected. The sun will beat down just as hard on your paint in the winter as it does in the summer. Don’t be tricked into thinking otherwise.
Wheel and Tire Protection
Your wheels present a unique set of challenges in the winter. The most important thing to do here to prepare for the winter is to apply a good wheel sealant. Not only will it keep brake dust from adhering to your wheels (important year round), but it will prevent salt, snow, ice, and dirt from causing damage.
Your tires also deserve attention, but for a slightly different reason. When the temperature outside gets down to freezing levels it’s much more likely that the rubber will dry out and crack. This is bad. You’ll want to apply a tire conditioner which will penetrate the rubber to hydrate it and prevent cracking. And not only will it prevent damage, but it’ll look great too. (This is also an important step to take on other exterior plastic surfaces such as rubber trim.)
We all know how much of a pain snow and sleet can be when you’re driving around because they really reduce your visibility. The best way to avoid this problem is to treat your glass surfaces with a durable glass polish which will make sleet, snow, and rain sheet right off. And considering how much more frequent and severe precipitation can be in the winter, it’s a great step to take in the fall before snow storms start rolling in.
These are just a few preventative steps which are important to take in the fall. There are certainly other things involved in detailing but these are some of the most important to prepare for winter. We’ll be following up in the following months with tips and tricks for ongoing winter maintenance cleaning and detailing.