Winter washing woes
Looking after our vehicle is something we must all do, but do you think we shrug it off during winter weather? I’m sure you all realize that your vehicle needs mechanical checks before the snow begins to fly and that you need to prepare your vehicle for the cold temperatures, but is that enough? Do you also wash your vehicle during the cold weather or wait until the weather warms up?
Washing your vehicle in the cold weather is different than if you washed it in the warm weather. First, you shouldn’t do it wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Seriously, you’ll need to wear proper clothing that will protect you from the spraying water and the cold. A winter hat, gloves and boots will keep you warm and comfortable during this task of washing your vehicle.
Washing your vehicle at a do-it-yourself car wash is a good idea as it allows you to get all of the salt and grime off the vehicle that a “touchless” car wash may not get. It also means you can remove your garden hose in the fall and not risk it freezing and cracking during the freezing temperatures.
Start your wash with the soapy brush; start from the bottom and work your way up. This allows you to see the salt, dirt and grime as your scrub away. Starting from the top and working your way down the vehicle gets your vehicle too wet and you may miss some of the dirt and grime. Make sure you get all of it off with the brush first.
Once you have finished with the brush, you the power washer to rinse all of the soap off your vehicle. Ensure you get in the cracks of the doors, trunk and hood. Leaving soap in those spots can cause a film that may be difficult to get off weeks later. Once your vehicle has been fully rinse off, open the doors, trunk and hood to dry off the corners near hinges and at the bottom of the door. Leaving water in those spaces can result in corrosion over time, plus that water could easily freeze as you drive away. Wipe away any salt or grime that your wash didn’t remove.
Now is the time to finish off your cleaning. Wipe away any standing water from the windows and mirrors so that it doesn’t turn into ice as you drive away. Speaking of freezing, washing your vehicle in the morning before you start your daily drive will help remove any remaining standing water, especially since the heat of the engine will warm up the metal, which will help evaporate the water.
Washing your vehicle in the evening on your way home isn’t the best time to do so. Once you’re done washing your vehicle and head home, your vehicle will sit for hours at your home; which may cause your doors, trunk and hood to freeze shut. It may also put a thin layer of ice on your brakes and that doesn’t help if you have to stop shortly after you drive away from the car wash. At any point after you wash your vehicle in freezing temperatures, brake early and gradually immediately after you begin to drive away. This helps the brakes regain their friction and melts away any ice that may have formed on them.