Our Winter Survival Guide

Show car survival guide

We’re sure you’ve caught the memes already saying how many weeks there are until Christmas, right?! Well, that means that it’s even closer to winter, meaning, for us petrol heads at least, that it’s time to start winter prep! Winter is the toughest time of the year for cars; rain washes stones down road banks and onto the roads where we then pick it up or the car in front unknowingly flicks it up at your car, and don’t get us started on gritting. Yes ,we know that it’s important for safety and we wouldn’t be without it, but the fungi it creates if not washed off isn’t so ‘fun’ – pardon the pun. since the 1930s, road salt has been used on UK roads since the 1930s, helping to prevent sheet ice, lowering the freezing point of water. Salt retains moisture, fuelling the corrosion timeline – meaning rust. One word, every car enthusiast hates. Over the years, manufacturers have invested in improving its paint using a multi-layered system, with some manufacturers offering a 12-year warranty on corrosion, but, to go all ‘Mumsy’ on you; prevention is better than cure, so get protecting those cars!

Here are our tips on how you can help your show car survive the winter.

 

Paint protection and care.

Winter is tough on car paint and bodywork; you have wet, loosened road grime to contend with, as well as a build-up of salt. So it’s important to protect your car before winter sets in. In terms of timing, it’s important to get your sealant applied by the beginning of November (tying in nicely with the end of the show season – with Ultimate Stance seeing your show car off in style). The first thing to do is make sure your car is ultra clean. Wash your car as you would do normally, jet washing and snow foaming off any loose particles, then give it a thorough wash using a good shampoo, wash mitt and two buckets. Make sure to dry off thoroughly, before applying a number of layers of a quality synthetic paint sealant. We advise a paint sealant, as opposed to the natural carnauba wax, because it’s much more durable, giving it longevity through winter. Following sealing your car, it’s important to wash off every day grime as often as possible, but do not wash as you would normally. The sealant is doing its job, it’s protecting against grime penetrating the paint’s surface, all you realistically need to do is jet wash and snow foam the car as often as possible to lift road particles and impurities from the paintwork naturally. Snow foams are more popular through the winter, can get the majority of the dirt off without touching it – gets a lot off but also loosens the contaminants so you don’t have to use any force to clean your car, thus creating swirl marks. Once the car is once again clean, you can add additional layers of sealant – the more the better.

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Wheels.

Brake dust is one of the worst contaminants and causes of wheel deterioration there is, so it’s important to remove it as often as possible. We know throughout the winter months this task is not so pleasant, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to rinse your wheels on a weekly basis, as well as sealing your wheels.

It is best to apply multiple layers of a good, high-temperature-resistant protective sealant once a month. Wheel sealants create a protective barrier to road grime and particles. Synthetic sealants are better used on alloy wheels as they’re generally more durable than your manmade natural carnauba waxes – we offer a combination of both, the Auto Finesse Mint Rims wheel wax and sealant, which is durable while keeping your rims looking tidy – apply using a microfibre cloth or foam pad and buff off when dry. Remember that sealing your wheels, though, is not an excuse not to bother removing the brake dust and salt that will inevitably be collected through the winter months. It takes just a few weeks for galvanic corrosion to damage alloy wheels – it’s really not worth the risk for a five minute jobby – depending on your choice of spokes, of course. They don’t even need drying off. Simply, jet off your wheels to remove any loose debris, then apply our Imperial wheel cleaner and leave to soak for ?, then using a wheel brush add a little elbow grease and rinse wheel. It’s that simple. Or, if you really can’t be bothered, just run some steelie winter wheels and winter tyres until the weather perks up.

If the wheels are particularly clogged with grime, our Iron Out contamination remover is the product to go for, loosening particles that are more deeply bonded to the wheel’s surface.

Remember to only apply sealant when alloy wheels are clean!

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Plastics.

Protecting your plastics is a fairly easy task, it’s just a matter of keeping on top of it throughout winter. Much like with your paint, you must seal all of your plastics using a sealant. A sealant will remain glued to the plastic longer than the natural wax option and will retain a shine for longer – if you’re after a more matte finish to your plastics, though, we recommend using the natural wax. Make sure to keep on top of this throughout the winter months, topping up every month, then simply back-to-black it all thoroughly in the spring.

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Glass protection and care.

It’s important to protect and seal all of your glass. Not only does sealing glass mean added safety when driving in some of the worst winter weather, it makes it look better too. Wiper streaks are a no-no and sealing your glass will mean rain and sleet is repelled, helping it to run off naturally. Despite feeling so under our hands, glass does not have a smooth surface under a microscope. A good glass sealant will essentially smoothen the glasses surface by filling in the gaps, enabling water to run off more easily.

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Inside.

Now that the exterior is ready and waiting for that grim winter weather, it’s important to remember the inside. We advise forking out on a cheap set of rubber mats to sit over your carpet through the winter months. Easy, cheap purchase protecting your carpets from the scum of the roads that will inevitably be brought into the car on the bottom of your shoes… it’s either that or take your shoes off. Surely there’s a business model there; in-car slippers. One to watch.

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Non-aesthetic related protection.

When it comes to the underside of the car, despite not being aesthetic, it’s important to ensure this is still protected. As you can imagine, the underside of your car is probably the most susceptible area for road chips. You’d think stone chips don’t really matter, as you cant see them under there. Well, you’d be wrong, stone chips in the surface or protective sealants already applied weaken and open the entire structure up to corrosion, and rust! If you can, apply a tough underside sealant yourself, or get a local garage to do it for you. Doing this will protect your car from rust, as well as improving its residual value over not doing it.

Another thing to note is even though you clay barred your car before winter set in, you will need to clay bar it when it’s over too, ready for the summer.

It’s also important to get any stone chips repaired sooner rather than later, to prevent localised corrosion.

So, that’s it, our tips on how to protect your car through the winter, making it easier to get back to show car status for the new show season. If you have any questions, drop us a message at info@autofinesse.co.uk and we’ll either reply direct or if it’s a really good question, there could be a feature in it.

Recommended products: Imperial wheel cleaner (500ml) £8.95. Mint Rims wheel wax and sealant (100ml) £19.95. Tough Prep pre-sealant cleanser (250ml) £12.95. Power Seal paint sealant (500ml) £22.95.

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