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How to wash your car in the winter – without it freezing shut
SASKATOON -- It could be the coldest day of 2020 – so what better cold weather activity than to wash your car? Jeremy Dodge spoke to auto expert Jay Thomas for some tips. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What are some of the things we need to keep in mind before we get started?
I really like washing the car when it's cold out – because when you take the time to dry it, then you've got all this cold weather and it keeps your car clean. When you're washing when it's muddy out, you're just throwing money down the drain. Also, throughout the winter we have a lot of buildup of salt from what they treat the roads with to keep our streets safe to drive on. Keeping the salt off it is going to keep your investment safe.
What's your method?
I like to start with a tire and engine cleaner or a presoak when the car is really dirty. Then we're going to move to high pressure soap. We're also going to use the foamy brush. Lastly we're going to wax it, then we're probably going to spot-free rinse it as well. One thing you don't want to do is grab that brush and start scrubbing a dirty car – that's like putting sandpaper on top of your paint.
Another tip I really like when you're washing your car – don't just spray water all over the place in random circles. Pick a panel – the hood for example – focus on that, then move to the next panel like the fender or the front bumper.
Another important thing to get to when you're doing your winter washing is actually cleaning out the inside of the fender. That's where you're going to find a lot of the crud from what you've been driving on.
Why clean the foam brush before using it?
I like to give this a clean in case someone else got it all filthy. I like to toss it on the ground, grab the wand, put it on rinse and just blast it out a bit.
How does wax protect the vehicle?
It protects the paint from all kinds of contaminants on the road – not to mention, makes it shiny and look good.
What's the last step?
We're going to rinse it with a spot-free rinse to get any extra wax or residue off the car. I like to, when it's on the gentle spray, just spray the crud that's under (the rear entrance) or anything that's on the bottom of the door, then we're going to wipe this dry to make sure nothing freezes when it goes outside.
What you're going to do with the compressed air is go around the window frame. Next step, we're going to shoot in the mirror, all inside. Lastly, we're going to hold the door handle open just a little bit and spray in behind.
It's also necessary to dry off the door frame. We wipe out all the water that has accumulated in the door frame to make sure nothing is going to freeze.