How should you clean your car to help it survive through winter?

Frosty advice from the sages at Gtechniq

12w ago

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If you drive your car every day, the rule of thumb is that one wash a week should be enough to keep on top of road grime and other contaminants, keeping your car looking pristine. If you wash your car more frequently than this, the quicker you may introduce micro-scratching and paintwork defects.

Here's a guide to making sure that when you do come to wash your car, you're doing a thorough job and using products that'll help keep your pride and joy looking, well, joyful.

The start

Always try to wash your car in the shade, this will prevent soap suds from drying prematurely before you have a chance to rinse them off. If you can't and have no choice but to wash it in the heat of the sun, soap suds should be rinsed panel by panel. Ideally any rinsing should be done with an open-ended hose, this allows the water to sheet, making drying an easier task.

Apply a thick layer of Gtechniq W4 Citrus Foam all over your dry car using a foam lance. If you do not have a foam lance then dilute and spray W5 Citrus All Purpose Cleaner onto your car – this will do the same job as the snow foam. Once applied, leave the foam or all-purpose cleaner to dwell on the car for up to five minutes. Rinse the foam from the car with a relatively high pressure jet of water to remove as much grime as possible before you start any hand washing. Once you have conducted the initial decontamination you can work on areas that need more attention.

Gtechniq's W6 Iron and General Fallout Remover can be sprayed on your car's wheels or on any surface that's coated in brake dust. Spray W6 directly onto the surface and allow it to dwell for 3-5 minutes. During this time any ferrous particles will dissolve forming a purple solution. After this rinse the residue away with water.

If your wheels are particularly dirty you may want to agitate them with a soft tipped wheel cleaning brush and W5 Citrus All Purpose Cleaner.

What about the stubborn spots?

No matter how well coated or protected your car may be, tar spots are an inevitable part of everyday driving. Spray W7 Tar and Glue Remover directly onto any tar spots, leave it to dwell for a maximum of 1 to 2 minutes and then rinse it away. When using this product it is critical to avoid any plastics, graphics and any smart repaired surfaces.

W6 and W7 can be used as many times as required prior to washing. In extreme cases you may want to use an MF1 ZeroR Microfibre Buff Cloth to agitate the surface.

How to hand wash your car

After the second stage of decontamination, it's time to begin the hand washing process. Start with the wheels, wheel arches and lower sides around the exhaust.

Fill one bucket of water with Gwash, and another with fresh water (use grit guards in the bottom if you have them), dunk the wash mitt into the suds, wash a wheel and then rinse it in the clean water, before dipping it into the soapy bucket again.

Throughout the wash process, make sure you use plenty of soap suds on your mitt and rinse it thoroughly. Keep an eye on the water becoming too dirty, and replace both buckets as and when necessary.

Once you have finished cleaning the wheels do not use the same WM2 Microfibre Wash Mitt or the same buckets of water to wash your car’s paintwork. Instead, use a new wash mitt and two fresh buckets of water (one with Gwash in), because brake dust is highly abrasive, and should be kept away from paintwork at all costs.

Always begin washing the paintwork on the upper surfaces (roof, bonnet and boot), and work your way down.

Again fill one bucket of water with Gwash, and another with fresh water (use grit guards in the bottom if you have them), dunk the wash mitt into the shampoo, wash a panel then rinse it in the clean water.

Even though all steps are being taken to reduce marring and swirl marks, it is also important you try to follow the lines of the car, using a back and forth, or side to side motion. Rinse your car well all over with fresh water to remove all soap residues.

Time to dry

Dry all of the exterior surfaces of your car with an MF2 Microfibre Drying Towel or MF4 Diamond Sandwich Microfibre Drying Towel. Never use a real leather chamois for drying as they are too harsh for modern paints and can scratch the surface. Because of the coating on your car, drying the surface will require much less effort. Do not scrub or use any force when drying. Simply lay the drying cloth across the surface and pull it towards you. Do not leave your car to dry naturally as this will leave water spots, which may cause damage to the surface if not removed.

For a streak and spot-free finish use Gtechniq Quick Detailer with a MF1 ZeroR MicroFibre Buff Cloth.

Once you have dried your wheels and tyres, apply T2 Tyre Dressing to the tyres with an AP3 Foam Filled Applicator for a slick finish.

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Comments (2)

  • Safety notice: If a friend or relative lives around the corner, wash your car on their property to avoid freezing ice on your own driveway. 😉

      2 months ago
  • Don’t forget to put silicon on any door rubber to prevent them from freezing.

      2 months ago