Keeping your vehicle clean at all times in Iowa during the winter months is impossible! But! That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! A good wash during the winter will help keep your vehicle looking new, improve its future resale value, keep your driving vision clear, and protect your paint job from rust and corrosion. Winter temps here in the Midwest present some car cleaning challenges, that’s for sure. Here are a few of our best LOF-Xpress™ approved methods for Safely Washing your Car in the Winter.
As a rule of thumb, we recommend washing your vehicle every 10 days or so during the coldest months. Ideally, 40+ degree days are best, but let’s be honest – those are pretty hard to come by this time of year!
Option 1: Hand Washing
One fairly well-known hand washing method is known as the Great White Winter Wash, or traditional two-bucket wash. This method uses a minimal amount of water, but can result in a thorough cleaning.
Another at-home hand washing technique uses warm soapy water, with a little baking soda to help dissolve dried salt on the vehicle’s surface.
Regardless of which way you choose to wash at home, we encourage you to use a sponge or wash-mitt for a smooth, unscratched finish. Also, pay special attention to behind the mud flaps, under door handles, in all cracks and crevices, and the undercarriage where salt buildup can occur. And don’t forget to wash the wheels! They suffer the most during the winter months.
Option 2: Waterless Car Wash
Waterless Car Washes allow you to clean your car without a hose and bucket! As great as they are, however, these formulas can certainly be affected by very cold, sub 32 degree weather. Therefore, it is recommended to find a location where temps are more evenly regulated. Idea: Head to a local mall or even Downtown Des Moines where there are covered parking garages. This will get you out of the wind and temps tend to be a few degrees higher inside.
Option 3: Car Wash
Standing outside in the middle of winter not your idea of fun?!? Us either! If you opt for the more popular method of visiting car wash, be sure to choose one with handheld pressure wands. When washing, start at the top of the vehicle, working your way down, again paying particular attention to the underside, and in all cracks and crevices.
Once your vehicle has been washed and rinsed, it is important to thoroughly dry the exterior. Opening the car doors will also allow any trapped moisture or wash water to dry/drain, rather than pool and freeze.
Regardless of which wash method you choose to wash, we encourage you to consider waxing. Wax acts as a barrier between salt and debris and your vehicle, prolonging the life of your paint and exterior. Bonus: Wax gives your car a killer shine! In the winter months, you may opt for a spray wax, as they are easy to use and convenient to apply.
For us cold weather inhabitants, winter can be brutal on our cars – both inside and out. However, keeping our vehicles clean, not only ensure that they look good, it also keeps them running well. If your vehicle has been through the ringer this winter, despite regular washes, but sure to stop and see us at one of our two LOF-Xpress™ locations. Our technicians will get your car running as well as she looks!