Chrysler 300M Enthusiasts Club
  • Winter care...

  • Maybe we should have called this the Zaino forum
Membership Banner

Maybe we should have called this the Zaino forum

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
 #325599  by LUNAT1C
 February 17th, 2014, 10:49 am
I'm looking into various and sundry methods for maintaining my car's finish during winter months, and hoping to come across a good method for apartment cleaning as well.

Last night I finally had the time, and weather conditions (a lot warmer at 24F, though there were still fat flakes coming down heavily at times) yesterday evening to replace my already dead battery and replace the 4-gauge cable going to the pos jump point. The car had sat since before Thanksgiving, so I took the opportunity to go to the touchless and have the dirt, salt, etc blasted off... tried not to pinch a hole in my seat driving around on snow-covered streets and parking lots on my summer tires. Naturally, the grime is still there. At least the salt was removed... here's to hoping it didn't destroy my finish.

I'd like to find a good method to wash it by hand in the winter. It seems a lot of people favor the ONR (Optimum No Rinse) method using the ONR cleaning/protecting solution, 5 gallon bucket, grit guard, and spray detailer. Some people who live in a complex, as I do, with no hose access, even do this year-round. Awesome!

But... what about those of us who live north of the Mason Dixon line? Here in metro Detroit, MI (only US city along the US-CAN border that is technically north of Canadia!) I think the temperature has risen above 32F *maybe* on two separate occasions. It has risen above 20F *maybe* 5 separate times. It *might* break 40F later this week... shorts weather!! Consequently, even though I can use hot water from my bathtub, I'm certain the water and suds would freeze to the car in short order at the daily average of 15-20F ambient, wind chill in the single digits and negatives. It's currently 9F.

Anyone have thoughts/advice/expertise? I really have to move to a locale where the air doesn't hurt my face... gotta love lake-effect misery (not really, I hate it!).
User avatar
 #325614  by Mottman
 February 17th, 2014, 2:46 pm
I cant think of a good way to clean it in this weather. Mine looks like h#ll right now
( not that it normally looks good anyway ).
Only thing that comes to mind is rent a heated garage for a day and clean and wax it
in there. Yeah, I know thats not really a help / possible. Sorry.

Like a terrible addictive drug

The EVIL Sickness
User avatar
 #325621  by Maximus
 February 17th, 2014, 6:07 pm
Too cold and too much snow and no garage so I'm in the same boat the car looks like crap. Its covered in salt from head to toe.
User avatar
 #325629  by monte4
 February 17th, 2014, 8:52 pm
Mine can look pretty nasty too for some stretches in the winter. I'm by no means an expert but I've been seriously detailing my own cars for over 40 yrs. I've tried just about everything out there (product wise) and every method of washing during winter. Here's how I do winter:

Note: I have a heated garage but no floor drain so washing must be done outside.

You have to start in the fall while the weather is still reasonable. In late Nov/early Dec I do a complete detail - wash, clay, machine polish (you have to think just like it's springtime, don't skip the work here, the cleaner you get the finish the better you'll be later on).
Use paint sealant not wax. Sealant lasts longer and you can layer it constantly (more on that later).

Once fully detailed, I'll put 4-5 coats of paint sealant on at about 2 hrs apart. Hopefully you can keep the car inside for this period of time so you're not getting airbourne dirt over the surface. If you're outside use a good quality detail spray with quality microfiber towels between coats. You have to use the right sealant so that it will cure quick enough to let you do that. Sealant that has to dry overnight is no good in this case. With quality sealant as long as the temp is over about 45 degrees you're ok to put it on.
Now you've got some good protection on to start winter.

During the winter I only wash the car at home where I can use a 2 bucket wash. In nasty weather I'll sometimes have to wait up to 2 weeks to wash the car. I have hot water in the garage but you can bring it outside from in the house if needed. As long as the temp is 25 degrees or over I'll wash the car outside. The trick here is to keep the car wet all the time - as you move around the car washing, keep going back and re-wetting your previous panels that you've already washed. Microfiber dry immediately with a good quality towel made for drying as it will work so much faster.

During the winter whenever the temps rise over freezing (you know when you get a quick thaw cycle), after you wash the car give it a couple more coats of sealant. I'm lucky that with the heated garage I can bring it in after washing and give it some sealant there, but with good quality sealant you can use it at 40 degrees and above.

The key to the whole deal is to keep sealant on the car all winter. With lots of protection even if you go 2 weeks or so between washes when you do wash you'll be surprised how good the car will still look after a wash.
Use top quality car shampoo (which will keep the sealant on much longer), quality wash mitts or pads and quality microfiber towels. If you scrimp here you'll just remove the sealant that much quicker. A 2 bucket wash system with grit guards is a must to keep the dirt in the bottom of your buckets and not on your mitt and scratching up the finish on the car.

I've purposely left out the names of the products I use as everyone has their own preference and there is lots of disagreement on what works best but I've used my system for 4 yrs now and both my truck and car look amazing all winter long after a wash. If you'se prefer I'll can list the all the stuff I use. If you're new to this, to get started with everything you'll need is going to cost you at least $100 but how much do you spend at the car wash or the coin operated wash over the winter. Guys from work ask me all the time to detail their vehicles for them but I refuse as most of them won't take the car afterward to preserve the finish...they just let them go.

Sorry about the long winded reply to this..........but hey, you asked 8)
User avatar
 #325632  by FIREM
 February 17th, 2014, 9:25 pm
This is the first winter that the red car has not been out in the salt & snow.
Fall coat of polish from Ocean City meet usually carries me thru the winter.
Look around for a car wash that hand washes, then sends the car thru for a rinse (my local place is like this)
Drives in to a shower of soap, two guys hand wash with mitts, then a full automated rinse.
They then towel dry the car including door jambs.
Quickie Vac, wash & windows all foe $11.50.
Every 10th wash is free, that's how the Pro-Am gets a wash.
User avatar
 #325640  by LUNAT1C
 February 17th, 2014, 11:47 pm
monte4 wrote:Mine can look pretty nasty too for some stretches in the winter. I'm by no means an expert but I've been seriously detailing my own cars for over 40 yrs. I've tried just about everything out there (product wise) and every method of washing during winter. Here's how I do winter:

Note: I have a heated garage but no floor drain so washing must be done outside.

You have to start in the fall while the weather is still reasonable. In late Nov/early Dec I do a complete detail - wash, clay, machine polish (you have to think just like it's springtime, don't skip the work here, the cleaner you get the finish the better you'll be later on).
Use paint sealant not wax. Sealant lasts longer and you can layer it constantly (more on that later).

Once fully detailed, I'll put 4-5 coats of paint sealant on at about 2 hrs apart. Hopefully you can keep the car inside for this period of time so you're not getting airbourne dirt over the surface. If you're outside use a good quality detail spray with quality microfiber towels between coats. You have to use the right sealant so that it will cure quick enough to let you do that. Sealant that has to dry overnight is no good in this case. With quality sealant as long as the temp is over about 45 degrees you're ok to put it on.
Now you've got some good protection on to start winter.

During the winter I only wash the car at home where I can use a 2 bucket wash. In nasty weather I'll sometimes have to wait up to 2 weeks to wash the car. I have hot water in the garage but you can bring it outside from in the house if needed. As long as the temp is 25 degrees or over I'll wash the car outside. The trick here is to keep the car wet all the time - as you move around the car washing, keep going back and re-wetting your previous panels that you've already washed. Microfiber dry immediately with a good quality towel made for drying as it will work so much faster.

During the winter whenever the temps rise over freezing (you know when you get a quick thaw cycle), after you wash the car give it a couple more coats of sealant. I'm lucky that with the heated garage I can bring it in after washing and give it some sealant there, but with good quality sealant you can use it at 40 degrees and above.

The key to the whole deal is to keep sealant on the car all winter. With lots of protection even if you go 2 weeks or so between washes when you do wash you'll be surprised how good the car will still look after a wash.
Use top quality car shampoo (which will keep the sealant on much longer), quality wash mitts or pads and quality microfiber towels. If you scrimp here you'll just remove the sealant that much quicker. A 2 bucket wash system with grit guards is a must to keep the dirt in the bottom of your buckets and not on your mitt and scratching up the finish on the car.

I've purposely left out the names of the products I use as everyone has their own preference and there is lots of disagreement on what works best but I've used my system for 4 yrs now and both my truck and car look amazing all winter long after a wash. If you'se prefer I'll can list the all the stuff I use. If you're new to this, to get started with everything you'll need is going to cost you at least $100 but how much do you spend at the car wash or the coin operated wash over the winter. Guys from work ask me all the time to detail their vehicles for them but I refuse as most of them won't take the car afterward to preserve the finish...they just let them go.

Sorry about the long winded reply to this..........but hey, you asked 8)

Sounds similar to what I've read about the ONR washes, where hoses are not practical due to location (apartment complex) and weather (well below freezing). Unfortunately I was too busy moving and traveling in November and December to do anything more than move the car to its new location that is far more exposed than the old one. Next year if I'm still in this place I think I'll suck it up and put the car in storage under cover and try to do this prep on the Charger.
FIREM wrote:This is the first winter that the red car has not been out in the salt & snow.
Fall coat of polish from Ocean City meet usually carries me thru the winter.
Look around for a car wash that hand washes, then sends the car thru for a rinse (my local place is like this)
Drives in to a shower of soap, two guys hand wash with mitts, then a full automated rinse.
They then towel dry the car including door jambs.
Quickie Vac, wash & windows all foe $11.50.
Every 10th wash is free, that's how the Pro-Am gets a wash.
Sounds like a myth to me... every place I've seen is a corrosive touchless or a swirl-inducing slapworks. Maybe Google will produce something. I've had to send the Charger through the slapper several times at $10 per run to get the underbody shot from the ungodly amount of salt coating every square inch. I know I'll be investing in a heavier cutting pad and heavy cut polish for my new PC come spring to get that PXR back up to snuff...
User avatar
 #325651  by FIREM
 February 18th, 2014, 7:30 am
http://www.yelp.com/biz/magic-hand-car- ... plainfield
Despite some poor comments, I'm a regular customer. I agree they suck at glass but once I get home the Invisaglass solves that in a few seconds.
On the plus side even if I do not get the tire dressing, the dry guy wipes all 12 spokes of every wheel, every time, drys the doorjambs and the trunk opening too....
User avatar
 #325658  by 300maximilien
 February 18th, 2014, 9:27 am
Just keep it covered!

Image
User avatar
 #325660  by LUNAT1C
 February 18th, 2014, 9:53 am
My cover is indoor-only. Don't have the $400 to spend on a quality outdoor cover when I'd really like to get it into a trans shop this spring for the valve body and a body shop for the ground effects paintwork. Plus I'm not comfortable leaving it covered long term in this area. Invites hooligans and thieves.
User avatar
 #325661  by 300maximilien
 February 18th, 2014, 10:18 am
I was being facetious...
User avatar
 #325667  by Maximus
 February 18th, 2014, 12:30 pm
I think Craig's cover is free :lol:
User avatar
 #325674  by LUNAT1C
 February 18th, 2014, 1:42 pm
If there was something critical to know in the picture he posted... I can't see it at work lol.

I googled and yelp'd for hand wash places and only found full-blown detail shops charging $90 for wash/wax/vacuum/wipedown/touchup. Problem with Detroit is that you have $2 and $3 and $4 slap-tunnels at every corner across the three major counties. There might be a place in Redford... but I found no information other than one yelp reviewer saying no one ever answered the phone and she never drover over there. Sigh. Supposed to be 38 tomorow when I leave work. I'll try and scrounge up a few quarters and bring my wash mitt to the self-serve. Rinse, soap, massage, rinse, dry, go. Better than nothing at all.

In the mean time I might invest in a bucket with grit guard and ONR solution. The weekend will bring another round of temperatures in the teens and wind chills near zero or less, but March should have a day or two over 30 that I can try that out with.
User avatar
 #325703  by Bill Putney
 February 18th, 2014, 6:09 pm
LUNAT1C wrote:If there was something critical to know in the picture he posted... I can't see it at work lol...
It's a photo of his car covered by about 18 inches of snow. :)
User avatar
 #325762  by LUNAT1C
 February 19th, 2014, 10:05 am
Bill Putney wrote:
LUNAT1C wrote:If there was something critical to know in the picture he posted... I can't see it at work lol...
It's a photo of his car covered by about 18 inches of snow. :)
In that case, mine has been covered most of winter. lmao
 #336432  by brodizzle83
 August 24th, 2014, 7:19 am
I actually have been thinking about this the past few days (basically ever since I bought the car lol) and I think today I will start the detail process by a little polish and buffer, then maybe some paint sealant. I've never used the sealant before but I've had it for a few years just sitting on my shelf. Then every month before the snow hits, I'll try to put a coat of wax on the car or maybe keep putting on that sealant stuff. We'll see. I'm kinda excited to see how much difference the buffer will make on the paint. Should look spectacular!