It is around now that our customers’ thoughts turn towards protecting their vehicles against the winter weather. Rain, snow, grit, salt and various other elements combine to create havoc with a car’s paintwork. This is where our Winter Protection Valet proves invaluable. The careful cleaning and surface preparation ensures the waxes and sealants we apply to the various surfaces will provide maximum protection.
Here we have detailed the processes carried out in a Winter Protection Valet on one of our customer’s cars.
The car in question is a 65 plate Jeep Wrangler. It has previously trekked across the Sahara, and this year completed an adventure across the Balkans. The owner takes great pride and care of the car but, as in previous years, wanted us to go that bit further with the prep and application of some of the best products available.
Although not particularly dirty – despite living down a farm track, the car was given a comprehesive multi-stage wash. This involved the use of surface cleaners, non-acidic wheel cleaner, degreaser, pH neutral snow foam, tar remover, iron fallout remover, and copious amounts of water.
The result was a fundamentally clean car, but we had a further trick up our sleeve – well, in the van, actually. A clay bar. This was used to remove any remaining contamination from the paintwork and glass. A final rinse and we had a seriously clean car.
Every surface, door opening, rubber seal, nook and cranny was thoroughy dried, including wheels, tyres and wheel arches.
At this stage the arches were also treated with a product that helps discourage mud and dirt sticking to them.
Although the wash processes left the paintwork extremely clean, we like to take the preparation to the next level. For this we used a paintwork cleanser which addresses very fine swirl marks and scratches as well as leaving the paint literally squeaky clean.
Depending on a number of factors (car manufacturer, paint colour, ambient temperature, sunlight and mositure), we use cleansers made by Sonus or Swissvax. Once the cleanser was buffed off the surface was in the best possible condition for the next stage. And it really shone!
Waxing and sealing
At this stage of the job the car was looking rather good – even if we say so ourselves!
We applied one coat of a durable wax and once it had cured buffed it off with a soft microfibre cloth.
We then applied a spray sealant containing silicon dioxide. This cures very quickly, and once buffed added a further layer of protection as well as enhancing the depth of shine.
Unpainted, plastic trims on cars are often a problem to keep looking good. They are easily damaged by UV from sun light, and if not protected will fade.
We treated all external, textured black surfaces with a product that really does what it says on the tin (and no, it’s not made by that company!).
It takes a while to apply but the results are worth it. Once cured it is non-greasy, and any residue can be simply buffed off. The finish provides a waterproof barrier that will last for up to 2 months.
During the wash processes, the wheels were cleaned with a non-acidic wheel cleaner and iron fallout remover to ensure all dirt and brake dust was removed.
Despite the owner taking great care of the wheels, like the majority of black-painted alloys, there was evidence of fine scratches on the faces. This could be addressed with machine polishing but that is a different service.
To protect the wheels through the winter they were treated with a ceramic coating. This coating is heat resistant as well as being water repellant, and should last for a few months during the tough winter period.
Although not part of our Winter Protection Valet, the customer wanted the interior of the Jeep to look as good as possible.
We carried out a Gold level interior valet with the addition of leather treatment.
The rubbber mats were treated with the same product we use on the wheel arches, which is not slippery or greasy but does make subsequent cleaning easier.
As previously mentioned, the glass was washed and decontaminated with chemicals and clay bar.
It was then further cleaned with an isopropyl alcohol-based glass cleaner, and sealed with a silicon dioxide sealant. This not only increases shine when viewed externally but improves visibility from the interior.
With the glass now being hydrophobic, water and dirt will be significantly less inclined to adhere to the surface.
All rubber door seals were treated with a wax that should make them less liable to freeze during very cold weather.
The end result
The Winter Protection Valet here was undertaken on a rare dry October day. The light varied throughout, so colour variations in the images are apparent, though the car itself was the same colour!
The preparation work ensured the car was absolutely clean, providing the best possible surfaces for our protection products. It would be almost impossible to achieve the depth of shine or the levels of protection without carrying out the processes detailed here.
We were happy with the result and, most importantly, our customer was very happy too.