Self-Service Car Wash: Winter vs. Summer

Different seasons require changes in car maintenance, including washing. A steam machine for car detailing can be used in any season. If you prefer self-service stations, prepare your vehicle according to the time of year. Do not wait too long — sludge must be removed regularly. 

How Often Should I Wash My Car in Winter?

Opinions range from once a week to twice a month to whenever necessary. If the car looks worse for wear due to cold weather, it is time for a wash. You can use an auto detail steam cleaner or drive to a car wash. 

In winter, vehicles are affected by a harsh environment: salt, sand, and chemicals. These help vehicles maintain traction, all the sludge is tossed up by the wheels, so it covers the bodywork, the windows, everything. Furthermore, as snow melts, new ice is formed, and more chemicals are used. Fortunately, a car detailing steamer can remove all of them. 

Why Winter Wash Is Crucial

In winter, your car begins to look dusty-white. This is not dust, though, but a nasty mixture of chemicals that cause corrosion. Without regular washing, the effects are expensive. The harmful film may contain compounds like:

  • Calcium chloride (CaCl2)
  • Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
  • Magnesium chloride (MgCl2)
  • Potassium acetate (KAc)
  • Sodium chloride (NaCl)

These are liquid or solid chemicals, mostly salt-based. They are used as anti-icing or deicing agents. Additionally, vehicles are subjected to fuels, oils, greases, and other natural and artificial materials. 

All of these substances cause corrosion, even if your car has a non-metal body — its undercarriage is still made of metal. Brakes, suspension, and transmissions are also affected. As you can see, winter cleaning is directly linked to safety.

Rules for Winter Washing

  • Make sure your vehicle will have dried by sunset;
  • Get a carriage undercoating at an auto shop;
  • Lubricate locks, latches, and gas-cap hinges (for example, with WD-40);
  • Rinse the undercarriage thoroughly;
  • Use RainX for the windshield;
  • Wax regularly;
  • Remove salt and dirt from wiper blades;
  • Treat all seals with a silicone spray to prevent sticking;
  • Use de-icer for stubborn locks.

Tips for Summer Care

In summer, you can wash the car in your own driveway. The Fortador auto detailing steamers may be used all year round, and they offer the most sustainable cleaning method. If you do use detergents, steer clear of household cleaners. They will strip off your wax and paint. In addition: 

  1. wax the car in shade to ensure a lower temperature; 
  2. avoid the rotary buffer unless you are a pro;
  3. pressure wash with caution to keep the paint intact and exclude sensitive areas.

The Bottom Line

Unsurprisingly, winter is the most popular season for a car wash. Around a third of car owners use stations in the winter, while just a quarter do it in the summer. This is understandable — only some drivers have a heated garage with drainage and running water. Meanwhile, lucky owners of a steam cleaner for cars can wash their vehicles themselves whatever the season.

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