FAQ: Winter Product Storage and Use
This has become a common question in the past few weeks:
How do you effectively store and transport your detailing products to and from the garage in an area where the temps dip below freezing in the winter?
Odds are if you live in a climate where freezing is a reality you have some areas in the house that can be dedicated to product storage. Whether your significant other is completely OK with you using up that space for car care products is another discussion - and something we can't help you with
Laundry rooms, mud rooms, or even a corner of your basement make great storage places that won't see the extreme temperatures. Things like tools, towels, brushes, and other accessories luckily won't be adversely affected by low temps. Keep those stored in your usual places in the garage so they're ready to use.
Maybe make sure to have plenty of towels at the ready for those emergency wipe downs, but pack pads away for winter storage if you don't plan on doing any polishing.
REALLY THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED
Most of us here think the same way. Its nice to have all your products and supplies proudly displayed in one area. The bright colors, shiny labels, and the way they look all organized is nice. That collection of gallons prominently displayed on a shelf sure will impress your detailing buddies, but we sometimes have to compromise to compensate for the weather.
Assemble a collection or 2 of products that you know will be needed during the winter months. Odds are you won't be doing many full correction details and most of your winter cleaning will be to prevent damage from Salt/Mag Chloride or just knock loose the buildup.
Having an Adam's Americana Detailers Bag (or a few) with collections of 'needed' products for specific situations will help make your trips down to the basement or into the laundry room only something you have to do once before starting and the transport of the products is much easier.
Sometimes you just need to neutralize all that salt before putting the car away for the night. Use waterless wash to wipe down door jambs, saturate lower rocker panels, wheels, and other salt heavy areas with diluted car wash shampoo (rinse if possible). The use of a boars hair brush to knock icicles loose from the underside of your car is helpful. Remember to keep it clear of visible painted areas as when frozen it can possibly cause scratches.
If you have access to heated water in the garage or can reasonably transport large quantities to the garage for use in sprayers DO SO. The warm water will help melt the ice and take most of the salt with it.
Clean up that buildup in the interior as well. No matter how hard you try some 'winter' will make it inside your ride. Clean all the surfaces and apply conditioner as needed. Also clean and dress exterior trim. DO NOT FORGET TO DRESS DOOR & WINDOW SEALS! These areas often get neglected and deteriorate in winter. Clean with diluted car wash or waterless wash then dress LIBERALLY with Super VRT.
'Nice Day' Wash Kit:
This can also be packed into a 5 gallon gamma seal bucket if you don't have a bag. If not keep your 2 buckets with grit guards and wash pads at the ready in the garage.
So maybe there's a break in the weather and your ride is looking rough! You don't want to do a full detail because odds are the roads are still pretty sloppy. Having this collection ready to go allows you to remove that winter muck with a full 2 bucket wash and apply the necessary protection to any exterior surfaces that might need it.
"But its too cold to wash!" you might say. "My hands hurt when its 12* outside." and while this may be true, there are ways to circumvent the cold. If even on the nicest of winter days the weather is too cold to wash I suggest buying a set of long cuff scuba diving gloves (Scubamax Max Flex Dry Diving Gloves GV706 with reviews at scuba.com) The high wrist cuff prevents water from getting inside and the design of a 'dry' glove like the one above is 100% water proof with excellent dexterity. This lets you dunk that wash pad on even the coldest of days without getting your hands wet.
Also having shoes with good traction to prevent slipping on that potentially frozen driveway is very important. Try to choose a shoe that is waterproof as well. A clean car is no good if you break your bones falling or lose a few toes to frostbite while you clean it.
The 'I don't care if its freezing' paint correction kit:
Keep in mind, most processes in this kit are going to be very difficult in temps below 45* so keep that in mind going in.
While we don't necessarily recommend trying to pull off a full detail when the temps are freezing, there are those of us (*cough* raises hand *cough*) that will still refuse to succumb to winter and get some polishing in.
Keep in mind almost all the products become much harder to work with in very low temps. If you can heat your garage with the door closed please do... temps lower than about 45* mean polishes are difficult to work with, streaking might be seen with detail spray, and your clay will be a brick.
If you insist on claying remove a chunk an place into a plastic bowl, or baggie. Fill the bowl or bag with hot water from the empty bottle listed above and allow the heat to soften the clay to a point where it is workable.
Keep the warm water at the ready and replenish as needed. Spray the bar and even the panel you are claying occasionally to keep it from hardening again.
Increase work times on polishes accordingly and expect to see some issues with residue removal as the temps may cause streaking.
We recommend Quick Sealant for protection as the cure time is short and the chances of streaking are very low.
Having these kits, or any other specific collections of product ready to go (feel free to post your suggestions) will make detailing in the worst time of year easier. Grab just the bag or bags you need from your storage area and get to work. Refill used products after each session so they're ready to go again next time.
Re: FAQ: Winter Product Storage and Use
Nice write up...I have hot water in the garage(or if it's a sunny day in the 30's), so I'm always turning on a little heat, then washing the car, just to get the salt off, even if I just use the electric pressure washer, and clean the windows, I feel better. I have big Rubbermaid containers(laundry basket size) I keep my stuff in...LSP's, cleaners, rags, etc all have their own, but it's always in/out of the garage, through the house, down to the basement. I do have the luxury of going to where I work, large warehouse type shop with heat when I want to do a more involved winter cleaning, but again, load up all my stuff, cuz I always end up doing just a little more while it's in a 60 degree shop in winter. I always treat my door trim to help keep it from freezing as my work truck is outside 24/7...I dose it with clear silicone October/November ish, then keep it up with "dressing" over the winter...I can spray it off in 15 degree weather and doors won't freeze shut. I think it's time to move south :)
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