DIY (but be careful)
OK, February holidays here in France have just finished. For many this means a return from the Alps or Pyrenees and the bliss that is (or was) the skiing holidays. Apart from skis, snowboarders and vin chaud, the other thing that goes together with snow is road salt. This essential ingredient allows those of us who choose to live in milder climates to still move about on the roads when the snow falls.
Designed to lower the freezing point of water the road 'salt' sits on the tarmac and in most cases will stop or at least slow the snow from settling on the road. When you put your nice clean car on the road, one and one thing only is going to happen, it's going to get dirty! As a side bit, the salt is rather aggressive to metals, plastics and rubber so you would do well to get it off your car ASAP
Which brings me to the DIY part. What to do when you are on holiday and your friendly car cleaner is not available? Wash it yourself!!!! I know, a crazy concept but hear me out. Ideally, your detailer has protected your car in a way that as Rule 01 says 'Give yourself a chance to succeed' This will only ever happen if your start with a protected car.
So, step 1, AVOID THE DRIVE THROUGH CAR WASHES!!!!! They do not work and will damage your car, so look for a high pressure spray version instead.
Step 2, go straight for the RINCE option. Do not choose the soap / foam settings, this will just strip your car of any wax + protection it has and given the salt on the road, you need all the help you can get. Under no circumstances touch that broom thing lying on the floor either. All you want now is clean flowing water. Start on the roof and work your way around the car keeping the spray nozzle no closer that 15 cm from your paint.
Step 3, make three laps of your car paying close attention to your wheels, really get all the angles you can, don't forget the wheel arches too. Ideally you want to spend a good 5 mins on this spray part of the wash..
Step 4, drive your car out of the wash bay and park up somewhere close. Now break out the spray wax and the clean microfibre towel you have. Save time by spraying the wax directly on to your wet car. Why? For lots of reasons but mainly, the wax will help prevent scratches when drying and essentially lubricates your paint. The spray wax is good for all surfaces from paintwork to plastics and rubber so don't worry about where it goes. I would however caution against using it on your tires (a waste) and the windows (a personal preference) Fold your MF towel into 4 (½ then ½ again) and get drying. You want straight lines (no drying in circles please) and follow the contours of your car. When your towel is damp enough, wring it out and carry on. If it gets dirty change sides (remember, your have 8 sides of clean towel to use) Don't forget to wipe down wheel rims, bumpers, wing mirrors and grills (after your paintwork to reduce the risk of scratches)
TOP TIP: get your MF towel damp first and wring out before starting, it'll behave and work so much better if you do.
Step 5, enjoy the fact you have cleaned your car in under 15 mins and that it looks soooo much better that all the other cars safe in the knowledge it is still rocking it's winter protection.
Easy stuff, and to make it even easier I've added a link to the spray wax and MF towels that I recommend, keep them in your car and you can always perform a quick emergency wash safely, efficiently and easily if you need to.
As always, email me any questions you may have, I'm happy to answer any questions or queries you may have. Until next time, happy washing + drive safe.