With winter on the way, rain, snow, ice and salt may soon be putting your vehicle at risk. Help avoid corrosion and other potential problems by following our winter preparation guide that will see your car through to spring.
Step One: Assess Your Vehicle
The first thing to do is take a good look around the car and mark down any areas that may need special attention or dedicated cleaners. Are there stone chip, tar spots, fallout out or maybe the dreaded rust to be aware of while working. Spending a couple of minutes now can save you time later on.
Step Two: Soft Top Cleaning
This Ferrari F430 has a soft top. We want to ensure it is cleaned, re-proofed and protected before the winter weather sets in. We’ll be using our Convertible Soft Top Clean & Protect Complete Kit for this job.
1. Start by carefully vacuuming the whole hood.
2. Then damp the hood and apply Soft Top Cleaner in a sweeping motion to ensure even coverage.
3. Use the sponge provided to agitate the hood fully, ensuring all the dirt is lifted from the fabric hood.
4. Rinse the sponge out as you work in a clean bucket of water.
5. Don’t forget to get into the seams too, dirt likes to hide in there too.
Step Three: Soft Top Rinsing & Drying
With the soft top washed, it is time for a very thorough rinse to remove all the cleaner then pat dry with a Hi-Tech Microfibre Drying Towel. We will apply the Proofer later on.
1. Pat the hood dry with a Hi-Tech Microfibre Drying Towel or an Hi-Tech Aqua Dry.
2. The key to a well protected and proofed soft top is ensuring that all of the cleaner is rinsed out. Don’t rush this step!
3. You should be left with a clean, algae free roof. If your hood is in poor condition you may need to repeat this step.
Step Four: Wheels
Next we move to the wheels. We applied Custom Wheel Cleaner, agitated with brushes, then rinsed to leave a gleaming wheel. You can also use Clean Wheels here if you choose. Check the product pages to find what wheel cleaner is best for you. Having clinically clean wheels will prepare them for a protective coat of Wheel Protector later.
Wheels look OK from far away, but up close it can be a different matter. Here we see brake dust and dirt all over the 14 spoke alloys.
1. Use a wheel cleaner to loosen the dirt and a selection of brushes to help access all the nooks and crannies.
2. With an open wheel design it is important to get to all the dirt and brake dust behind the wheel face too.
3. Keep on cleaning till all the dirt is gone and then rinse well to remove any cleaner residue.
Step Five: Bodywork Wash
This particular car isn’t a daily driver, but it is used often. So although it appears clean there are still improvements to be made. During the pre-rinse the car was beading well, proof that the High Definition Wax applied in the summer is still in place.
1. Pre-rinse the bodywork with a pressure washer or hose to remove loose dirt and grime.
2. Wash with pH neutral Bodywork Shampoo or Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner starting from the top down.
3. Autoglym shampoos are excellent at shifting dirt, but also gentle on sensitive surfaces and wax safe too.
Step Six: Bodywork Rinse & Dry
With the body wash complete. Time for a careful dry of the bodywork, engine compartment and shuts with a Hi-Tech Microfibre Drying Towel.
1. Rinsing away the shampoo you can still see the previous application of High Definition Wax beading on the bonnet. We last waxed this car in August and it has had plenty of use since then.
2. Now to dry the car off with a Hi-Tech Microfibre Drying Towel.
3. Also carefully dry all of the shuts and water trap areas with the Drying Towel.
4. If the car required tar removal, claying or any other decontamination work, now is the time to do it. We assessed this car and aside from some minor tar removal these steps were not required. We used Intensive Tar Remover on the wheel arch edges.
Step Seven: Waxing
With the bodywork dry and clean it is waxing time! We are protecting all the exterior hard surfaces with High Definition Wax ahead of the winter weather. The wax beading will help keep the car dry and act as a protective layer against road salt and dirt. During our assessment of the vehicle, we noted that it did not require polishing. If your car has lost it’s gloss, use Super Resin Polish to restore the paintwork before waxing.
Even though the previous coat of High Definition Wax is still in place this is a winter preparation session, so we decided to add another coat to ensure we are fully protected. High Definition Wax is applied with the supplied foam applicator. We use these applicators slightly damp to help the wax to spread easily ensuring a thin even layer.
1. Apply a coat of High Definition Wax to all of the hard exterior surfaces.
2. The lower areas of the car come under the greatest attack during the winter, so it is important that these areas are fully covered. Make sure your bumpers and sills are fully covered.
3. Remember to wax inside the door shuts too, this is a classic water trap area.
Step Eight: Fabric Hood and Engine Protection
We will leave the High Definition Wax on the car and buff it off later. That is the beauty of High Definition Wax, it doesn’t set hard if you leave it. We’ll use the dry excess wax to protect the paintwork from any overspray while we re-proof the soft top.
We are using the second part of our kit, Soft Top Protector to waterproof and protect the fabric hood of the F430 Spyder.
1. Apply in overlapping strokes to ensure full coverage.
2. We are also paying special attention to the engine. Although fully capable of dealing with a range of temperatures and humidity, a little extra help won’t hurt the rubbers and plastic. We applied Bumper & Trim Detailer, you can also use Vinyl & Rubber Care.
Step Nine: Buff Off Wax, Dress Tyres, Protect Alloys, Clean Glass
Time to buff off the High Definition Wax, apply a coat of Wheel Protector, apply Instant Tyre Dressing and clean the glass with Fast Glass.
1. The High Definition Wax we applied earlier comes away easily with no effort at all with the supplied Hi-Tech Finishing Cloth.
2. We dress the tyre walls with Instant Tyre Dressing and remove any excess to leave a factory finish matt sheen.
3. The alloys are much more presentable now and we apply a coating of Wheel Protector to keep them dirt and brake dust free. Wheel Protector prevents brake dust and dirt from adhering to the wheel surface.
4. Finally we clean all of the glass and mirrors inside and out with Fast Glass.
The paintwork which appeared clean before is now absolutely glowing, that red is amazing after a coat of High Definition Wax.
Step Ten: Stand Back & Enjoy
That is how you prepare your car for winter. A deep clean followed by getting a protective coat on all surfaces.
This is also a great time to top up with Ultimate Screenwash diluted to winter strength to prevent freezing and add a bottle of De-Icer to your on board car care essentials kit.