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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

A 14-step winter detailing checklist ... for your daily driver | Hagerty Media

Hagerty has shared plenty of great articles and advice about winter storage for your classic car. But what about your daily driver? How do you prepare it for the cold, salt, and snow that many of us face? For those of us that live in colder climates, our nightmares are beginning to be filled with our greatest fears ...
https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/a-winter-detailing-checklist-for-your-daily-drive...
37 REPLIES 37
audiobycarmine
Advanced Driver

What about wheelwells? Surely, they are the most vulnerable areas for rust to begin.
I recommend a two-step/two day procedure... Thoroughly wash and power-rinse inside all the wells. The next day, when all should be dry(?), I spray the inner surfaces with WD40, being careful not to get it on any brake components, (plastic bags to cover those.) Spray-on paint or undercoating is probably better, but these would also seal in any contaminants that might still remain.
Aquadave
Intermediate Driver

A little of the rubber protectant you use on the door rubbers is good for the window rubbers on your doors as well, Don't spray it on. Wipe on just a bit with the window lowered and leave the window down long enough for the product to dry. Otherwise it will streak your windows. My 2015 Jetta has a problem on cold snowy days with the windows freezing but if I do this and remove the built up snow and ice it alleviates this problem.
MattFink
Detailer

Fantastic point, thanks for sharing!
bblhed
Detailer

Oil change, I like to just get it done around Thanksgiving. Unless I have about 4,000 miles of life left on the oil I like to get it changed before the snow flies so that I don't have to do it in the bitter cold.
deckerbilt
Intermediate Driver

Anything different for my aluminum bodied F-150? I am real curious to see how it holds up against perforation.
elldorado2000
Intermediate Driver

These things will make the outside of your car nice, but if you aren't treating the underside, it is still going to rust away on you. In NE Ohio, you need to wash your car almost twice a week, not every other week. You need to be putting something on the underside if your car like, Fluid Film, Bar Chain oil, engine oil, transmission fluid, mineral oil, vaseline, WD 40 .....anything to protect it from salt.
If you work on your own car and don't have a can of Fluid Film, etc ,etc to spray whatever wheel well you are working in, you are wasting a perfect opportunity for rust protection. Slather it on. There is a reason bone yards are FULL of transmissions and engines. Because the body always goes first because too many people don't have a clue.
MattFink
Detailer

Good advice. I do think NE Ohio gets dramatically more weather, and therefore more salt, than we do in where I live in central Ohio. Thanks for sharing.
DanC
Pit Crew

I always schedule my tire replacements for November. Good tires with crisp edges are immeasurably better in winter.
lowmiles
Pit Crew

I use Fluid Film to save my cars and truck from rust. They sell a kit with a nozzle to get inside frames, doors. There are also shops and dealers that have rust preventive services, like salt brine eliminator, oil undercoating ( like Fluid Film) nhoilundercoating.com My 1998 Blazer I bought new with 157K is solid.
MattFink
Detailer

Thanks for sharing, glad it is working on your Blazer.
2Classics95N72
Intermediate Driver

Some great and very beneficial ideas for your "Daily Driver". I always found that I usually spent more time on my "Classics", which I put away during the winter months and as many of us somewhat neglected my "Daily Driver". After spending all weekend on the classic, cleaning, waxing, changing oil, minor repairs ensuring that "she" was ready for that enjoyable "Cuiz"....well, yep the "Daily" was ignored. I thought about, I accepted my neglect, so I fixed it.

I LEASED MY DAILY DRIVER!

MERRY CHRISTMAS
MattFink
Detailer

Haha, that makes sense. Thanks for sharing!
F360Spider
Detailer

Winter checklist for my daily driver:

1. Is car still in the driveway?
2. Drive it.
Pete
Pit Crew

By far, the thing that does the most damage in winter is potholes. Big diameter aluminum wheels with low-profile tires (like on most all new cars) are especially vulnerable. There's not much you can do except keep your eyes peeled ahead to watch for them. If you need to replace wheels, keep in mind the load rating of the wheel. Some of the most expensive wheels are also the weakest.
MattFink
Detailer

For sure. For my winter tires, I always go down a size in wheel so it can have a taller side wall tire to help protect it against potholes.
DavidHolzman
Detailer

I use steel rims for my snow tires, and my tires are not low profile. (I live in New England.)
neilternet
Pit Crew

After washing inside glass for 50 years I finally figured out that the wet towel/dry towel method works the best and I use microfiber towels. Rental cars always have dirty windshields so when I make the first motel stop I always clean the windshield.
MattFink
Detailer

Absolutely! The two towel method is the only way to get rid of those streaks. I thought I was the only one who cleaned rental car windshields! I swear they must use the dirtiest soapy rag they can find to clean inside windows.
DaveP
Pit Crew

Beware of car wash operations that wash your undercarriage - Many facilities "recycle" the wash water. I asked about this and one car wash owner said the they "filter" out the salt, which is basically BS, unless they have an expensive reverse osmosis (RO) system, which is highly unlikely. I know this b/c water quality/chemistry issues are what I do for my "day job" ( RO is used to desalinate sea water and is expensive).

So - a car wash facility may just be spraying salt water into every crevice of your car.

Just do it yourself with non-salty water when the temps allow.

40Ford
Detailer

I don’t know about all states but in Colorado, where my son lives, they are requiring them to install an underground tank to catch the dirty drain water.
Dirt settles to the bottom to be pumped out and taken away, water on top drains to the sewer.
Tinkerah
Technician

I had never considered this and is well worth publicizing. Thank You!
HondaCollector
Pit Crew

I had always encountered problems getting my windows clean. One day I asked a professional who was cleaning a store window how he got his so clean. He said the secret was using a squeegee to remove the dirty water after first cleaning it. Otherwise you are just moving around dirty water leaving streaks. I purchased a small rubber bladed squeegee to remove the cleaner and water after my first cleaning. I then go to the 2 towel process described in the other comments. This works inside and outside and makes a world of difference. It is also much faster.
redling5
New Driver

I'm poor girl. WD-40 Everything. Mink oil on Leather & Vinegar & newspaper for glass.
Papa-tony
Intermediate Driver

Well...

One day, grabbing the wrong bottle, I accidently sprayed Meguire's HOT SHINE Tire Dressing on my dashboard.

I wiped it off... and it of course made part of the dash "shinier" than the rest, so I wiped down the entire dash with it... hoping it wouldn't destroy anything.

It didn't, and inside the car it lasts for many months over any other similar type interior "detailer". I've been doing this for at least a decade now... and use it on everything, including the tires!

(I have found that all of Meguire's products tend to do exactly what they say they will do, and more!)

I will also clean up the engine bay with soap and water, let it dry and then spray the entire compartment with it. Keeps all the rubber soft and looking NEW... and it has become my ONE single cleaning, preserving and detailing spray.

I suggest you try it, you might like it as well!
MattFink
Detailer

I like a lot of Meguiar's products. Probably half of the stuff I use on customer's cars is Meguiar's. I have never tried Hot Shine in all those ways those!
DavidHolzman
Detailer

I haven't done much of anything along these lines. The major problem on my 12 year old Civic is the beginnings of rot on the undercarriage; the other problem is that my windshield is scratched enough that it's hard to see out of when the sun strikes it at certain angles.

Irv Gordon, the man with the 3 million mile Volvo P1800, used to hose off his undercarriage every time he drove the car when there was salt on the road. Which would have been every school day during the 30 years he taught after he bought the car. And that reportedly kept the car from rusting out.
40Ford
Detailer

Cold, salt, snow, what's that?
It's not in my neighborhood!
Jerseyboy
New Driver

Try Neutrowash by RHOMAR
A lot of fleets use it as well as state Dept. of Transportations that physically do the salt applications.
Geok86
Advanced Driver

Best way to protect your vehicles from winter....I moved south, and now I also get to enjoy the hobby car year round too.
Whiskytangofoxt
Pit Crew

Check your tire pressure, when it gets cold the pressure decreases even more in your tires. Low pressure and a few inches of snow de-beads the tire, then you have really low pressure. I saw this a lot in snow country. Years ago I used to help change lots of tires at the first snow
Ric_Rabbit
Pit Crew

Don't forget to fill the washer fluid tank with something that won't freeze.
MoparMarq
Detailer

Just a reiteration of the silicone spray on the door weatherstrips. In fact I use the exact stuff in the picture. Often the doors would be near impossible to open in the morning after a night of sub-freezing temperatures ('01 Durango). So much so that I worried about breaking the (plastic) door handles off. Treating (all) the weatherstrips on the doors and hatch eliminated the problem. I suspect that the doors were more of a problem due to multiple weatherstrips that each door had (cabin sealing strip, lower tire spray strip, upper drip rail strip). Huge doors make for a lot of weatherstrip area, which probably doesn't help the situation.

As an aside, I see that Matt - probably like most of us - has his garage stereo system as well. Nothing like a little KGON 92.3 (if you're in the Portland area) while you're puttering around in the garage!
MattFink
Detailer

Thanks for the encouragement. Glad to see others using the silicone spray. Good eye seeing the stereo! I bought that in 1994 with my paper route money. That Sony has been with me ever since. Even though it has been regulated to the garage duty now, I use it more than ever.
FP3
New Driver

They wait until Mid-December when we've got 4" of snow in the driveway and it's 18 degrees outside to share this article with us? Next year send it out in early October, please.
MattFink
Detailer

Appreciate the feedback. Maybe we just re-run it next year!
RSHMottoGuzzi
Pit Crew

These are great points. Living in So. CA car capital of the world I thought I new everything about detailing but after reading this I learned a lot! Unfortanately it never gets cold here anymore. Today December 20 its 75F.
MattFink
Detailer

Thanks for the feedback. But stop rubbing it in about the weather, come on!