Cold temperatures and wet roads aren't uncommon during a typical British Winter. Even if you're not up-to-date on the latest car care guides, you'll know that these two factors often result in icy roads that need regulating. Big, bright and yellow lorries that fling salt grit over the carriageways to prevent ice building up on the roads but whilst this might not sound like an issue, salt and water is very much an enemy of any vehicle when they are mixed together. Gladly, there are steps you can take to help prevent that salt water damaging your cars paint. First step - protection..
This little Polo GT is a regular customer at Scene Clean Valeting. Regular Mini-Valets and the occasional Full Valet schedule ensure this little hatch is kept on top form month-by-month. This time is a little different in the name of a Winter Protection Package. So, onto the detail..
The car was inspected for heavier soiled areas in order to tackle the car in the most appropriate way. A heavily road grim covered car was sure to need a little extra care during the wash-down stages. The wheels were firstly misted with Auto Finesse Iron Out to breakdown the bulk of brake dust and left to dwell for a few minutes. Whilst dwelling, the door and boot shuts were cleaned using a diluted All-Purpose-Cleaner (APC) and a 1” boar’s hair detailing brush. Once the wheels had soaked for long enough, a thorough rinse with a pressure washer removed the majority of the brake dust. The remaining dust was then misted with a non-acidic wheel cleaner and agitated with an assortment of brushes and wheel woollies. The barrels and spoke-backs were cleaned too, small details that make a big difference to the final piece. The arches were sprayed with an APC and a long reach brush was used to clear any build up. The wheels and arches were then thoroughly rinsed.
The road grime covered bodywork was the next step, beginning by spraying a citrus pre-cleaner directly onto the panels. The nose, lower sides and rear of the car were thoroughly covered in the citrus pre-cleaner and left to breakdown the surface dirt for about a minute. A generous blanket of foam was then applied to the car to further breakdown any surface dirt. As the foam slides down the angled panels, any larger grit particles are safely lifted and carried away from the paintwork. After the foam had soaked into the dirt, there was very little foam remaining. This is due to the foam being left a little longer than usual to gain a little extra time to soften the heavy dirt that was present. A very thorough pressure rinse removed the bulk of soiling to leave a far more workable surface. The more dirt removed in the pre-wash stages lessens the chances of wash damage from excessive grit being carried across the paint surface. Once rinsed and inspected, the car was then moved onto the bucket wash. A two bucket with grit guard method was adopted to cleanse the body free of the remaining grime. A high quality deep-pile wash mitt and Auto Finesse Lather worked together to wash the panels working top to bottom. Extra attention was given to ensure that no excess pressure was places onto the wash mitt whilst moving it over the paint – the more pressure; the more risk of pushing grit into the paint causing marring and scratches. Once washed carefully, the car was then given another rinse using a pressure washer. Rinsing away the remainder of the dirt to reveal a clean Polo once again.
The car was then partially dried down using a plush deep-pile drying towel to remove excess standing water on the paint itself. This isn’t an essential step but it helps the next stages work more efficiently without the water diluting other products. Minimal Tar spotting was removed by spraying a dedicated tar&glue remover into a clean microfiber cloth and massaging it into areas such as the lower side panels and rear areas. Once again no excessive force was applied to the cloth as it is still important that no damage be caused to the paint. Tar removed, the next decontamination stage was to remove any fallout particles that were bonded to the paint itself. Auto Finesse Iron Out was applied via a pump sprayer and left to dwell for around 5-6 minutes. The ferrous particles on the paint would turn a deep purple colour as a chemical reaction occurs, making these particles water soluble. A large amount of fallout was present around the car indicated by dark specs appearing. After a few minutes of dwelling, the car was then clayed using a surface prep towel to remove any stubborn contaminants that neither tar or fallout removers could. The car was clayed whilst the car was still covered in the Iron Out as its thick and slick consistency gives a great lubricant. The prep towel was dipped and rinsed into water after each panel was completed.
Once the car was decontaminated through the three stages, a pressure rinse removed any fallout remover that was on the surface. Extra attention was given to water traps and body gaps. A second layer of foam was applied to the car to carry away any lifted contamination safely; as the foam is thick it also pushes any fallout remover out of gaps to ensure a more thorough rinsing process. A final rinse with a pressure washer and the car was moved indoors. A combination of warm filtered air and plush drying towel cleared any and all water from the car to leave a completely dry car to begin the protection stages.
Once dried, the car was misted with Gtechniq C2 Liquid Crystal and a clean microfiber cloth was used to spread the product over each panel, flipping the cloth and buffing to a streak-free gloss after the product was spread evenly. Once the car was completed with the first coat of C2 a fresh microfiber as then used to quickly buff over the entire car to remove any remaining residue. A second (lighter) application of C2 was carried out in the same manner as the first; light spray, spread and buff. This layed down the first protection layer that gives the greatest durability. Whilst the sealant was given time to cure properly, other areas of the car were taken care of. The wheel faces were protected with Auto Finesse Mint Rims wheel wax in a thin coat. Each wheel was waxed and left to cure before buffing away the residues and dressing the tyres with Gyeon Q2 TIRE. Giving a perfect new-look to the tyres whilst offering great durability when compared to other tyre products. Arch liners were given a misting of Auto Finesse Dressle to finish each corner nicely.
Very few exterior plastics were present on this little Polo. Front and rear bumper insert panels were painted gloss black by the owner which meant the only trims to be dressed were the wing mirror bases, rear badge inserts and scuttle. These areas were dressed with Gtechniq T1 Tyre&Trim alongside the window rubbers. The exterior glass was showing hydrophobic properties during the washing stages, so a minor top-up of glass sealant was all that was required. OCDFinish Hydro-Shield was used to boost the performance of the glass. It was left to cure for 15minutes before buffing off leaving a smear free glass surface.
Once the wheels, glass and trims were protected it was time to lay down a single coat of wax ontop of the C2 protected paintwork. This acts as a sacrificial layer of protection that prolongs the durability of the job. Auto Finesse Desire was chosen for its great durability and its flake pop and high gloss properties. A single thin layer was applied in small circular overlapping motions panel y panel. Once all panels were waxed, it was left for the advised 10-15minutes to cure. A fresh microfiber cloth was used to remove excess wax residues and reveal a stunning and rich metallic blue shine. The exterior of the Polo was now completed and was left until the interior was completed for the final buff down (this allows any wax that hasn’t cured enough to re-cure).
The interior was thoroughly vacuumed free of loose debris and general accumulated dust. Rubbish was discarded appropriately whilst any coins and belongings were placed into the centre arm rest fr safe keeping. Dashboard and door trims were dressed to a factory satin finish using Auto Finesse Dressle misted onto a clean microfiber cloth and spread evenly. All interior glass was cleaned free of finger prints and general grime checking both inside and outside for streaks. An air fragrance was then added t the upholstery to finalise the interior tidy up. Door, boot and even the under-bonnet rubber seals were treated with a non-sticking product to prevent them tearing during frosty mornings.
The exterior received a final wipe down using a quick detailer. Any wax residues that remain would then be buffed away whilst the detailer left its own minor protection and gloss boosters. Flipping the cloth regularly to buff the remaining quick detailer away completed the winter protection on this stunning little hatchback.