Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Why an all-purpose (APC) cleaner is not the best choice

Always select a chemical / cleaner that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use by observing any precautions recommended so that they won’t harm you, your vehicle or the environment. Read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH levels etc.

Basic Cleaning

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) course description addresses cleaning techniques as a -  Chemical, Heat, Agitation, Time (CHAT) process, which covers any material cleaning for professional on-location cleaners, restoration and inspection service providers, as well as other related industries.

Classifying stains-

a) Organic stains- these include proteins and fats, body oils, mould yeast, bacteria, bugs and carbohydrates. Organic soil is cleaned with an alkaline (pH 8+). Most of the stains found in the vehicle interior are of an organic nature and require an alkaline type cleaner. Some organic stains (i.e. milk, blood, vomit, urine) should be removed with an enzyme type cleaner and a disinfectant applied to the area

b) Non-Organic stains- mostly found on the exterior of the vehicle, hard water scale (calcium) lime deposits, Road tar, grease and oil film, and require an acid (pH 6 or less) type cleaner.

c) Petroleum soils - substances that do not contain water, nor are they miscible, these soil types include, motor oils, and crease and road tar, and require a petroleum-based solvent type cleaner.

Stain Types-

a) Water Soluble Stains- These stains can be dissolved in cool water or loosened with water based cleaner, coffee; soft drinks, cocoa and chocolate are good examples.

b) Oil soluble stains- These are stains that are comprised of oily or greasy substances, which include cooking, oil from fried foods and suntan oil.

c) Combination Stains- These stains contain both water based and oil-soluble properties. Cleaning these stains require treatment with a petroleum solvent followed by a water- based cleaning solution.

d) Unidentifiable Stains- Sometimes stains cannot be identified. Treat these stains like a combination stain. Clean with a petroleum solvent followed by water based cleaner.

As can be seen with the above lists an all-purpose cleaner will probably not clean stains effectively (Most are butyl based, which is a huge known carcinogen) An all-purpose cleaner (APC) (pH 9.5 – 12.5 dependent upon mfg.) is an aggressive, grease-cutting cleaner for engine compartments and wheels. It’s better to use a specific stain remover than to compromise. Always select a chemical / cleaner that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use by observing any precautions recommended so that they won’t harm you, your vehicle or the environment

Stain Removal

Be cognizant that not all stains can be removed as they may have 'dyed' the material. This is dependant upon the amount of 'contact' time and the type of material

Some stains require an acid, some an enzyme, some others require an alkaline cleaner and some a solvent type cleaner and etc. It is chemically impossible to combine all these cleaners into a single chemical. An all-purpose cleaner is a marketing myth

A thorough stain removal / cleaning process would require the following; the correct chemical cleaner, heat, agitation and water to act as a carrier system and as a final rinse. With all cleaning products (especially solvents) always test a small inconspicuous area first to ensure it won't discolour, stain or etch the surface, and ensure that the pH of the product is suitable for the material

Before cleaning a stain ascertain the material and try detergent and water before using a specific cleaner.  Start with a 10:1 solution and decrease dilution as necessary; 303™ Spot & Stain Remover, P21S® High Performance Total Auto Wash or einszett Vinyl-Rubber Care’ between these cleaners you should be able to remove 99% of stains occurring in a vehicle fabrics and around the vehicle interior. Once fabric is clean applying a fabric protection. 303™ High Tech Fabric Guard and UV Protection, 303™ Aerospace Protectant to all surfaces

All-purpose cleaner (APC)

Many well-intentioned detailers use the so-called all-purpose cleaning (APC) chemical for detailing. A safer alternate is a d-limonene (citrus-based) solvent, they are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use. There is no such thing as a one size fits all type chemical cleaner, regardless of what a car care product vendor would have you believe.

Most detailing chemicals are formulated to remove specific stains and a little knowledge of their pH and chemical content will help in their correct selection and use; the most common types of chemicals include surfactants, solvents, wetting agents, Saponifiers and Chelators

With all cleaning products (especially solvents) always test a small inconspicuous area first to ensure it won't discolour, stain or etch the surface, and ensure that the pH of the product is suitable for the material.

Interiors -  use caution if using an APC on finished leather as it may compromise the polyurethane protective layer. Also be cognizant that with  re-dyed finished leather if it has not been properly prepared and applied an APC will strip the pigmentation (colour)

Stain removal requires some knowledge of basic chemistry. Read the product labels and always select a chemical / cleaner that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use by observing any precautions recommended so that they won’t harm you, your vehicle or the environment. (See also Vehicle Interior Detailing and Solvents)

Before using a cleaning product, a detailer needs to know the material they are working on, what they are trying to remove and wither the product chosen is compatible with the material and will not damage it.

Diagnosis is the key, not guess work. With all cleaning products, always test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it won't discolour or stain the surface, and ensure that the pH of the product is suitable for the material. As can be seen stain removal requires some knowledge of basic chemistry. Read the product labels and manufacturers safety data sheets (MSDS) to obtain a basic idea of contents, pH levels etc.

Always select a chemical / cleaner that are biodegradable, environmentally friendly and safe to use by observing any precautions recommended so that they won’t harm you, your vehicle or the environment

Current Information
To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis

Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. You should never stop learning, and your quest for information should be part of your everyday process. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.

I purchase all the products I use, so the endorsement is entirely personal and commercially unbiased, the product recommendation is based on "Does exactly what it says on the box" and it suits my detailing goals.

I hope these articles are informative. They are based on the current status of technical development as well as my experience with the products.

By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.

I would appreciate it if you would share these articles as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.

As always if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer; bear in mind the only stupid questions is the one that was unasked. Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated

Copyright © 2002 - 2015 TOGWT® (Established 1980) all rights reserved



Monday, 28 September 2015

Winter Vehicle Preparation / Driving


The onset of winter can be bad news for motorists. Little light, bad weather and worse roads conspire to make driving tiring, unpleasant, and sometimes even dangerous. This article will show you how to prepare your vehicle for winter driving and remain safe. Make sure that the car is warmed up, and has enough fuel, let someone know your intended movements and listen to traffic news and weather forecasts, and wear warm clothing.

Snow and Ice Removal Products

1.      Intro-Tech Automotive Snow Shades protect your windshield with four frost-stopping layers. Keep your windshield clear and ice-free during the coldest of winter seasons. Outer clear coating, silver aluminium foil film and mesh lining stops snowflakes from collecting. And, a black vinyl inner layer snuggles your glass to keep it from freezing. Plus, these snow shades are custom-made to cover every inch. Easy to store, just roll it up into its convenient carrying case and toss in your trunk or back seat. And, you can enjoy your snow shades for many chilly seasons to come - Intro-Tech backs them with a Lifetime Warranty

2.      Ice Remover-strong enough to rip through thick ice, The Ice Master removes ice four ways! The patent pending design features repositionable blades that lock into different positions to suit the job at hand. Clear hard ice, thick ice, frost, and snow with this ingenious windshield ice scraper. Three deburred brass blades effectively remove ice from windows and mirrors without scratching. Hard polycarbonate teeth break thick ice. The Ice Master is made with gloved hands in mind. Each position can be achieved with a simple push or pull motion

3.      The Snow Mover™ is the world's first personal snow plough, designed to remove deep snow from on and around your vehicle. This multi-tool combines a plough, ice scraper and shovel - along with a special snow broom, ergonomically designed to work with the body's natural motion. The result is a powerful, yet surprisingly easy-to-use snow moving experience. The design includes a contoured saw-grip handle, which makes for easy manoeuvring when clearing snow from the roof of the vehicle. The first snow plough with 'whiskers'; these dense rubber bristles, located under the forward lip of the plough, can be used to whisk away any snow debris from the surface of the vehicle, including the window glass. The bristles ride over any protuberances (such as a roof rack) to prevent a jarring stop when ploughing through deep snow and will not damage the paint or surface finish of your vehicle

4.      The Ice Master removes ice four ways! The patent pending design features repositionable blades that lock into different positions to suit the job at hand. Clear hard ice, thick ice, frost, and snow with this ingenious windshield ice scraper. Three deburred brass blades effectively remove ice from windows and mirrors without scratching. Hard polycarbonate teeth break thick ice. The Ice Master is made with gloved hands in mind. Each position can be achieved with a simple push or pull motion

5.      WeatherTech® Classic™ Premium - winter car mats, rubber floor mats made out of natural heavy-duty rubber These all-weather mats have deeply sculpted channels designed to trap water, road salt, mud and sand. Made of up to 16 lbs. of pliable natural rubber, these mats won't curl, crack or harden in sub-zero weather.

They also have anti-skid ridges to prevent shifting in your vehicle and come with a protective, non-stick finish to make cleanup quick and easy. They meet FMVSS302 standards; TUV approved and comply with ISO 9001 standards Colours available- black (with red pinstripe), Tan or Grey

Product Storage
Water-based car care products should not be stored at temperatures below > 35. OF (wax 45. OF) if they freeze they may become unstable and therefore unusable, ideal storage temperature range- 50- 7. OF with an average humidity range. Most car care products have a ‘useful life’ of approximately 2-3 years provided they are stored as above.

Keep containers tightly closed in a dry, cool and well-ventilated place. Keep away from direct sunlight. Do not allow to freeze

Do not store at temperature extremes (below 40 – over 80. OF +) as heat will destabilise emulsified products (wax, polymer sealants, polishes, etc) and avoid extreme temperature swings as the chemicals will become unstable, which will create problems with the performance of the product. Some separate out; others lose their effectiveness if they are heated past a certain point. Most car care products (including Polymers) will separate and may become unusable after being subjected to freezing temperatures

Clear the Snow / Ice
Start by clearing the snow from around the driver’s window and mirror so the snow does not fall in when you open the door. Start the engine and then turn on the front and rear glass defrosters, seat cushion heaters and side vents.
Then, start removing the snow, stand on one side of the car. Using a long-handled snow plough (Snow Mover™) push the snow on the roof of the car as far to the other side as you can reach, leave a 1/2-inch of snow to melt by itself as this will avoid surface scratches. Once the roof is mostly clear, continue pushing the snow on the rear window, trunk, windshield and hood. Walk around to the other side of the car and use the snow plough to clear the piled-up snow off the car. Use the snow brush to remove any snow that hasn't come off the windshield, hood or headlights. Use an ice scraper to remove any ice from the windshield and other glass surfaces.
Clear snow from the roof as well as from windows, snow piled up on the roof can fall onto the windscreen obscuring your view and can also be a hazard to other road users (this is also illegal in some states/ countries and subject to on the spot fines).

Winterize your car

While many people take special care to prepare their homes for the winter, they often never consider that their car might also need some special preparations for the cold weather.

When winter approaches there are some basic things you must do to make sure your vehicle remains reliable and safe. Whether you live in an extremely cold location or you plan to travel during the winter, it's important to take proper precautions. You never know, proper winterization of your car might just save your life one day so it is important to take proper precautions before it is too late

Winter Visibility

Windscreen washer fluid should be topped up and treated with a proprietary additive to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather. Don't use ordinary engine antifreeze as it will damage paintwork.

Iz Einszett Anti-Frost Washer Fluid will improve your visibility in harsh winter weather by keeping your windshield clear of ice and frost. This concentrate cleans windshields without leaving smears or creating glares, and prevents re-icing. For your safety, use Einszett Anti-Frost Washer Fluid to keep your windshield frost-free all winter and also removes road grime, salt, and dirt with clean, glare-free and smear-free results. This product doesn’t use methanol and ammonia.

Use at a stronger dilution in the winter to prevent freezing at sub zero temperatures. Dilute 1:5 for protection down to --20. OF, Dilute 1:1 for protection down to -5. OF, dilute 1:2 for protection down to 11. OF, dilute 1:3 for protection down to 18. OF, in summer dilute at up to 1:20

Wurth Screen Wash Additive is a cleaner and antifreeze for your windshield. Regular use prevents the freezing of your windshield and headlight washer systems. This is vital in cold weather to keep your windshield clear of frost, ice, salt, and oil. Calcium inhibitors prevent deposits that cloud your visibility. Your windshield stays clean and clear no matter what the conditions are outside.

Just mix Wurth Screen Washer Additive with water according to the directions and pour it in your washer fluid tank. Overspray will not affect your paint, lens covers, or rubber gaskets. The citrus-scented additive prevents freezing down to -22. °F when mixed accordingly.

Iz Einszett Eistau De-Icer - quickly de-ices windshield. Special additives prevent re-icing; it will not harm paint, chrome, rubber or glass. Helps to provide clear visibility, prevents filming which causes dangerous glare, also suitable for plastic headlight lenses. Doesn’t contain methanol or silicone
Windscreen washer fluid should be topped up and treated with a proprietary additive to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather. Don't use ordinary engine antifreeze as it will damage paintwork.

Window fogging
How many times you entered your car and got immediate fog and hazy windscreen? 

Your safety depends on fog-free vision; wiping fog from glass with your hands will not remove it. CarPro Fog Fight is a super hydrophilic coating (less than 20-degree contact angle) so the moisture doesn't bond to the glass, which eliminates tiny water drop condensation, Durable long lasting anti fog or steam treatment.

It is also paramount that the glass is grease free, so a wipe over with eraser prior will certainly help and also make sure there is no moisture present on the window before application. Use the cars heater or air con, if needed to ensure this is the case.

Apply a very light misting to the interior glass surfaces and mirrors, allow it to haze lightly and with a very gentle buffing action slowly go over the treated areas. Use lots of light stroke with no pressure and again with the suede Microfiber towel included in the kit. Too heavy a napped cloth will damage the layer. Once there is no residue left, reapply a second coat in the opposite direction to ensure even coverage. Buff of with many very light strokes but do not scrub. Once product has been applied avoid touching glass (if you need to clean the glass, re-apply product)

Note: Application can be finicky, but stick with it, if you can get it to work its well worth while

Vehicle Mechanical Preparation
Avoid the doors freezing shut – use a protection product on the ‘rubber’ seals Gummipflege Stift - it applies directly from the bottle like a shoe polish, as it has its own foam applicator or Wurth Gummi-Fit Rubber Seal Conditioner & Protectant

Engine, Fuel and Cooling system care as recommended by National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)

Engine Performance - Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters-air, fuel, PCV, etc.

Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a gas tank which is kept filled helps keep moisture from forming.

                a) Diesel - Like most fuels, diesel is a mix of hydrocarbons, and the components have different freezing points. For Number 2 diesel, as the ambient temperatures drop toward 32 degrees F (0 degrees C), it begins to cloud, due to the paraffin in the fuel solidifying. As the temperatures drop below 32 F, the molecules combine into solids, large enough to be stopped by the filter. This is known as the gel point, and generally occurs about 15 degrees F (-9.5 degrees C) below the cloud point.

This wax then forms a coating on the filter which results in a loss of engine power. The same thing happens on starting an engine when the temperature is below freezing. The filter becomes almost instantly coated with wax - usually, enough fuel gets through to allow the engine to idle, but not attain operating RPM. There are two common ways to overcome this: one is a diesel additive, the other is a fuel heater

Special low temperature diesel contains additives that keep it in a more liquid state at lower temperatures, yet starting a diesel engine in very cold weather may still pose considerable difficulties.

b) Gas (Petrol)
Most states require that all gasoline sold contains 10% ethanol, which is alcohol. Gas Line Anti-freeze is either Methanol or Isopropyl alcohol. The difference between ethanol and Isopropyl alcohol is ethanol is made from corn and Isopropyl alcohol is made chemically. So a 10% blend of ethanol and gasoline contains not one, but two types of "Dry Gas". Now why pay for something that is already being pumped into your tank?

Oil - the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has established a numerical code system for grading motor oils according to their viscosity characteristics. The first number with the "W" refers to the oil's cold temperature viscosity or cold-start viscosity rating, while the second number refers to the oil's high temperature viscosity

Engines typically require thinner oils such as 5W-30 or 5W-20 to speed lubrication of the overhead cam(s) and valve-train when the engine is first started.

Change oil with suitable winter rating and oil filter as specified in your manual -- more often (every 3,000 miles or so) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips. In cold weather winter seasons, cars use up more engine oil, so always check the oil level in your car before and after driving

Cooling System - test your coolant with a hydrometer, but corrosion inhibitors tend to give out before the rest of the coolant. A Tigard pre-mix prevents sludge build-up and keeps the waterways corrosion -free. Antifreeze, also known as engine coolant, is a liquid substance which circulates through an internal combustion engine and draws off excessive heat.

The two most common chemicals used as antifreeze are ethylene and propylene glycol, both of which have lower freezing points than water (32. °F or O. OC) this allows antifreeze to flow freely even under cold winter conditions. Antifreeze also has a higher boiling point than pure water, which makes it ideal for summer use as well.

The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 1:1 ratio of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.)

Purchase an antifreeze tester, available at automotive parts stores. It's easy to use, and the instructions are included on the packaging. This will tell you whether you have the correct strength of antifreeze for the conditions you are likely to encounter.

Glass weatherproofing seals - use 1z einszett Vinyl Rubber Care & Protectant "Tiefenpfleger” provides a temperature-resistant seal and a low-shine matte finish 

Windshield Wipers - Use the right windscreen fluid; together with proper wipers, an antifreeze solution will keep your windscreen clean at all times Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. If your wipers are frozen in place, leave them to defrost or use a de-icer, pulling them off can rip the rubber.

Spare Wheel - check the pressure and condition of your spare tyre periodically, if your vehicle has the spare underneath, check its mounting hardware and spray periodically with AMSOIL Heavy Duty Metal Protector.

Also check the cars jack and wheel nut remover and have a drop cloth and a pair of cloves available. If you have after-market wheels be sure you have suitable wheel nuts available for the spare wheel... No surprises

Rain-X Latitude wipers work any better than my clunky original equipment blades. Well, yes they do. First of all, they don’t freeze up and warp out of shape. We’ve had temperatures down to minus-25 Celsius in Ottawa lately, and the Rain-X wipers have held their shape. They also don’t chatter at speed, although I have heard from some colleagues that similar designs do. These seem fine as they also don’t get packed with snow and ice, and should, therefore, obviate the need for purchasing winter blades.

Anti-fogging - windscreen; Glass Science Fog Clear Gel prevents interior fogging of the windshield, windows, and mirrors. One clear coat creates a moisture absorbent barrier that prevents the formation of condensation. Maintain optimum visibility in humid, rainy, or cold weather conditions, Fog Clear keeps working to maintain optimum visibility. Stock up on windshield washer solvent-you'll be surprised how much you use

Avoid locks etc freezing shut – ensure locks, latches, folding door mirrors, etc are dry by using a heat gun / hair dryer and then apply a water displacement product (WD-40)
Heater/Defroster - Test heater, rear screen defrosters and hoses the heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Carry an ice-scraper.

Batteries are probably the biggest single cause for non- starting, especially in colder weather. Batteries are less efficient the colder they get so the start of cold weather usually shows up any inefficiencies with the battery.

One of the checks that can easily be carried out is the voltage output; this can be done with an AC/DC Voltage Tester

With car running put voltage tester over the battery +/- terminals, if alternator is ok you should see a reading between 13.5 and 14.5 volts any less and the alternator may be faulty. Other testing will require the use of specialist professional equipment.

 Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Removal of cables can cause damage or loss of data/codes on some newer vehicles. Check your manual. Have your battery and its charging system checked (‘jump’ leads may be useful for you, or to help someone else)
The reason for the increased demand for electrical power in a car is explained by the growing number of electrical and electronic safety and convenience systems now being fitted. They help to make passenger cars safer, more economic and more comfortable – however, they increase the consumption in electrical energy. In a modern mid-range car, the power consumption reaches more than 3,500 watts. In the Nineties, the value for a lower to mid-range passenger car amounted to only 950 watts.

CCA - stands for Cold Cranking Amps, this figure is very important on a cold winters morning and refers to the big flow of power needed to turn over your engine.

Ah   - stands for Amps per hour. This means that the battery when fully charged delivers a starter current of X amps per hour, which means there are X amps available to start the engine.

Bosch AGM High-Tec is available in two models, which will provide an overall market coverage of 90 percent – based on cars that are already fitted with AGM batteries as original equipment. The battery type S6002/019 BOSCH AGM HIGH TEC Battery is absolutely maintenance-free, 100% leak-proof in any position and extremely vibration-proof. With a 6 Years Guarantee, 70-amp hour capacity and delivers a starter current of 760 amps; the 95 amp.hr battery delivers 850 amps at engine start.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) Batteries

·         Safer: much lower production of hydrogen gas during charging
·         Maintenance-free: no checking fluid levels or adding water or acid
·         Sealed: spill proof and can be mounted in virtually any position
·         No corrosion: battery terminals stay clean
·         Less internal resistance: provides more CCA than wet batteries
·         Heat and vibration resistant: a result of its internal construction
·         Slower self-discharge rate: ideal for vehicles that see little use
·         Longer service life

•  Automatic battery charger - The Yuasa Smart Shot automatic battery chargers are available in 900 milliamps and 1.5-amp charge capacities Automatic 12V 900 milliamp and 1.5-amp charge capacities; fully automatic 3 level charge cycle for effective charging, reaches 14.4-volt peak, then automatically switches to float, with reverse polarity protection
Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs and carry spares; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
Tyres (Tires) - Cold weather tyres are designed for driving on cold winter roads and in rain or standing water, whenever the temperature is regularly below 45. oF (7. oC) tyres lose grip. 

Use the most appropriate tyres for the weather conditions. In practice this means keeping two sets of tyres – 'winter tyres' are made with a different composite from conventional tyres and improve traction when temps are below 7.0F and when many roads are snow-covered and 'summer' tyres for the remainder of the year. Summer tyres should not be used when there's ice or snow on the road. I’m not a great believer in ‘all season tyres’ though

Tyre thread; you need at least 2/32" of depth to be safe. It's been my experience, especially in winter weather, that anything less than 4/32" (1/8") be replaced soon. Also, be sure to check your tire pressure. Believe it or not, they lose a little pressure when it gets cold, so check the tyres pressure regularly

Worn tyres will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Let the tyre "cool down" after driving before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the lifting jack is in good condition.
A cheaper alternative to snow chains, they are fabricated from a textile that optimises grip. Towequipe Multi Grip Snow Ice Sock Chains   - http://www.towequipe.co.uk/categorylist/snow-chains-sock/

Brakes - Inspect your brakes; it’s never a good area to cut corners. Be sure your brakes have enough meat left to get you through the season. If the brakes are not performing well, the car may pull to one side or worse yet, may not stop at all.

On ice, braking distances can be ten times longer than in normal conditions so keep your speed down and leave plenty of space from the car in front. Drive in a high gear, no lower than third to reduce the chances of wheel spin. Use 'cadence braking', which is braking with a pumping action to avoid the wheels locking and the flashing brake lights will also warn drivers behind.

To control a skid, don't press the brake pedal or the accelerator. For a slight slide, turn the steering in the direction of the skid and ease off the accelerator until tyre grip is regained. If the skid is more violent, take your feet right off the pedals and steer sharply in the direction of the skid. If the rear of the car swings left, steer to the left to bring the front and rear wheels into line

WeatherTech™ rubber floor mats or Husky Liners WeatherBeater™ are available for most popular vehicles

Warm clothing – the car’s interior may be as warm as toast but if you have to step outside, you could be in trouble if you have not got any warm clothing with you.

Always pack the following: warm coat, hat, gloves, sturdy boots, and a space blanket to keep you warm if you get stuck. Take some food, protein bars, water and a hot drink if you can. Always carry a fully charged mobile, and some old bits of carpet, or cat litter, to put under the tyres when stuck and a shovel to clear snow.

Notes:
1. Take along emergency supplies; ice scraper, gloves, sand and snow shovel in trunk, foil blanket, its construction maintains body heat in emergency situations plus a good flashlight, battery jump leads are also indispensable.
2. If you are storing your vehicle for the winter see article “Vehicle Long-Term Storage”
3. Winter detailing - the vehicle’s paint system, tyres, glass, plastic and other exterior surfaces will be at the mercy of the elements, including wind, rain, sleet, snow, sand, gravel, and road salt. Autumn is your best opportunity to inspect and prepare your car for the ravages of winter.
4.By providing the exterior paint system with a polymer or acrylic protective layer to provide a durable protection your car's paint, tires, leather and rubber trim all need attention, even if you have cared for them all summer.

Driving in snow and ice

Here is some advice on how to prepare your car for winter driving if you have to make a journey.
This is what the Institute of Advanced Motorists recommends.

·         When driving in snow, get your speed right - not too fast so that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it - and brake, steer and accelerate as smoothly as possible.

·         Start gently from stationary, avoiding high revs. If you get yourself into a skid the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the pedals and steer.

·         Only use the brake if you cannot steer out of trouble.

·         Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front. Drive so that you do not rely on your brakes to be able to stop - on an icy surface they simply may not do that for you

Washing your vehicle in winter

·         Touchless car washes use very high alkaline soaps to do the cleaning, one or two washes and your paint protection (wax or sealant) is gone. After a couple of this type of wash will cause a hazing due to the harsh chemicals used.

·         Hand wash places work on volume not quality so they do they dry with paint safe towels. They will inadvertently leave swirls or worse on your paint surface

·         Weekly go to the wand wash and use just the first rinse water and get off all the heavy salt /road grit and d spray the undercarriage Use the second rinse cycle and allow the paint to air-dry.

·         If you have out a pre-winter detail and have a good sealant and a sacrificial wax on your car the salt and chemicals can be removed along with the renewable wax; remember to re-apply the sacrificial wax and your paint should be well protected.

·         When clearing snow from the vehicles paintwork leave an inch of snow to melt on its own, otherwise you risk moving snow and grit across the paint that will cause scratches, much like using sandpaper.
Optimum No Rinse™ Wash & Shine (ONR) is an innovative product that protects automotive paint, while preserving our most valuable resource, water; enabling you to wash your car anywhere, anytime even inside your garage. It’s a multi-purpose product that serves as a shampoo additive, no rinse wash, quick detailer and clay lubricant.

Use as a winter car wash or in areas that have hosepipe ban, water usage restrictions, or where a water supply is not readily available (apartments, car shows, etc; cleans and protects while minimising water usage, 100% environmentally safe and it reduces water usage to a fraction of a conventional car wash, 1- oz ONR per 2- gallons of water to wash the entire car.
When sprayed on a dirty surface; surfactants break down the soil by releasing its surface tension or bond with the surface, encapsulating the soil particles, and the polymers provide surface lubrication to enable safe (marring free) removal
To remove salt and road grit or to clean really soiled surfaces I would suggest a pre-rinse to remove the larger dirt particles first before being washed. Then use the ONR concentrates or the traditional two-bucket wash method or if you have a pressure washer available to remove the larger dirt / salt particles.  (For further information see the technical article “Rinseless Car Wash”)

Optimum Opti™ - Clean is a product that is specially formulated to clean and protect automotive surfaces safely and efficiently without using water. A combination of polymers and surfactant cleaners safely removes dirt and grime and leaves a glossy protective finish. Based on the same surfactant type polymers used in Optimum (OPT) No Rinse Wash™ & Shine New Formula (ONR) it is safe for use on all automotive surfaces.

ONR works fine for a car with light to medium road dirt while Optimum Opti™ - Clean can be used on a car with several days of built- up road dirt and grime. 

The reason is that Opti™ - Clean contains the same polymers as ONR that encapsulate dirt but at a much higher concentration, as well as additional polymers not used in ONR. A totally waterless wash that provides some surface protection and its ideal for a quick clean up or for use when there is no water available (apartments, condominiums, concours d’élégance or car shows)

[While both of these products are pH neutral, Opti™ - Clean contains much higher levels of polymers than No Rinse as well as some new polymers that we developed for this type of application. The added polymers are necessary to compensate for using a fraction of the water as compared to a regular No Rinse wash] David Ghodoussi OPT.

Application- - avoid cross-contamination by using different micro fibre towels for differing surfaces i.e. separate towels for glass, paintwork, wheels, and interior surfaces. Spray liberally on painted surfaces and wipe clean with a plush microfiber towel.
Fold and use a new section of the towel as needed. For glass and interior surfaces, apply one or two sprays and wipe off with a clean plush microfiber towel. For lower panels and wheels, spray liberally and let it soak for a few seconds and then wipe off. When there is heavy dirt build up, use Optimum (OPT) No Rinse Wash™ & Shine New Formula (ONR).

Directions for using the concentrate:
·         Dilute Optimum Opti™ - Clean concentrate 1:3 with distilled water.
·         Spray liberally on painted surfaces and wipe clean with a plush microfiber towel. Fold and use a new section of the towel as needed.

·         Glass and interior surfaces, using a separate micro fibre towel apply one or two sprays and wipe off with a clean plush microfiber towel.

Wheels and lower paint panels, using a separate micro fibre towel, spray liberally and let it soak for a few seconds and then wipe off. When there is heavy dirt build up, use Optimum (OPT) No Rinse Wash™ & Shine New Formula (ONR).

Paint Protection / Detailing

·         Apply a paint protection sealant (G|techniq C1 Crystal Lacquer, Zaino or Duragloss #105 Total Performance Polish)  and then an sacrificial LSP for extreme conditions (Collinite's Super Doublecoat Auto Wax (476s) and / or Insulation Wax (845) or Finish Kare FK1000P)- use a damp applicator, work the wax into the surface to ensure a very thin layer, allow to dry for approx one hour (do a swipe-test) remove the residue with a clean micro fibre towel, its durable enough to resist salt, grit and repeated detergent washings, protection will last approximately 4-6 months
·         Apply Leather Master’s water-based (hydration) protection to the leather upholstery

·         Clean and vacuum the carpets Install all-weather floor mats; Weathertech ™ Premium all-weather floor mats, made from natural heavy-duty rubber., Deeply sculpted channels that trap Water, Road Salt, Mud, and Sand, designed with anti-skid ridges to prevent shifting, won't curl, crack, or harden in sub-zero weather, with non stick finish for quick and easy cleanup, TUV Approved, manufactured to ISO 9000 Standards, 10-Year Warranty

·         Clean, treat, and dress your tyres and apply a wheel surface sealant coating G|techniq C5 Wheel Armour

·         (Dry) Salt is inert but it is also hydroscopic, so be aware that once you add water (meting the snow / ice) to salt it becomes alkaline pH 9.0 (corrosive) take care to dry the affected area thoroughly after the salt has been removed and neutralize it with a mild acid

·         After removing road salt, dirt, road grime, and etc with a pressure washer (Karcher Model K5.93M) neutralise the effects of the alkaline sprayed brine solution on the suspension, wheel wells and the undercarriage. Use an alkaline (pH 9+) car wash concentrate or ValuGuard Acid Neutralizer diluted 1:8 wash with solution, or spray Eastwoods Road Salt Neutralizer to deep-cleans painted surfaces to remove alkaline deposits (like salt brine solutions) Rinse thoroughly and then dry paint surface
·         Spray the inner wheel wells with Chemical Guys ‘Bare Bones’ spray it on sub frame, springs, wheel wells, fender wells, etc. and it provides valuable protection from road dirt, road salt, etc.

Alternative product - Innovative Chemicals Inc. SaltX - http://www.salt-x.com/salt-x3.htm

Storage (Product)

Water-based car care products should not be stored at temperatures below 35 - 40oF, if they freeze they may become unstable and therefore unusable, ideal storage temperature range- 50- 75oF with an average humidity range. Most car care products have a ‘useful life’ of approximately 2-3 years provided they are stored as above.

Do not store at temperature extremes (below 40 – over 80.0F +) as heat will destabilise emulsified products (wax, polymer sealants, polishes, etc) and avoid extreme temperature swings as the chemicals will become unstable, which will create problems with the performance of the product. Some separate out; others lose their effectiveness if they are heated past a certain point. Most car care products (including Polymers) will separate and may become unusable after being subjected to freezing temperatures

The chemical composition of waxes rarely ever changes regardless of what form it is in, whether it is melted to a semi-liquid or remains as a semi-solid. Temperature has little to no effect as far as inhibiting the shelf life of wax, a cool temperatures and constant humidity will slow the evaporation of solvents from the wax, thus keeping the wax softer and easier to use over a longer period of time.

Removing (Carpets / Mats) Road Salt Stains

Use a stiff brush to dislodge any loose road salt and then vacuum, spray the area with a carpet cleaner and let it soak in, rinse with plenty of water and repeat until most of the stain has been lifted.
Finally, clean carpets by spraying the area with a carpet shampoo rinse and then remove with a carpet extractor. Actually, any mildly acidic product should neutralize alkaline salt

Removing Road Salt from Paintwork

ValuGard Decontamination System (B) alkaline neutralizer (pH 1.0) that is a blend of acids, which deep cleans painted surfaces to remove alkaline road salt / water solution deposits (pH 9.0) and safely dissolves salt particles bond with the paint so that they can be rinsed away. Apply to a clean and freshly rinsed surface. Allow product to dwell for 5-7 minutes, works well with detailer’s clay to remove contaminants. All necessary safety precautions should be taken whilst using this product. Protect paint surface with a synthetic polymer sealant Collinite Insulator Wax (845) or Finish Kare FK1000P

Undercarriage

Your vehicle’s undercarriage; it’s what you don't see that silently wait underneath your cars.  Removing an alkaline sprayed brine solution to protect your undercarriage is just as important as detailing the paint.  Wheel wells, sub-frame, springs, fender well and all of the other black and gray parts underneath the body need cleaning and protection as well. It is possible to do this detail with the wheels on and just jacking the car up, but the ideal way is with the wheels off.

Never go underneath a car supported by the supplied jack - always use axle stands if you wish to work underneath the car.  Always jack the car up at the manufacturer's recommended jacking points. Ensure the jack is in stable contact with both the jacking point (see owner's manual) and the ground. Always work on level ground.

After removing road salt, dirt, road grime, and etc with a pressure washer (Karcher Model K5.93M) neutralise the effects of the alkaline sprayed brine solution on the suspension, wheel wells and the undercarriage, and then spray Eastwoods Road Salt Neutralizer

 Methodology
1.      Thoroughly spray an undiluted citrus cleaner (P2IS Total Auto Wash) and let it soak in; remove by thoroughly rinsing with water. If you have a pressure washer available, fill tank with citrus cleaner and spray undercarriage (do not use excess pressure as water may penetrate crevices and seams where it cannot drain, causing corrosion), let it soak and then remove with plain water. Allow to thoroughly dry and then...

2.      Spray undercarriage with ValuGard Decontamination System (B) Alkaline Neutralizer pH 1.0 that is a blend of acids, which deep cleans painted surfaces to remove alkaline deposits and safely dissolves the alkaline salt particles bond with the paint so that they can be rinsed away. Apply to a clean and freshly rinsed surface. Allow product to dwell for 5-7 minutes. All necessary safety precautions should be taken whilst using this product

3.      Rinse vehicle thoroughly and then apply Chemical Guys Bare Bones, spray over the entire area and wipe in well with an old towel, .one application will leave no residues, noxious fumes or flammable solvents. Makes plastic and rubber look new again, shines painted surfaces, and keeps aluminium and anodized parts from corroding.

4.      Protection; apply POR-15 Marine Clean™ and then two coats of a rust inhibitor paint (POR-15) allow each coat to dry

Current Information

To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis

Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. You should never stop learning, and your quest for information should be part of your everyday process. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.

I purchase all the products I use, so the endorsement is entirely personal and commercially unbiased, the product recommendation is based on "Does exactly what it says on the box" and it suits my detailing goals. The products mentioned have been personally subjected to extensive laboratory (using state of the art instruments and methodologies in some of the world's most prestigious labs) as well as field testing, and I have found that they will perform the task more than adequately, hence the personal recommendation, using the methodology and tools cited, which may or may not be the same as those recommended by the manufacturer.

I hope these articles are informative. They are based on the current status of technical development as well as my experience with the products.
By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.

I would appreciate it if you would share these articles as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
As always if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer; bear in mind the only stupid questions is the one that was unasked. Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated

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