Winter-ize Your Wheels

Get Your Ride in Shape For the Freeze.

By Holly Reich

Getting your luxury car prepped for winter is kind of like getting your body, wardrobe and make-up in shape. You’ll want to exfoliate, buff, freshen up and polish your car to a dazzling sheen. Following, some cold weather tips from Nick Prague, Professor of Automotive Technology at SUNY Rockland Community College and Meguiar’s Car Care Experts. Prague is a regular on the 25-year–old NYC-based Autolab radio show. Meguiar’s, a 100 year-old company, creates specialized cleaning formulas for auto enthusiasts.

Like that perfect pair of Manolos, your tires are crucial. Examine tread depth and air pressure. Quality tires at the right air pressure are critical to maintaining good traction in winter conditions.

Detail windows and windshields

Clean all glass surfaces well using a quality automotive glass cleaner with a microfiber or cotton towel.

Wash often

Regular washings might seem like a waste of time in colder months but keeping a car’s surface and undercarriage clean is part of long-term body care. Shampoo your vehicle on a consistent basis to remove all dirt, snow, sleet and salt.

Meguiar’s experts suggest using high water pressure to remove those pesky elements that collect in the undercarriage and wheel wells. One caution — don’t use hot water as it may cause glass to crack. “I have had excellent results cleaning my cars with dishwashing liquid. If it’s mild enough for your hands, then it’s mild enough for a paint job,” quips Prague, who suggests using a soft sponge and warm water.

Hot rims

Winter months can cause permanent damage to your rims. Many of the quality wheel cleaners tackle grit and grime on the face as well as inside the wheel. Check out Meguiar’s Hot Rims.

Expand your view

Visibility is a key factor in safe driving during difficult weather conditions. To see and be seen, Prague suggests applying a good car wax to your headlights so snow and ice are less likely to stick. If the headlights have gotten cloudy (if they look like they are getting cataracts) Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration Kit will maximize the clarity and brightness of your headlights.

Detail the cabin

During cold, wet months, coats and soiled shoes can drag in dirt. Keep the cabin clean by vacuuming all cloth and leather surfaces and use an odor eliminator (or a spritz of your favorite fragrance?) if necessary. Plus, placing moisture absorbing dry pack under the passenger’s seat is an excellent way to collect excess moisture in the air and keep the interior fresh and dry.

Winter mats

Protect your carpets from dirt and dampness by getting a set of quality rubberized “winter” floor mats. Make sure to remove all debris and moisture from these mats regularly to ensure they remain useful in protecting your carpets.

Go easy on removing snow

Eliminating stubborn ice or snow can be tricky. Use only hard snow scrappers on windows, as they can easily scratch a car’s painted surfaces. For removing snow from paint, use a soft brush with light pressure.

Wax often

Even if the weather isn’t so great, the key is the protection your wax offers, not the shine. Prague suggests waxing on a monthly basis. Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Spray Wax (it’s as easy as hairspray) is an easy way to add extra protection through the cold months.

Put on a fresh pair of wipers

Fall is a good time to replace your wipers. Worn or dirty wipers will cloud the view and can scratch the windshield.

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