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“Wash-by-handers” in Northeast, what do you do in the Winter?

I love washing my own car. It's like meditation to me and I also know I'm not scratching the crap out of the car by doing it myself.

I've had my car since June and wash it myself about every 2 to 3 weeks. But the upcoming winter is giving my shivers before it even gets cold. Here in the northeast, we remove the hoses and winterize the outdoor faucets.

So does this mean my car stays dirty for up to five months until I can wash it in the Spring? Or do you guys cheat and take it to a car wash?

EDIT: Cars get WAY too dirty in the winter here to use water-less/rinse-less in the winter. It would still scratch.
 

trm2

Active Member
Apr 3, 2016
1,087
1,723
CLE
I heard on this forum the reason touchless works is due to acidic cleaner which isn’t good for the paint. I’ll let someone else chime in here as to whether that’s true or not...
Touchless washes do use harsh chemicals (not sure if alkaline or acidic) AND they don't really get all the dirt off. They aren't "good for the paint" because they will degrade the protection (wax, sealant, coating) more quickly.

Using a rinseless wash (not waterless as that is a different process) is a VERY close second to doing a two-bucket wash and can be easily accomplished in the winter. One thing to note, don't try to use a rinseless wash when it is below about 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-10C) as it will actually end up freezing on the car. Don't ask how I know.
 

WilliamG

Hinge Fanatic
Apr 20, 2019
7,096
11,023
Seattle, WA
Touchless washes do use harsh chemicals (not sure if alkaline or acidic) AND they don't really get all the dirt off. They aren't "good for the paint" because they will degrade the protection (wax, sealant, coating) more quickly.

Using a rinseless wash (not waterless as that is a different process) is a VERY close second to doing a two-bucket wash and can be easily accomplished in the winter. One thing to note, don't try to use a rinseless wash when it is below about 15 degrees Fahrenheit (-10C) as it will actually end up freezing on the car. Don't ask how I know.

Good info. I’ve been loving the Aero stuff. I haven’t used ONR but I imagine it’s similar in process.
 
Re: Just using waterless/rinse-less, there's no way I'd use just that in the winter by itself -- I love those products, but even the manufacturers of those products recommend not using them on a really dirty car.

I think the most sensible recommendation so far above is finding a car wash stall to get all the gunk off. I'd still be a little paranoid since before using ONR I use a snow foam cannon with solution to get most of the grime off.
 

trm2

Active Member
Apr 3, 2016
1,087
1,723
CLE
Re: Just using waterless/rinse-less, there's no way I'd use just that in the winter by itself -- I love those products, but even the manufacturers of those products recommend not using them on a really dirty car.

I think the most sensible recommendation so far above is finding a car wash stall to get all the gunk off. I'd still be a little paranoid since before using ONR I use a snow foam cannon with solution to get most of the grime off.
You can still use just rinseless. If the car is caked with dirt or salt, mix up some rinseless in a pressurized sprayer (e.g. an IK Multi Sprayer) and “pretreat” the car by spraying all over the car.
 
Last winter I washed it every 2-3 weeks When a 40+ degree day came around. I wear waterproof jacket, pants, boots and most importantly neoprene diving gloves. It’s the ice cold water on the hands that would be the limiting factor for me. You can also fill your buckets with warm water.

I bought the 3mm and they were warm enough and not horribly bulky.
Outdoor Solar Battery Powered... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001EULPYU?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
 
When it's too cold to wash outside I run it through a touches wash just to get the salt off the paint/underbody, usually about once per week provided it's not below freezing outside. Then I touch up in the garage at home. I'm perfectly fine with having my car 90% "clean" in the winter time since I can't spend the time on it I can in the summer, I try my best to keep the grime and salt off of it in the winter.
 

KenC

Active Member
Sep 4, 2018
4,867
4,638
Maine
Last winter I washed it every 2-3 weeks When a 40+ degree day came around. I wear waterproof jacket, pants, boots and most importantly neoprene diving gloves. It’s the ice cold water on the hands that would be the limiting factor for me. You can also fill your buckets with warm water.

I bought the 3mm and they were warm enough and not horribly bulky.
Outdoor Solar Battery Powered... https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001EULPYU?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
Funny, I did the same. On a "warmish" day, above freezing, I'd get out the hose, rinse off my car, and then ONR with orange ice-fishing gloves.
 
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afadeev

Active Member
Feb 28, 2019
1,279
1,461
NYC
I've had my car since June and wash it myself about every 2 to 3 weeks. But the upcoming winter is giving my shivers before it even gets cold. Here in the northeast, we remove the hoses and winterize the outdoor faucets.

Yep, true 'dat.

So does this mean my car stays dirty for up to five months until I can wash it in the Spring? Or do you guys cheat and take it to a car wash?
EDIT: Cars get WAY too dirty in the winter here to use water-less/rinse-less in the winter. It would still scratch.

If you are comfortable delegating your TM3 into winter beater/all-season daily driver duty (I am), there is little reason to obsess over relying on automatic car washes to keep it presentable. Forget clean - not "too dirty to touch" will do. Yes, some car washes rely on harsher chemicals than what you would use yourself (touch-less), or introduce clear coat scratches that will need to be polished off in the spring (regular car washes). Frankly, I've been OK with both outcomes.

And if you start feeling bad about taking your car to car washes, then don't even dare pondering what all the road salt, rocks, and debris will be doing to your paint throughout the winter. It's all cost of driving in NE winter.

It is what it is.
Remember, it's just a car!

a
 

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