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Detail In Winter? Yes!

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

If you think detailing your car is just for those spring and summer months where the sun can glint off the freshly polished and waxed exterior, think again. Here’s why you should detail in winter:

One of the number one enemies is road salt. It can eat through your car’s finish and contribute to premature rusting. Detailing in winter with a thorough process including a car wash, polish and wax to get that corrosion-causing road salt off your car and lay down a protective layer that will help keep it off your car as winter wears on.

Even if you live in an area where they don’t salt the roads, the caked-on snow, ice, mud and grime can trap moisture against your car’s finish with—you guessed it—the same result: A ruined finish and an early trip to the junkyard because of rust that could have been prevented or at least delayed with a good detail in winter.

But it’s not just your car’s exterior that needs attention. A thorough detail in winter is important for your car’s interior, too. Every time you get in your vehicle with wet, muddy or snowy shoes, your carpet takes a hit. It needs to be cleaned more often, not less, when winter rolls around. And your shoes likely aren’t the only part of you bringing grit and grime into your car. Cloth and leather interiors both need more frequent vacuuming during the winter months to prevent scratches, rips and tears.

And how about those temperature extremes? From freezing (or below freezing) temperatures to the occasional bright sunny day, your leather, vinyl and plastic parts go through a lot of contracting and expanding with the cold and heat. Proper regular conditioning of those surfaces will prevent them from becoming dry, brittle and cracking apart.

Mr. Clean Car Wash offers the same full range of detailing services year-round, because your car needs that kind of care in winter, summer, spring and fall. And with these specials, you can even save some money!

Top Winterization Services Your Car

Monday, February 15th, 2016

Everyone has heard the old cliché that, if March comes in like a lamb, it leaves like a lion. This year, that cliché could apply to winter in general. The season may have started out mild, but Old Man Winter has finally settled in, wreaking havoc all across the map. For those who put off winterizing their cars because it didn’t seem necessary, it’s not too late to do it now. Here are the most important winterization steps in making sure a car is ready for the elements.

Get a checkup.

During frigid weather, it’s more important than ever for a car to be in good condition. For one thing, winter weather can exacerbate existing problems. And, even if winter weather isn’t the cause of a breakdown, no one wants to be stuck by the side of the road in dangerously cold temperatures. At a minimum, a winter checkup should include the following:

  • Coolant: Make sure the car’s coolant is the proper mixture for cold weather and is at the optimum level.
  • Battery: Extreme temperatures can kill a battery. Check the battery for cracks, leaks, loose terminals, and corrosion. If the car has been slow to start, take it somewhere that can check the battery’s charge.
  • Oil: Cold weather affects oil’s viscosity, which is a measure of how thick it is and how easily it flows. When the weather is cold, many cars need thinner oil (like 5W-30 instead of 10W-30). Check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Fuel Delivery: Clean fuel injectors, throttle plate and a new fuel filter will help prevent drivability issues in the winter weather.
  • Safety: Check all exterior light bulbs to be sure they are working; replace your wiper blades and ensure you have plenty of washer fluid that is for freezing conditions.
  • Tires: Inspect the car’s tires. Most people don’t think about tires until they have a flat. That’s a dangerous habit, especially during the winter. The tread is all that’s protecting the car from sliding on slick surfaces. If the tread is worn down too low, the tires should be replaced. If the tires are worn unevenly, alignment and rotation can even things out. Even if the tread is fine, it’s important to check the pressure in tires. Tires lose one to two pounds of pressure for every 10-degree temperature drop. If the tires are below the manufacturer’s recommendations, it’s time to top them off.


Treat the car to a spa day.

It may seem counterintuitive to worry about things like exterior details when winter is still causing mischief, but that’s exactly what cars need. Important treatments include:

  • Wash and wax: A good, fresh coat of wax will protect the car’s finish from things like salt, corrosion and the contaminants found in snow and rain. And a dirty car is a very poor surface for wax, so a professional wash is an important first step.
  • Headlights: Consider headlight restoration. It’s a quick process that can remove all of the nicks and scratches that build up in headlight covers. Those imperfections can make headlights seem dim, and restoration can bring back full visibility. In addition, make sure that all bulbs are working, including brake lights and turn signals.
  • Winterize the Engine: Be sure to get all services that will keep your car running in the cold such as a coolant exchange, transmission fluid exchange, fuel filters, fuel injector cleaning etc.

Be prepared.

Being stranded is never fun, but, in the winter, it can be dangerous. Severe winter storms, for example, can make it impossible for searchers to look for stranded motorists. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared to spend a couple of days in the car if disaster strikes. An emergency kit should include the following items at a minimum:

  • Flares
  • Blankets
  • Snow boots
  • A radio
  • Heavy outerwear
  • Gloves and a hat for all passengers
  • A flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • Drinkable water
  • High-energy snacks like protein bars
  • A flag or some other bright item to alert searchers to your presence
  • A shovel
  • A window scraper
  • A cell phone charger or external battery
  • Booster cables
  • A basic tool kit
  • Emergency repair items like water, antifreeze, oil, and tire repair
  • Waterproof matches
  • First aid kit

This winter, protect both your investment in your car and your own health and safety by being ready for whatever winter throws your way. Mr. Clean Car Wash is ready to take care of everything except that emergency kit (that one is on you). Visit today to get 50% off a full-service wash with a V.I.P. Club membership, or look online for other great promotions.

How Long Will My Car Wax Last?

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Nothing lasts forever (except for taxes, there will always be taxes)—and that includes a car wax job. Even the most professional application of a high-quality wax will eventually lose its luster. However, it’s hard to define what “eventually” means, because there are so many factors that affect how long a wax job lasts. Here are the most important factors:

  • Surface prep: Just as old roof will eventually require a complete re-roof (instead of just another new layer of shingles) due to a poor or weathering initial product, eventually a car will require top tier wax. It’s important to start with a product that removes any wax left over from the last application. In addition, clay bar application (which is part of Mr. Clean Car Wash’s car detail packages) is important for removing contaminants in preparation for a new coat of wax.
  • How it’s applied: The way in which the wax is applied makes a huge difference. For one thing, many people unknowingly apply far too much wax at a time. It’s much better to apply a thin coat of wax and then, if necessary, repeat the process. In addition, applying wax by hand is usually a mistake. That’s partly because it’s almost impossible to avoid using uneven pressure when you apply wax by hand. The circular motion most people use when applying car wax by hand tends to leave a visible pattern behind. The best wax applications are done with a random motion orbiter, which applies even pressure and doesn’t leave a pattern. In addition, the friction and heat produced by the random orbiter work to remove contaminants from the surface, which reduces the risk of scratches.
  • Environmental factors: It makes sense, but a lot of people never think about it: Cars stored in a garage can go longer between waxes. The same is true for cars that are driven only occasionally versus every day. In addition, other environmental factors like pollution, salt, and ice melt can shorten the life of a wax job.
  • Frequency of washing: This one is the proverbial Catch-22. Regular washes are a critical part of protecting a car’s paint, but they do shorten the life of a car wax job. Car owners who are wise enough to wash their cars frequently should consider getting their cars waxed more frequently, too.

The bottom line is it’s tough to give a specific time frame for how long a car can go between wax jobs, but here’s a neat little hack: If rain is no longer beading on the car’s surface, it’s time for wax.

Car wax isn’t just a nicety. It provides a chemical barrier that protects the paint from wear, tear, and environmental elements. Mr. Clean Car Wash has a variety of car detail services to give your car the deep shine it had the first day you got it.

Vehicle Maintenance: “New-to-You” Car Edition

Monday, November 9th, 2015

The used car market is booming. In 2014, sales of certified pre-owned cars topped all previous records. There are a lot of reasons for that—not the least of which is Millennials’ entering the job market’s need for transportation. The best-known reason for buying a used car is depreciation. The value of a new car drops by about 20% as soon as it’s driven off the lot. It drops another 10% during the first year. Buying pre-owned vehicles, especially newer vehicles turned in from leases, is a great way to avoid taking that hit. It’s also a smart way to get a better car for an affordable price.

Buying a “new” car is always exciting, whether it’s a one-year-old BMW or a 10-year-old Honda. Here are vehicle maintenance tricks new owners can employ to keep their purchases in like-new condition:

Oil Change

Unless the previous owner provided service records, it’s a good idea to get the oil changed. Some owners delay vehicle maintenance if they know they’re about to sell their car. Others put it off because they can’t find the time, unaware of the damage they’re causing. Starting out fresh with an oil change is the best way to avoid driving around with low or dirty oil. Mr. Clean Car Wash offers five different levels of oil changes to meet any vehicle need.

Routine Vehicle Maintenance

Oil changes aren’t the only kind of maintenance that should be performed at regular intervals. Air and fuel filters have to be changed, wipers and belts have to be replaced, transmission, power steering and differential fluids need replacing, etc. Without documentation of recent services, starting off with routine recommended services is a smart way to extend the life of the vehicle.

Interior Cleaning

Some people put the interior of their cars through a lot of abuse: muddy dogs, sticky hands, spilled drinks, smoke, etc. Even if the car looks clean, there could be dirt and allergens deep in the carpet or upholstery, caked into the rims of cup holders, or hidden in other nooks and crannies. A professional interior detailing is the best way to remove all remnants of a car’s previous life.

Exterior cleaning

While routine vehicle maintenance is what keeps a car running, the exterior is the first thing people see. A professional wash that includes cleaning the vehicle interior and applying a tire shine will improve the appearance of any vehicle, but a thorough detailing can enhance a used cars appearance.

A previously-owned car can be a smart investment, especially if you take good care of it. Mr. Clean Car Wash can help you with all aspects of vehicle maintenance and upkeep. Visit us today to learn more.

image: flickr via JD Hancock, 2009