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Detailing Your Car for Winter by Chad Heath

Winter, in most parts of the nation, is the time to have a warm coat in your closet and a protective coat on your car's paint finish, wheels, seats and windshield. The dramatic weather changes of the winter season conspire with caustic road salts and grime to truly take their toll on a car.

That's why we're going to look at some of the preparations you can make before the onset of winter, steps that will protect your car from the ravages of this nastiest of seasons.

The largest and most sensitive area of any car is the painted surface. During winter it should be washed as often as possible. This will prevent the build-up of contaminants on the paint. Detailing experts advise never to use a household detergent for washing a car. They can strip away the wax and leave your paint dull and unprotected. Using a premium car wash will ensure heavy foam, which will lift dirt off the paint and add protection and gloss enhancement. While most people think of spring clean up, make sure you give your car's paint a fighting chance before the first winter storm. Apply a thorough coat of a polish and wax that is formulated to protect and preserve the finish and is safe for clear coats.

No part of your car comes in closer contact to that bubbling cauldron of acids and salts than your wheels. By applying a coat or two of polish, you will provide the ultimate protection for your wheels. Don't be shy: reapply it after every couple of washes.

Your interiors need some TLC, too. If you have a leather interior, make sure you keep it flexible by applying a good coat of conditioner, one that is formulated with mink oil and lanolin. This will maintain the natural suppleness of your leather.

Last, but by no means least, visibility is very important during winter. With the window defogger working full time, keeping your windows clean is paramount. If you use an automotive-specific glass cleaner with a non-ammonia formula, your glass will remain streak-free and crystal clear.

Remember, if you keep your car looking its best during the winter months, your spring cleaning will be a breeze.

Want more winterizing tips? Click here!