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Get your ST ready for winter with tips for prepping and winter tire selection

5804 Views 19 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  BRGT350
I put together a few videos over the weekend for selecting winter tires and how to prep your ST for the winter months.

2015 Ford Fiesta ST prepped for winter by Bryan Redeker BRGT350, on Flickr

2015 Ford Fiesta ST prepped for winter by Bryan Redeker BRGT350, on Flickr

2015 Fiesta ST winter prep by Bryan Redeker BRGT350, on Flickr
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+1 for the winter wash and wax. I did mine last weekend. A little extra effort goes a long way in protecting your paint. How are you planning on keeping your car clean for the winter? I'm thinking about doing a periodic hot water rinse from a coin op place and maybe try a waterless wash/detailer.

The clear coat is another good tip that I actually haven't seen before. Where did you get the idea from? I'll see how mine wears this winter and repaint/apply protection where needed for next year. I pretty much replaced every suspension bit on my rusty mazda3 (not fun). Again, a little more time now could help a lot later.

One thing I would add is to try change your oil or any other regular maintenance prior to winter (if you're a DIYer and you're close to your regular maintenance interval). Doing stuff in the cold sucks :(

Also, I'm not a fan of how rain-x smudges the windshield when exposed to wipers and slush. I try to strip it off before winter...

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I thought about the touchless car wash, but a number of sources said the chemicals and high pressure spray strips the wax and sealant off the paint finish, leaving the paint exposed. My current plan is hand wash the car when temps are 30'F or above (which will become very rare in the next few months), plan B is to use a DIY car wash stall with my own brush and soap, and plan C is to use an automated car wash. I actually have enough wax and paint sealant on the car that most of the salt comes off with the hose and just needs a little bit of brushing to clean the car. So far, I have been able to hand wash my car this winter. Last month we got over 30" of snow and temps way below average. I was able to time the hand washes according to the weather and avoid the automated or DIY wash bays.

A trick that was passed to me from a rally team is to spray the bottom of the car with WD40 as it will make it easier to clean the salt off.

This past weekend I made some additional underbody protection panels out of UHMW;

After a few weeks of driving in the snow, I noticed ice buildup on the rear half of the skirts. Today I added some protection under the skirts and extended the front mud flaps. Hopefully this will help protect the car better.
by Bryan Redeker BRGT350, on Flickr

The plastic sheets are located under the rear doors and mounted to the side skirts. They have a removable door for the jackstand/rear jacking point and run from the factory floor pan plastic shield to the rear wheel well and about 10" to the inside of the floor pan. They also protect the skirts, rear doors, and rear quarter panel from debris coming from the front tires. I also lowered the front mud flaps to cut down on the angle debris can exit the front tires.
Looks great! Any thoughts on the waterless car wash products? I think there's a whole bunch on the market now from most of the big detailer brands. I think Ultima is still the best. I might invest in a small bottle as a trial.

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I don't know too much about the waterless car wash stuff, but I have a feeling it won't work well to remove the large quantity of sand/salt that gets caked on the sides and rear of the car. The rear hatch and bumper is really bad in terms in the amount of sand/salt that is collected. Even after washing and rinsing the car, there are salt trails that leak out of the trim for days. I am sure the same thing existed on my 2011, but white salt on a white car wasn't as noticable. A lengthy rinse with warm water is probably the best option to remove as much of the sand/salt as possible.

The other winter issue with abrasion on the front bumper. I am interested in trying the "spray-on" bra stuff that 3M makes to see how well that holds up over winter. Too late this year to try it as the temps have been below freezing for the past few weeks.
Yeah, I'm not completely sold on the waterless techniques. It seems like it might work to clean a little dust or dirt but it would but I can't imagine that any product could dissolve and lubricate salt and grime well enough. I'd be worried about inducing swirls into the clear coat :( I'll most likely end up doing some correction come Spring so if there's a little damage, it will be ok.

The other option are the rinse-less washes. You still use water (not as much) but you don't need to worry about rinsing after. However, given the amount of road grime in the Winter, you will still need to do a pre rinse treatment..

I'll probably end up adopting a hybrid approach with either the waterless or rinseless wash techniques ie. thorough hot rinse, wash and leave to dry in heated garage.
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