If you were to rewind a decade ago, you would notice that car cleaning wasn’t something that was given a great deal of thought. At least, not when it came to budget cars.
Car owners would wash their cars once a week with a detergent or dishwashing liquid and some would make an effort to wax their vehicle every month or perhaps every few months. Waxing and cleaning the car was not something car owners thought of until they wanted to sell the car and invest in a new one. But times have changed.
What has Changed?
Over the years, with massive improvements and advancements in the automobile industry, we have gradually come to acknowledge just how beneficial good maintenance is in enhancing the longevity of the car and also keeping the value high. Earlier, 100,000 miles used to be the watershed number to label a car as old, but now it is twice that number. Isn’t that amazing?
Today, the interiors and exteriors of cars have the ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions, but they still deteriorate over time. That is why it is important to have a good car cleaning schedule in place. It will protect your car and also maximize its value in the future.
Quick pointers to be aware of
It isn’t just dirt and unattractive rain spots that you might find on your car. Acid rain, tree sap, bird droppings, pollutants, and bug juice also can degrade its exterior. To remove the dirt and debris of all types from the car’s surface, it is necessary, you purchase cleaners exclusively made for the type of car you have. Also, make sure the cleaning solution has the proper pH balance.
Home Detergents: Using home detergent or soap is a total no-no, as it strips off the natural protective wax coating and leaves your car vulnerable to nicks and scratches.
Shade: Ensure your car is parked in the shade while washing and waxing. It is convenient and prevents the solutions from drying out fast. This means you will be able to work it into the surface better.
Cleaning Tools: Make sure you have all the items and products you need to save time and effort. This would include the cleaning kit, lamb’s wool, microfiber towels for washing and drying and brushes to clean the tires/mats.
Hose the surface beforehand to loosen or dissolve stains and dirt from the surface. Don’t forget the wheels and undercarriage.
When cleaning your car, it is important you follow specific steps of washing, cleaning, polishing, and waxing.
Washing is the most crucial of all steps. The surface of your car has a layer of residues that needs to be scrubbed away properly before any other step.
Begin with cleaning the wheels and tires before the body. This prevents the dirt and debris from splashing back on the bodywork. Use a soft brush to thoroughly clean every nook and cranny. This way, you will not worry about scratches. Make sure to use a non-acid-based cleaner to clean the metal body. If it has acid, it will corrode and oxidize the metal, leaving your car with pits and rust. Apply a degreaser on the wheels to thoroughly remove old grease and stubborn dirt.
Use a lamb’s wool to wash the car in sections. Wash the wool thoroughly after cleaning every section. For convertible tops, use a soft-bristled brush and work in gentle, small, circular strokes.
Once you finish washing, dry the surface completely with microfiber towels. You shouldn’t let a single drop of water stay on the surface.
Inspect the surface of the paint with your dry hand. If it feels rough, it needs to be cleaned. You can use a clay bar which is mildly abrasive. You may lubricate the clay bar with some liquid cleaner wax for optimum results.
Clean one section at a time, and remove the cleaner using a microfiber towel. Do not use the clay bar if you have dropped it on the ground. It could end up scratching the paint off from the body.
Take a close look at your car. The paint should come across as smooth, with no marks.
Polishing is optional, but it adds a wonderful sheen and makes the paint surface look very smooth. You can use a glaze or polish once a year to restore the oils of the paint.
To apply the polish or glaze, take some of the product on a round foam applicator pad. Use small circular strokes to work in the polish. Focus on one section at a time, as you did while cleaning. Buff the polish using a microfiber towel once it turns hazy in appearance. Do not let it dry completely, as it is most likely to cause scratches on the finish.
A coat of wax helps protect the exterior against the elements. Paste or liquid wax is a matter of personal choice, though both offer similar results. Once more use small, circular strokes with the help of a microfiber foam applicator pad. You should be looking to wax your car every time you wash it.
If the paint on your car has a matté finish, do not use polish or wax on it. Use just a car washing liquid formulated for a matté finish.
Follow these steps of cleaning and washing your vehicle to keep the body looking fresh and shiny and prevent it from deteriorating over time.