The spring is here, and we want our cars to look awesome.
Except that giving your car a thorough wash isn’t just about good looks. It can save the car’s body in the long run.
It’s simple to swing your vehicle by the car wash when your baby looks like it’s been doing a bit of off-roading.
However, it isn’t something we should recommend if you are a proud owner of a new or well-preserved car and want it to stay nice for a longer time. Bringing it to a car wash service might seem like a fast and easy solution, but not all easy things are the best. Sure, they splatter your car, but they usually don’t get rid of all the gritty materials that could cause damage.
There’s one more reason why you should do it alone. It’s a great opportunity to get to know your baby really well. Eventually, you’ll end up enjoying it. And when you do it regularly, the work itself won’t be burdensome or last long.
If this is your first time, spare a couple of hours and have some patience. Admittedly, there’s much more work to be done than when washing your own body.
Some patience is needed because there are some preparatory actions that you need before actually touching the car.
Read the weather forecast
Planning to wash your car tomorrow? Nature has to approve of it. Not just because rain might ruin your efforts, but also because you don’t need winds to bring some more sand and dust to your work. Also, pick a shady place to prevent the cleaners from drying before you start rinsing the car. The best option would be to do it in the late afternoon before the sun starts to set.
Carefully choose rags
Regular things you use when washing anything in this world (including yourself) just won’t do in this case, many common cleaners contain abrasives that can cause scratches to your vehicle’s clear coat. Forget about using cotton and paper towels, sponges, chamois or anything similar. Use only microfiber towels and mitts. They were designed to absorb all of those gritty little intruders that would otherwise stay on the surface of the towel or car.
Talking about the towels, having at least 5 of them plus a mitt is mandatory. You’ll realize it by the time you finish reading this article.
Carefully choose detergents as well
If you usually spend half an hour on choosing the right shampoo or bath foam for yourself, double the time when choosing a shampoo for your car. A bad or low-quality bath foam can devastate your car’s paint or clear coat.
That being said, don’t ever use kitchen detergents on your vehicle. Dish soap will treat your car wax as if it were grease – that is, it will remove it, and this certainly isn’t your goal.
Just like your pet and yourself, your car has its own shampoos. We won’t be recommending you one because we aren’t here to promote car detergent manufacturers. However, if you aren’t sure which one to pick, don’t opt for the cheapest, that’s for sure.
Starting with cleaning the wheels
The lowest and dirtiest parts are the first ones that need your attention. First of all, they are in direct contact with the ground. Second, you wouldn’t want all the filth from them to spread to the cleaned body. Take a brush to remove all the mud, little rocks and whatnot from the rims, hose soap, rinse and dry them with a microfiber towel.
There’s something before washing. It’s called pre-washing…
… And you definitely shouldn’t skip this part, tempting though it may be.
The process is very simple. You just need a hose with a nozzle in order to spray the car with water under pressure. Do this from top to bottom, as the water running down the panels can take big pieces of dirt to where they belong.
The goal is, obviously, to wash away any bigger bits of debris that you don’t want to get under the towel later when you start hand washing the car.
When washing, use twin water buckets
Anyone who has ever washed their car by hand will tell you that it’s better to use two buckets than one. The first one should be used only to wash the dirty mitt. If you want to make sure that all the junk sinks to the bottom of the bucket and rest there undisturbed, just get a common plastic grid and put it in the bucket, so the mitt gets really clean every time you wash it.
The other bucket should contain the shampoo mixed with water. Read the instructions and pour the recommended quantity of the shampoo in the bucket. So the drill goes like this: rub the car’s panel, wash the mitt in the grid bucket, soak it in the other bucket to get a rich foam, rub another panel.
Even with all the precaution, a little rock or two may stick somewhere and scratch your precious paint. So here is one more vital thing to remember: rubbing shouldn’t be done in circular motion. Even when there is something dangerous nesting in the mitt, it will make a greater and more visible damage if spread in circles.
The foam is important not only because it cleans the surface, but also because it acts as a lubricant. This is especially important because birds love to go potty on your car, and their poop is not just another annoying stain, but also pernicious for your vehicle’s tender body paint, as it is acidic to a certain extent.
Dry well and thoroughly
Here comes the microfiber towel part.
Even though you’ve already done all the rough work, you’ll be surprised to see the dirt under it. So, you will want to fold it a couple of times before you switch to another one. It is important to not let the water drops dry naturally, as it would really be a pity to have different kinds of smears and smudges all around the surface.
Make it tip-top
In order for your spring adventure to begin, it’s time to give your best pal a fancy look, as well as a new layer of protection. Take some wax, apply it using a clean microfiber towel, wait for 10-15 minutes (or check the product instructions), and polish it with another clean towel.
It is recommendable to wash your car once a week. However, 4 times a year is often enough to do some waxing. This time of the year being, of course, one of those times.
Whew… Can I go now?
Of course, you are free to go. But before that, check our previous blog post with spring car care tips. Washing is just one of those tips, and you’ll find the others equally useful, if not more.
Do you have some other tactics for washing your car? Let us know in the comment section below!
And if you need a mechanic, let us take care of your automotive pet for you. Come to our repair shops in Hamilton and Stoney Creek today!