Washing a vehicle by hand can be a therapeutic experience for car owners, helping clean out a person’s state-of-mind as well as the car. The best way to keep a new-car finish is by frequent and careful washing. As easy of a task that washing your car sounds, there are things to know so that your car’s finish doesn’t get accidentally degraded or scratched. Here is what you need to know.
Car Wash Products
Do not use household cleaning products on your car. Agents like glass cleaner, dishwashing detergent or hand soap are not designed to be used on paint and can remove the protective wax.
Do use a product meant for car washing which is formulated to be mild on automotive paint. Use a lamb’s-wool mitt or a big, natural sponge to apply the product. Road-tar, rubber and grease from the road can build up around the lower side of the car and around the wheel wells. These substances might be more difficult to remove and you may need a more powerful product like a bug-and-tar cleaner. To keep your sponge from getting blackened, use a non-abrasive, soft cloth to remove these deposits.
Do use a different cloth or sponge to clean tires and wheels as they may be covered with brake dust, sand, and foreign debris which can taint the vehicles finish. A cleaner that is compatible with the specific finish used on the wheels like chrome, clear coat, paint and so forth is best. To be safe, select a product that states it is safe to be used on all wheels.
Common Guidelines for Car Washing
Do not move the sponge in circular patterns. Even though you may think this is good from watching the Karate Kid movie, this action can leave slightly noticeable swirl marks or scratches. Rather, move your sponge or cloth across the hood and body lengthwise. If your sponge drops on the ground, be sure to rinse it out thoroughly before using it again. Small particles sticking to the sponge can scratch the paint.
Do not wash your vehicle when it’s body is hot, like right after it’s been driven or when it’s been sitting directly in the sunlight for a while. The water and soap will dry up very quickly when it’s hot. This increases the chances that deposits and spots will appear and makes washing more difficult.
Do rinse off all areas of the car completely with water before beginning to wash. This helps to remove loose debris and dirt that can cause scratching. When you start washing, focus on one area at a time, washing and rinsing that section thoroughly before moving on. This allows for enough rinsing time before the soap dries. Begin at the top and work your way around the vehicle. Using a hose, let the water stream from the top of the car down, creating a sheeting action that keeps water-pooling at a minimum.
Do lather up the car-wash cleaner with a plethora of suds to provide plenty of lubrication for the surface of the paint. Keep your sponge rinsed out often. Use a different bucket when rinsing the sponge to keep debris and dirt from getting in the lathery wash-water.
Do not allow the car to air dry or drive the vehicle around the neighborhood to dry. This can leave watermarks from the hard water minerals. Also, do not use non-soft materials or abrasive towels to dry the car as they can leave hairline scratches on the paint.
Do use soft, terry towels or chamois to dry. If using towels, have several on hand. The best way is to blot the water off verses mopping the towel over the paint. Use a soft squeegee to speed up the drying, but be sure the rubber is soft and pliable. You don’t want it to pick up debris that can cause scratches.
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