We are all guilty of letting our automobiles go without a significant wash at times. "Meh, what's a little dirt gonna hurt?" The Certified Service team at Handy Chevrolet wants you to know that a little bit of dirt, grime, or tree sap can do quite a bit of damage to your clear coat and paint. Since I plan on washing my car next weekend, I did a little research and found these great car washing tips with the help of autogeek.net.
1. Wash the wheels and tires first. If you splash wheel cleaners or dirt onto your vehicle, you can simply wash it off as you wash your vehicle. Use a cleaner that is water-based and has no corrosive chemicals, which is safer for coated wheels and rubber. Agitate with a wheel brush to clean wheels without scratching. Wash each wheel and tire one at a time and rinse thoroughly before moving on to the next one.
2. Now you're ready to wash. I always start from the top of the vehicle and use a car wash that is rich in lubricants. The purpose of the car wash is to remove contaminants and lubricate them so they do not scratch the paint as they slide off the vehicle. Dish detergents are not ideal because they remove protective coatings.
3. How do you prevent swirl marks? Use two buckets. Fill one bucket with soapy water and fill the other with clean water. Each time you're ready to reload your sponge with soapy water, dip it in the clean water first to rinse out the grit and contamination you've just removed from your vehicle. Then dip it in the soapy water and continue washing.
4. Always rinse your vehicle thoroughly before you begin washing in order to remove loose debris, then begin washing at the top of the vehicle; wash downwards as opposed to front to back or, better yet, top to bottom and front to back. Remember that the lower panels are dirtiest, so you want to clean the windows and the upper panels before cleaning the lower half of the vehicle so that you don't transfer grit to the top half of the vehicle. Rinse and reload your sponge often to prevent cross-contamination. Rinse your vehicle frequently as you work too, especially in hot weather.
5. When rinsing, you don't have to blast your car clean with the water hose; free-flowing water (no nozzle) will allow the water to slide off of your vehicle for a more thorough rinsing.
Now that you have the wash completed, do not skip drying! Drying your vehicle after washing is necessary to prevent water spots caused caused by mineral deposits that etch the outline of a drop of water into your vehicle's paint. All water has minerals in it whether it's from the hose or the sky, and calcium, lime, and even metals in the water will remain on the surface and eventually create water spots.
Now is when speed becomes important - make sure you dry your car quickly. You'll find that the sun will try to beat you to the punch, thereby leaving all of those pesky water spots. If you don't have a natural shammy or a "Fireman's Friend" synthetic shammy, try a microfiber towel: they absorb 7 times their own weight in moisture and are completely nonabrasive.
Speaking of terrycloth, some circles don't recommend using them on paint because the fibers can become matted and hard after repeated uses, they shed lint and they increase the chance of swirls. Compared to microfiber, they are not as absorbent and they don't last as long. However many tried and true detail artists believe in cotton towels exclusively. If you have a brand new one you may use it, but anything old may cause swirls.
The bottom line? Your new car does a lot for you... so treat it right.
We see a lot of cars come through Handy Chevrolet whose owners have attempted to keep their vehicles clean but it's painfully obvious that they did the exact opposite of everything I recommended above. There are swirls in the paint, tree sap that hasn't been cleaned and has since baked into the finish of their vehicle, and so forth. Maybe with these tips things will improve, eh?.
The bottom line is that it's easier to stay in love with a clean car than it is one that has seen better days, both on the exterior and interior. I suggest getting your car detailed thoroughly once ever 6 months or so. Not only is it a part of being a responsible car owner, but you'll be even more proud of that car, truck or SUV - and it could net you more doing trade-in time!
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