If you love your car more than life itself, you’ll get it when we say washing your car is not just about making sure it’s clean. In fact, a lot of it has to do with maintaining the condition of the car so it always looks (and feels) spanking new. Here are some tips for washing and caring for your car the right way.
1. Wash your car’s exterior at least fortnightly
Some contaminants can do long-term damage if they remain on the car paint for too long. Organic compounds – such as bug remains and bird droppings – and construction debris are some common ones. They form chemical reactions with the surface or the clear coat of the car and break it down, leaving your vehicle susceptible to corrosion and discolouration. Hence, it is advisable that you wash your car at least once every two weeks.
2. Use items and cleaning materials made specially for cars
Microfibre cloths and specialised mitts and sponges are ideal for washing your car. These items are made with special materials that are gentle enough to clean thoroughly and not damage the paint or the exterior of the car.
3. Choose the right environment
You should always make sure your car is not hot when you’re washing it. This includes:
- Right after taking your car out for a drive;
- After parking under the sun for too long; and lastly,
- Washing your car in the sun.
Moisture from washing your car when it’s hot out could amp up the power of the sun’s rays and this is especially damaging for new cars and clear-coat paint. Moreover, heat speeds up the drying of soap and water, and if soap and water dry prematurely on your car, it would give your car unsightly water spots and deposits.
But washing your car under the hot sun isn’t just bad for the exterior; it also affects the way the vehicle functions. If your hot car comes in contact with water, there will be a rapid cooling of brake rotors and this might cause warping of your rotors, which may compromise your car’s ability to brake.
4. Do not neglect the interior of the car
What’s the point of having a car that looks gorgeous from the outside, but is an absolute mess on the inside? Make sure to clean all surface areas that you (and your passengers) have access to. You should pay attention to the dash and deck under the rear window in particular, since they take the brunt of sun exposure. Regular treatment is necessary to keep them from cracking and fading.
5. Don’t skip the pre-wash
Don’t be hasty and jump straight into cleaning your car with car soap. Before you do anything, rinse the car with water first. Pre-washing is an important step that really shouldn’t be overlooked. It ensures that there is no debris on your car that could potentially cause scratches as you drag your cleaning cloth across surfaces.
Speaking of debris, always have two buckets ready when you wash and dry. Use one bucket to rinse the cloth after wiping the car, and use the second bucket for a second rinse, before the cloth goes back onto the car surface. This ensures debris is kept away from the car for good.
6. Wash the wheels first
Begin washing your car from the wheels before moving to the top and working your way down. This way, debris won’t be introduced to the cleaner parts. Also, set aside a cloth just for washing the wheels as they are often the dirtiest part of the car.