For many car owners, washing the car can be inconvenient, especially if you have to drop off for an hour or two it at the local car wash. For others, not so much if their drivers can wash the car at their homes or office. In whichever case, it is important that you wash your car frequently as this is the best way to maintain the new-look of your vehicle.
But is your driver or the local car wash knowledgable about the things to do so that they don’t accidentally scratch your car finish or leave soap residue that can dull the car paint? Though car washing may seem easy to do, there are certain things to look out for to make sure that the car finish is getting the most of your commitment to frequent washing.
WHEN to wash your car
Don’t wait until a layer of grime and dirt is deposited on your car before washing. Dirt, bird droppings, dead insects and chemicals from the atmosphere all seep out acidic substances that can destroy the car paint and would require some body work and repainting to fix.
These substances should be washed off as soon as possible. Apart from this immediate car care, washing the car at least once a week at a good service centre should keep the car finish in top condition. Also, if the region where you reside is prone to acid rain, make sure to wash of rainwater from your car after a downpour in the rainy season. If not done, the rainwater’s acidic chemicals will dry off on the car surface after the droplets have evaporated, leaving marks that can permanently tarnish the paint.
WHAT kind of products to use
Car washing is not a job for household cleaning detergents like Omo, Ariel or Sunlight. These cleaning agents are not made for use on a car’s paint and may slowly peel the wax and polish that protects the car paint.
You should use dedicated car-wash products which are milder and specifically manufactured for use on car paint. The lather or foam should be applied with a large, soft natural sponge.
Rubber, grease and road-tar deposits picked up in the cause of driving your car often buildup around the wheel wells and near the bottom edge of the car body. These can be hard to remove and may require a stronger chemical product. For these stubborn deposits, use a soft cloth that is non-abrasive rather than a sponge. Drive-thru automatic car wash machines use a combination of chemicals and high-pressure water to remove these deposits.
A separate sponge should be used to clean the wheels and tires, which may be covered with sand, brake dust and other debris that could tarnish the car’s finish. If extra help is needed, a dedicated wheel cleaner may be required. Be sure the cleaner is compatible with the type of finish used on the wheels (paint, clear-coat, chrome, etc). A strong wheel cleaner formula used for mag (magnesium steel) wheels for example, can wash away the clear coat that’s used on the wheels that come on new cars. To be on the safe side, choose a cleaner that’s labelled as safe for use on all wheels.
Below are some guidelines for every professional car wash
1. Pre-Spray to Cool – Cars should not be washed when the body is hot, such as immediately after driving it or after it has been parked in direct sunlight for awhile. This is assuming your car wash service centre do not perform a pre-spray to cool the body temperature.
Soap and water dry faster when the car body is hot and makes car washing more difficult. Spots or deposits also form more easily in this conditions.
2. Sponge movement – Don’t move the sponge in circles. This can create light, but noticeable scratches called swirl marks. Th better way to do this is to move the sponge along the length of the car across the hood and other body panels. If the sponge drops on the floor, ensure it is thoroughly rinsed off before use.The sponge can pick up dirt particles which can scratch the car paint.
3. Pre-Wash and Stop Soap Drying – Make sure that you rinse the car body thoroughly before you start washing the car. This will remove loose dirt and debris that can cause scratching while washing with the sponge. It is advisable to focus on one part of the car at a time, washing and rinsing each section completely before moving to the next area. With this technique you are sure to have enough time to rinse the car with water before the soap begins to dry. Begin wash at the top of the car, and move to the sides and around the car.
4. Foam Up – Mix the wash chemical into a lather with plenty of foam that provides lots of lubrication on the paint surface. Rinse the sponge frequently. Using a different bucket to rinse the sponge keeps dirt from getting mixed into the foamy wash water.
HOW to dry the car after washing
Don’t let the car air dry, and don’t assume that a quick drive around will do an effective drying job. Both cases will leave watermarks caused by minerals in hard water. In addition, don’t use an abrasive towel or other material that can leave hairline scratches in the paint.
Use natural or synthetic chamois. If you use towels, you may need a few. It’s better to wipe up the water instead of dragging the towel over the paint.