Wash. Clean. Polish. Protect.
In order to protect your vehicle’s finish, and wash your car like a pro, you will need to invest some time and effort on a regular basis. There are many car waxes and polishes available on the market. No matter what the manufacturers claim about their products and long lasting results, you will have to re-apply any product every few months to maintain a glossy finish. To maintain the shine on your vehicle, follow our tips listed below.
One of the most important things you can do to maintain the exteriors of your car is to rinse and wash the vehicle regularly. First never wash in direct sunlight. Pick a shady spot. Second, it’s important to choose tools that are gentle on the paint, yet still effective at removing the dirt. We prefer a Micro-chenille wash mitt. Microfiber’s combination of polyester and polyamide make it capable of scrubbing the paint without scratching or swirling. It traps dirt and grit within the fibers rather than leaving them on the surface of your vehicle.
Wash your car like a pro by having two buckets; one bucket with your choice of car shampoo and one to rinse your wash mitt. Be sure to rinse the mitt frequently to release loose dirt between submerging the mitt in the soap bucket.
Always use a car-washing soap and not a liquid detergent or dish cleaner, which can damage the paint and strip away wax. Rinse your car first to remove larger pieces of dirt that can scratch your car when washing
Start at the Ground Level. Typically, you work from the top down washing the vehicle body. To avoid getting the tire and wheel cleaner and road grime on your clean vehicle body start with the tires and wheels. Start with the wheels then move on to the body, working top to bottom.
An important wheel-cleaning tip is to use the product that has been specifically formulated for your type of wheel. For example, don’t use a chrome cleaner on aluminum. If you don’t know what type of wheels you have, then go with the least powerful cleaner, which is an acid-free pH-balanced aluminum wheel cleaner. These can be used on all types of wheels.
Stay away from Windex and other household glass cleaners, as they contain ammonia which can damage a car’s window tint. Use an auto window cleaner for best results and wipe down twice to ensure the cleaner is removed.
Never skip drying! Drying your vehicle after washing is necessary to prevent water spots. Especially here in the Savannah area. Water spots are caused by mineral deposits that etch the outline of a drop of water into your vehicle’s paint. All water has minerals, whether it’s from the hose or the sky. As the water evaporates, the minerals remain on the surface and they will eventually, invariably create water spots.
Vehicle paint often becomes contaminated with things such as tree sap, leaf stains, bird droppings, bugs and other environmental detritus that bond to the surface of your vehicle’s clear coat. After a time these cannot merely be washed away. For instance, in autumn, the falling leaves of the crepe myrtle trees can stain your finish, and eventually damage your vehicle’s finish. Using a clay bar to pull these contaminants out is a simple and effective form of maintenance that anyone can do at home. Here is a great resource on using a clay bar.
Regular washing, combined with dirt and dust can create a network of spider-web-like swirls in your clear coat. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to remove swirls with a good polishing, using the right polish. There are cleaner-polishes out there that can do the job a clay bar does if the cleaning your vehicle needs is moderate. The cleaning process removes wax and the polish will restore the shine. You can polish your vehicle by hand, but with the amount of effort required will may want to look into an electric orbital polisher. Polishing will fill in all the swirls and create smooth flawless finish.
A freshly polished vehicle needs a protective layer of wax. Using a carnauba wax will give you a deeper, wet-look shine, but a polymer-based sealant will protect the paint significantly longer, which is important living in a region with a blistering hot sun. Either way, adding that barrier between your paint and the outside world is key to keeping falling leaves, road grime and UV rays from causing further damage. Regularly waxing your vehicle makes the removal of everyday dirt and grime much easier. However, your vehicle eventually needs to have the old wax cleaned off to be reapplied so it is a good idea to think ahead and block yourself out the time needed for this process a couple times a year.
Maintaining a Shine and Protection
After you’ve done the hard work of washing, cleaning, and protecting your car, you can take steps to maintain its appearance. Keep a spray detailer and clean microfiber cloth in your trunk, which can come in handy for quickly removing dust, overspray, pollen and bird droppings.
Read the Label
Before using any type of car-cleaning chemical, it is important to read the label. The application for soap, wax, or detailer can vary from brand to brand and vehicle to vehicle. For example, using a chrome wheel cleaner—which is extremely acidic—on an aluminum wheel can ruin it. Also invest in premium microfiber clothes and keep separate piles for those used on your paint, wheels, and windows. Wash your towels and cleaning mitts after every use.