Summer time means fun in the sun. But it can also mean chores that you don’t have in winter, like cleaning the windows and taking care of the lawn. But there’s one summertime ‘chore’ that many drivers look forward to. Washing the car by hand.
But, just like everything else about car care, there’s a right way and wrong way to wash the car. And many people use the wrong way.
To start using good car washing habits, it might help to change your thinking on what washing the car means. Instead of thinking that it’s all about cleaning the car, start thinking about it as protecting the car’s paint finish.
That shift in thinking can help preserve the paint finish and avoid the need to touch-up or even fully repaint your car sooner than later.
How to Wash Your Car & Protect the Paint Finish
Fortunately, washing your car the right way isn’t very complicated. It just means using the right products, equipment and techniques.
1. Use a Dedicated Car Wash Cleaner
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to use household cleaners, like dish detergent or windex. They are too harsh for the paint finish. Repeatedly using them to wash your car can dry out the finish and cause cracking and peeling.
Instead, use a cleaner formulated for washing cars. It is milder and has a foaming action that lifts dust and dirt off the finish so they don’t scratch the paint when you wipe them off.
2. Use Two Buckets
Wash your car with at least two buckets of water. Add your car wash cleaner to one and leave the other one with plain water. Dip your cleaning cloths in the car wash cleaner bucket before wiping the car. Rinse the cloths frequently in the clean water bucket. You should replace the water in the rinse bucket as soon as you see signs of dirt in it.
3. Wash the Car in the Shade or On a Cloudy Day
Direct sunlight will evaporate the water before you have a chance to rinse it off. That leaves streaks and spots that you’ll have to wipe off.
4. Use Microfiber Cloths
When washing, microfiber cloths, or a microfiber washing mitt, means less wiping due to the extra fibres in the cloth. Less wiping means less potential for paint damage. When drying, microfibre cloths will soak up more water and dry the car faster. Switch to a clean cloth if you notice any dirt deposits on the one you’re using.
Get rid of heavy dirt and mud deposits on the car’s body by using the ‘jet’ setting on your garden hose nozzle. A pressure washer can work, but it might actually peel off paint from cracks and rust spots if your car’s finish is older. Use a bug, tar and tree sap remover as needed. Even if your car is free of major dirt and bugs, still make sure it is thoroughly wet before you begin washing.
6. Clean the Wheels Last
Wheels can get very dirty from the dust that comes off your brake pads and discs. Leave them until last so there’s no chance of using a cloth on your wheels and then the body of your car. Even better, use a dedicated wheel brush.
If your car’s paint and finish is faded, cracking or rusted, fear not. Contact us here at Leon’s to learn more about making it look like new again.