Regularly washing the exterior of your car will not only make it stand out as shiny and sleek, but it will also help ensure its longevity. A clean car protects against dirt, salt and other contaminants picked up from the road every day. Anyone who lives in an area with harsh winters can attest what the crud can do to a car’s body- rust! Washing your car several times per month, or even once a week, can keep your car’s body in tip-top shape. Here are some tips for washing your car inside and out.
While a warm, bright sunny day may make your car scream, “Wash me!” contrary to popular belief that really is not the best time to wash your car. Why not, you ask? If a car is not kept cool while suds up, the water can evaporate rather quickly, leaving soap spots. So, your best bet is to wash the car on a cloudy day, or at least in the shade on a sunny day.
Before you start washing your car, you will want to gather all the necessary supplies. You’ll need access to water- usually through a garden hose or pressure washer, a bucket, soap, sponges or soft cloths, scrub brush, glass cleaner, paper towels (or newspapers) and any other cleaning materials you may wish to use. For example, polish, bug cleaner for headlines and windshields, tire cleaner or degreaser, etc. Once you have everything together, fill up the bucket with soap and water, making it really sudsy. Be sure to use a soap that is made to wash cars- shampoo and dish soap really won’t do the job.
Begin with the wheels. It is important to have clean wheels because they are in constant contact with the road, and can be prone to corrosion caused by brake dust. You are riding on your tires, and your safety depends on them. Be sure they are clean! You’ll want to use lots of soapy water and a scrub brush to get them clean. You may also need to use a degreaser. You may need to use some good ‘ole elbow grease to get down deep in the tread to get all the dirt and debris. Once clean, rinse them good. Then, you can also use polish your tires and wheel covers to give a finishing touch.
Next, start on the car itself. Start by hosing down the car to get the surface wet. Then, start with small sections at a time so you can pay close attention to detail. For example, you may want to start on the back left, and clean that area from top to bottom. Then, rinse and move toward the center of your car, working your way all the way around. For the car’s body, you’ll want to use something soft so that the paint job can be protected. This can be a range of materials from large sponges, soft chenille pads, wash mitts and even a sea sponge. During this process, you may alternate from the soft sponge to a scrub brush for the grill area to remove bugs. After you are done with all sides, give the car a final rinse.
Next, although the windshield and windows are all probably shining from the good washing, you may want to take another step to make them shine even more and use a glass polish to clean them. Paper towels work fine, but for a more polished look, try ‘recycling’ your newspapers as a window cleaning rag. They work wonderfully, and leave no lint behind like some paper towels do!
Next, you can wax/polish your car. This will rally help protect your car from the elements like dirt, road salt, pollutions and other debris. You can actually wash your car with a pre-wax treatment to prepare for this step. Apply the wax to one panel section at a time using a dry cloth. After the wax dries, you can buff it with a towel. One coat is enough to make it shine- but heck, you can add another coat or two of you want to make it really shine! The wax job can last about two months.
While the interior really doesn’t help maintain the car itself, it’s just nice to have a clean car inside out. After you are done washing and waxing, start by vacuuming the floors, mats and seats. You may need to use the attachments to be able to get in all the nooks and crannies. (Crumbs are everywhere!) If you have rubber mats, those can be washed along with the exterior and laid out to dry. Replace them after the car is cleaned inside. Next, wipe down all the interior surfaces with a damp cloth. Then, just like you did the outside windows, do the same for the inside. Some people like to use a polish to make the dashboard shine. Just don’t polish the steering wheel! It’ll make it slippery.
Michael Walker is a freelance author providing tips and hints on engine related topics such as JDM engines , used Honda engines and used Nissan engines . His articles are a valuable source of information for the auto enthusiast.