February 28, 2018
We all like to have our cars looking like brand new again, but we don’t particularly like to do the cleaning part. However, when we do want to clean the car, we may not know how to proceed and could damage the car’s body instead.
So let’s get hold of the following tips and keep our car looking shiny and new.
The age of your car will guide you regarding what approach should be followed. A car washed infrequently may need to be cleaned as well as polished, whereas a car with good paintwork may only require a wash and wax.
Make sure you read the label of the product you are holding in your hand. For example, if you don’t, a chrome cleaner, which is meant for a chrome wheel, can destroy an aluminium wheel, because of its great acidity.
Use separate cloths for the car body, the wheels and windows. A cloth used for cleaning the wheels must not be used on the body, as black deposits from the brake pads could affect the body’s paintwork. Each cloth should be thoroughly washed and dried after use.
If possible use a hose to wash off old bird droppings and other deposits on the car’s surface. If such deposits remain, don’t try and remove them yet with a soft cloth, because by doing this you might end up scratching the paintwork. Spraying the car allows all deposits to soften, making it easier to wipe them off later. Any excess dust or mud will also be removed using a strong water spray.
Once the car has been hosed down, use a soft cloth or a leather ‘shammy’ to wipe and loosen any dirt deposited on the car. Dust has little chance to be abrasive and affect the paint work when water is used while wiping. Make sure that the cloth is a microfiber cloth or that your leather ‘shammy’ is of high quality because if these are not top quality then the dust can get trapped between them and the car and this also can damage your cars paintwork.
Car soaps are specially designed not to affect the paint work. Avoid using any kitchen detergent which could damage a car’s paint finish in the long run.
Waxing is important for your car’s paintwork, it forms a protective layer over the paint. It is UV resistant, and also protects the paint from things like bird droppings or sap from trees. The high gloss appearance of the paintwork is maintained, preventing the paint to become dull with time. It’s easier to have an all-in-one cleaning, polishing and protecting detergent.
After having cleaned your car thoroughly, it is important to maintain the high gloss finish. By having an appropriate spray bottle and cloth in the boot of your car, you will be able to deal immediately with any bird droppings, and other types of deposits. Quick remedial action to remove such deposits is much easier, compared to waiting several weeks, when the sun and weather have baked these deposits into the paintwork.
Similarly to special car products used for cleaning, washing and waxing the paintwork, there are car products used for cleaning windows. Using any other products may damage the glass tint. Most motorists don’t realize that grime also collects on the thin top edge of a window, which should be wiped once the window has been rolled down.
What’s the point of cleaning your windscreen, only to get it fouled up by dirty wipers? Such wipers cause streaks while it is raining, thus impairing vision. The best is to wipe them with ordinary alcohol from time to time.
Before purchasing a product for cleaning or polishing wheel rims, first establish what they are made of – chrome, or aluminium? Different products are required for each metal, and using the wrong one could seriously damage the metal. If you have difficulty deciding what to use, use a non-acidic cleaning agent that is mild on any metal. Actually, washing powder works really well. Make a paste of the powder, and apply it thoroughly to the wheel rims. After rinsing off, the wheel rims look as new.
Especially in older cars, headlights can have a cloudy, milky look. Use a toothbrush with toothpaste, which acts as a mild abrasive agent. After rubbing the headlights for a while, and washing off the toothpaste, the cloudiness will have disappeared.
Using a bucket and water is fine for cleaning your car, as long as you first gently dust off the paintwork. Whereas before you would hose the soap suds away, you can still achieve the same results with a dry cloth. A car that has been waxed does not need a wash that often. Instead of those in-between washes, why not dust off your car instead.
The saying goes - ‘What you put in is what you get out’. So a shiny, sparkling car is the culmination of regular effort.
June 15, 2020