Washing your car the wrong way may be doing more harm than good to the vehicle exterior. It is not enough to put detergent in water and start washing. DO it the right way. Find out the best way to wash your car and still keep it intact all year long.
- Don’t wait until your car is visibly dirty.
Bugs, bird droppings, acid rain and pollutants can dull your car’s finish and, in extreme cases, strip the paint. Don’t think of the weekly car wash advice as all or nothing. Monthly washes are likely sufficient to maintain your car’s appearance. The exception is in areas where there is acid rain. Always rinse your car after acid rain or the paint could be permanently scarred.
- Don’t wash a hot car.
High temperature can make cleaning more difficult and causes deposits that eventually damage paint. Park your car in the shade or wait until the heat of the day passes before getting started.
- Do invest in the proper supplies.
A cleaning product created specifically for cars, a large sponge or wash mitt and a hose with running water are must-have items for car washing. Cleaners designated for cars are essential. They are gentle enough for paint, though you may need a specialty product such as tar remover, for trouble spots; and a clean sponge or wash mitt is important to help avoid scratches. Most importantly, you need water. If you don’t have access to a hose with running water, Ed Kriston, a long-time industry expert of Westminster, Maryland, recommends against washing the car yourself. If you rely on water in a bucket for rinsing, you may work grit into the surface and scratch the paint. Working with only a bucket of water also makes it impossible to properly rinse grit from the car.
- Do wash the car in sections.
Work on one area at a time: washing, rinsing and drying. But don’t move the sponge or mitt in circles; circular motions can create swirl marks. Instead, move the sponge in straight lines.
- Do wax your car twice a year.
Although some people believe waxing damages a car’s finish, Kriston disagrees. He believes it preserves the finish and proves to be a beneficial maintenance effort, particularly if you own your vehicle and want to sell it or trade it in someday. The best times to wax your car include in the fall, before the first snow falls and in the spring before hot weather moves in.