Caring for your tools is extremely important – and what tool do we use more than our vehicles? We rely on them almost daily, and would be greatly inconvenienced without them. In this post we are going to go over the basics of washing and waxing your car. This is just one small way you can help make sure that your vehicle will be there when you need it.
There are some very simple rules to follow for the perfect wash, so let’s jump into them:
- Use good quality car shampoo. Try to find a good quality shampoo from Mother’s or Mequiar’s. Getting a proper shampoo will help easily lift dirt off your paint and leave a scratch free finish. If you use the wrong soap, then you will get scratches from rubbing the dirt off your car.
- Use a hose with a fireman nozzle. Some people think that a powerwasher will get your car very clean. However, those people are wrong. The best way to wash your car is with a normal hose and a fireman nozzle. The fireman nozzle allows you to use a gentle stream to rinse your car down.
- Use a nice sponge or mitt. You will want to find a nice microfiber mit or a natural sponge. These will be sure to apply plenty of shampoo, remove dirt, and not scratch your car. After each washing be sure to clean it to prevent future damage.
- Washes portions at a time. Do not bite off more than you can chew. Make sure that you are not trying to wet down and soap the whole car at once. You will never be able to get the whole car before the shampoo starts to dry dirt back to your car. Pick small sections to complete and work from the top down. Try to only wash a 3’x3′ area at a time.
- Get the right products. From time to time you will run into some hard obstacles. Whether it is a myriad of bugs on the front bumper, or a side covered in tar, the right tool will make your life easier. Make sure that you have some bug and tar remover on hand as well as a bug sponge. These tools alone will make washign your car a much more enjoyable experience.
- Don’t wash in circles. When you are washing (and waxing) your car, be sure not to use circular movements. Instead, go back and forth in a line. This will make it easier to ensure complete washing and also reduce swirls in your paint’s finish.
- Wash your tires, rims, and wheelwells. These are parts of the car that deserver cleaning just as much as the rest of the car. These should be washed after you have washed the rest of the car. Start with the wheels and tires. Make sure to inspect your tires for uneven wear. Then wash your wheelwells. This will not only add to the asthetic of your car, but it will also allow you to examine parts of your car you don’t typically look at.
- Be sure to dry it off. As water dries it evaporates and leaves behing any contaminant it might have been carrying around. You worked hard to get those contaminents off your car, so now finish the job by drying it with a good quality chamois, microfiber towel or cotton towel. This will finish washing and put you in a great place for protecting your car.
Protecting (waxing, sealing, and more)
After you have cleaned your vehicle, it is time to protect the shine and cleanliness you worked so hard for. So here are some tips on making sure that your hard work lasts and that will help the job be easier next time.
- Quality takes time. In order to properly wax your car be prepared to work hard for an hour. At this point in the process you have spent great time in cleaning your car and making it look great, you don’t want to cut corners at this point – this stage will either further enhance the beauty and protection or destroy it.
- Get the right materials. You will find thousands of different types of waxes and finishes if you walk into the car store, so let’s decide on what is best for most people’s purposes. Any carnuba wax will do a great job of protecting your car and adding vital oils to your vehicle’s paint. There are some synthetics that will work as well or better, but you will want to make sure that you are well educated before jumping into that arena. This is a great article on high quality waxes and finishes: Klasse Products.
- Work on a small area. When you are waxing, it is important to make sure that you are following the directions of the wax. Many waxes suggest removal when it hazes, not when it dries. To make sure you are getting the best results, work in small areas when you can pay closer attention. Segment the vehicle and work one segment at a time.
- More is not always better. When you are waxing, more is less. You want to use small amounts of wax at time, and if necessary apply a second this coat. This is always more advaantageous and economical than one thick coat.
- No Circles. Using a circular motion to wax your car may help you with your karate, but it won’t make your car look good. Use linear motions to apply and remove wax from your car. This will prevent swirls in your paint and also help you get better coverage.
- Don’t wax the trim. Those little trim pieces on your car look great and add characted. However, if you get wax on them there is a good chance that you won’t be able to get it off and you will be in for a piece of ugly trim. To prevent this, be careful; if needed, tape the trim off so that you will only get wax on the tape. If you do have wax on your trim you can get it off with a quality wax remover.
- Polish and Protect. When it comes to your wheels you might want to do a little research. There are many different types of rims, finished, and ways to care for your wheels. If you have painted rims then you will just want to wax them, however if they are polished aluminum or chrome you will want to polish them and then protect them. Be sure to research your wheels and find the best way to care for them. The same goes for grilles and other ornate trim. Care for them the wrong way could make them look awful and cost a lot to get them back into shape.
- Dressings for your Rubber. What should you do with your tires? Make shiny or just black? Those are all questions that you will need to experiment with and find what looks best on your car. Don’t be afraid to try all sorts of different products to find the look you like best. When you are applying it, be sure to use a rag to prevent spraying on your car’s body or freshly polished rims.