In part 1 of our Spring Car Cleaning series, we talked in-depth about how to clean the interior of your car to get it looking like new. Today, we’ll be giving some tips to get the outside of your car looking just as good without spending money at a carwash. With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get your car looking it’s best for those drives up the coast and family vacations.
1. Hand wash your car using a carwash solution.
The best way to get all the dirt and grime off your car is with a thorough hand wash. Be sure to use a carwash solution, as other household soaps like dishwashing detergent can strip the protective wax off the surface of your car. A carwash solution will get your vehicle clean and still preserve the car’s finish.
Water can leave mineral deposits and stains behind when it evaporates, so it’s important to hand dry your car immediately after washing to wipe away any build-up or spots that may occur from evaporating water. A rubber-blade squeegee is most commonly used by the pros for quick and easy drying, but a clean cloth will also do the trick.
3. Clean the paint with paint cleaner and paint-cleaning clay.
Though the surface of your car may appear clean after the first wash, contaminants like bird droppings can saturate through the protective wax coating of your car and settle onto the paint. A good way to tell if you have contaminants causing damage to the wax coating is to run your hand over the surface of your car. If you feel any rough spots, there is damage to the wax coating that needs to be addressed.
To fix this, first use a car paint cleaner on the damaged surfaces. These liquids remove the wax and also any contaminants on the surface of your car. Paint cleaners can also help clean any small scratch marks made to the protective coating. The safest way to apply paint cleaner to your car is with a small block of paint-cleaning clay that has been lubricated with the paint cleaner.
4. Wax your car to protect the paint.
Now that the car has been cleaned, it’s smart to wax your car to protect the paint from any damage. Waxing your car should be done on a regular basis, as wax wears off after 3-4 months and leaves your vehicle susceptible to damage. There are both paste and liquid waxes you can use on your car. Both get the job done well, it’s really just a matter of personal preference. It’s smart to do two coats of wax to cover any spots you may have missed on your first coat. However, any more than two coats of wax is not necessary, as they will just be removed with buffing.
5. Clean tires with non-acid-based solution.
Though professionals often used special acid-based solutions to strip residue from tires, it’s smart to use a non-acid-based solution when cleaning your car’s tires. Using the wrong acid-based solution can damage wheels that are painted with color or clear coatings, and can also cause bare allow wheels to oxidize and pit. Using a degreaser on wheels as best, as other detergents can cause damage if they splash up onto the car’s paint.
6. Avoid ammonia-based cleaners when washing glass.
Your vehicles’ windows should always be washed last, since the exterior washing and waxing can often leave water spots on the glass. Be sure to use a glass cleaner that does not have ammonia in it, as ammonia can be very bad for any vinyl or upholstery in the interior of your car. Also, it smells bad and can leave that bad smell inside your vehicle.
Microfiber cloths work best when cleaning the glass on your vehicle. These cloths not only do a great job of getting rid of water and grime, but also any oils from your skin. Clean the interior and exterior of all windows for best results.
Washing your car may seem like a tedious process, but it’s well worth the end result of a brand-new looking vehicle. Regularly washing and waxing your vehicle every few months is a great habit to get into. This will not only make washing go by faster since your car will not have as much dirt and grime on it, but it will also help assure no long-term damage is done to the exterior of your car by contaminants that can cause lasting damage to the paint.
This is part 2 in our Spring Car Cleaning series. For tips on cleaning the interior of your car, you can read part 1 HERE.