Owning a car means more than just being able to comfortably travel from A to B. Every car requires servicing and maintenance, including cleaning or washing, and more specifically: washing the car on the inside as well as on the outside. The car exterior can be cleaned both manually and in the car wash. Find tips and tricks for proper washing your car.
Manual car wash versus automatic car wash
|We choose not to further explore the endless discussion whether the car wash or manual cleaning is the better option. Fact is, that in both procedures mistakes are made, leading to paintwork damage. Furthermore, it has to be taken into account that manual cleaning is not allowed everywhere.
Washing the car manually
|The right cleaning tools and products are essential. The car shampoo must be a hydrating cleaner. Several “household tricks” such as oven cleaner instead of wheel rim cleaner are advised against. Some oven cleaners contain substances reacting chemically with aluminium and damaging it permanently. For cleaning you need the following:
– Foam sponge
– Microfiber cloth
– Hydrating car shampoo
– Wheel rim cleaner
– Car polish
You can of course wash your car with a sponge and bucket, though a high-pressure cleaner is better or at least a water hose. The nozzle of the high-pressure cleaner should be kept at a distance recommended by the car manufacturer. Otherwise, parts of the paint could peel off.
Washing from top to bottom
|The car must be always cleaned from top to bottom. First, the car should be rinsed. The worst dirt such as sand must be washed from the car as efficiently as possible. Grains of sand work like sanding paper, scratching the paintwork. Therefore after the first rinse, the sponge should be moved over the paintwork simultaneously with the water jet in the second round. It follows, that washing the car with just a bucket is problematic. The sponge is applied with way too little water. Furthermore, dirt particles are constantly taken from the bucket.
Soaking dirt on paintwork and wheel rims
|Working from top to bottom applies to the high-pressure cleaner and the hose as well – initially without sponge. The area between bumpers and the plating on the rear requires thorough spraying with the high-pressure cleaner or water hose in the apertures. The wheel rims as well must be pre-rinsed in this manner. By doing so, a lot of road dirt and brake dust is washed away. Now two more things follow: shampooing the car and allowing it to soak in. Meanwhile spray the wheel rims with wheel rim cleaner and let it soak in as well.
Washing the car with shampoo and rinsing
|After the soaking in, the car shampoo is rubbed in with circular movements and soft pressure. Then it is rinsed with running water and the sponge from top to bottom. If working with a bucket, never wait too long with dipping the sponge into fresh water. The lower you get on the car, the more dirt and sand is found. Ultimately the car is thoroughly rinsed with clear water. Now it can be finished with a wash-leather.
Cleaning crevices & door frames
|Now, the areas around the door frames and the internal parts of the door are cleaned, which are covered when the door is closed. Do not forget the edges of the boot. Work carefully in this area, as a lot of sand and dirt collects here.
Protecting the paintwork by sealing or waxing
|As soon as the paintwork has dried, it is recommended to seal it. Several products are available, from natural wax to chemical nano-sealant. Depending on the chosen product, the protection lasts a couple of weeks to six months. We cannot extensively describe car wax and sealant here, as it is a broad area. There is a wide variety of waxes and sealants, differing in price as well as in performance.
Window cleaning – streak-free and crystal clear
|Now, the windows are cleaned. Many products, such as window wash-leathers leave streaks on the window. All you need is glass cleaner and plenty of newspapers. Spray every window thoroughly with glass cleaner. Crumple a newspaper and wipe the cleaner on the window in circular movements. The newspaper spreads the cleaner, allowing it to soak in and simultaneously absorbing it. If the newspaper is soaked or starts to fall apart, take a new paper. A new paper is especially recommended when rubbing the glass dry. You will see that the glass surface will become clean without streaks. It must be done with newspaper. Any other paper is unsuitable.
At automatic car wash
|At automatic car wash a car must be pre-rinsed as well. Regardless of automatic car wash construction, sand and other particles would otherwise permanently damage the paintwork. There is a wide variety of washing systems. According to tests by the Automobile Association, car washing systems with foam are the best. Foam is gentle to the bodywork surface. Most critically observed are the rollers brushes with plastic strings. These are slung with force onto the surface, lashing the paintwork.
Prior to entering the automatic car wash, antennas have to be collapsed or removed. Put the windshield wipers straight up, in direction following the length axis of the car.
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Cleaning and washing the car interior
|After the exterior cleaning, the interior follows. Use leather care products on leather upholstery. From leather it is often said that “leather lives”. It must therefore be allowed to breathe and remain smooth. This implies treating it with leather grease. Plastic surfaces should only be treated with corresponding plastic cleaners from renowned manufacturers. Only these can guarantee the required protection. What does an obscure manufacturer care if the dashboard starts developing cracks over the years?
What to consider when washing the car
The first wash after the winter must be particularly thorough. We also recommend cleaning the base plate in order to remove road salt residue.
On occasion of the last cleaning before the winter, the sealing rubbers should be treated with talcum powder. This last wash should not happen when it is already below zero at night. The door locks could freeze. Generally, a car is never washed under the burning sun or either in the wind.
In the sun, the water dries up too fast; the wind might cause sand and particles to cling on the paintwork.
If you want to do an engine cleaning, you need to be aware that laws and regulations are rather strict on this. For an engine rinse, the car should be brought to a suitable garage.
Foto: Action Sports Photography, Petukhov Anton, Guryanov Andrey, g-stockstudio, WitthayaP, Petrenko Andriy, Polifoto, Guryanov Andrey, SpeedKingz, Stocked House Studio, Aliaksei Smalenski, Malinka1 / shutterstock.com