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Car Care - Washing
The first step to keep your car beautiful is washing - so do it right!
It has been proven over and over, and you have probably felt it yourself, that when your car looks good, you feel good driving it. Do you recall that first time you drove your car home and when you parked and walked away from it, you couldn't help but look back to take another look at that beauty.
Well, we can all take simple steps to keep our car looking that good and when the day comes that you decide to sell it, your bank account will feel the benefit of the care you took of your car. We are going to have a look at cleaning our car in the proper way and next time we will discuss how to protect its beauty through simple steps such as waxing.
The most important thing about caring for your car is using the right products. The painted surface of your vehicle is tough against wind and rain, but few people realise just how delicate the paintwork is and how little it takes to damage it. You can help prevent unnecessary damage by keeping your car clean and protected. Using the wrong products will guarantee damage and regret. For instance, some people associate cleaning with sudsy water. They automatically think washing-up liquid for suds - yeah!! Sticky stains? Get a scouring pad - no worries! If you believe that the products under your kitchen sink are what you should use on your car then please read on. It will be worth it.
The paint on your car is only slightly thicker than a cheap plastic bag. The reason it is shiny is that there are important oils on the surface which give it a "wet" look. The newer the car, the more oils there are on the surface. Using the wrong detergent will literally wash the oils off the paint and leave it with a dry, dull look which gradually becomes cracked or flaky. This is known as oxidation. The paint is being starved of what it needs to stay alive and you will find a dead layer forming on the surface and this is exactly what you don't want. But using something like washing-up liquid or washing powder will cause oxidation. What you should use is a proper car shampoo, and you can get this at any good car care shop.
What can I say about scouring pads? How about "goodbye, nice car!" A favoured product among professionals is a large, soft sponge with a big "cell" structure. Never use anything even slightly abrasive as this will scratch your car. To go with the shampoo and the sponge, you will need a bucket full of clean, fresh water. If you have one, I would highly recommend hooking up your garden hose as running water is a definite bonus.
You might think a pressure washer is unbeatable for washing a car, but this isn't true. All you need to wet or rinse the car is a good steady flow of water streaming over it. You will need the bucket of water to keep dunking the sponge. Add the car shampoo to the water as recommended by the manufacturer and swish it up. You want plenty of suds to work with. As you wash the car, dirt will be lifted off the surface by the suds and the sponge will then absorb the dirt and grit up into the cells. If you don't dunk the sponge regularly, dirt will build up on it and then scratch the paint.
Wheels and tyres are affected by different types of dirt and this will be discussed in the near future. To touch briefly on it, wheels suffer from both regular dirt and also brake dust. Brake dust is heated particles emitted by your brake pads and it has a corrosive effect on your alloys. This is a particular problem with a particular solution. Wheel cleaner! Wheel cleaner is a solvent and is quite acidic, so if you decide to purchase one, read the instructions carefully. Because of the nature of the dirt and the cleaner used on wheels, it's really important to use a different sponge down here. You may even find yourself using a slightly stiff brush on your wheels. A medium toothbrush is handy for dirt in hard to reach crevices.
Dirt cannot be avoided and the toughest type to remove is tar. You will normally see it on the bottom half of the car and on the bumpers. You will notice it more during the warmer months along with those squished bee and fly carcasses. The best way to remove these blemishes without harming the paint is a different solvent. Insect and Tar Remover. You can find one solvent to remove both, or separate solvents are available to tackle the individual problem if one happens to be a lot worse than another.
After you wash your car, you might not have realised it, but drying it off will really help. The best thing to use is a 100% cotton terry towel. A clean, slightly old bath towel is great as it won't leave that much lint on the car. But it should be fluffy, not an old coarse one. Drying your car will prevent streaks and water marks and leave it ready to take a good coat of wax. Waxing is important and will be discussed in detail in the next My Car article on www.eForecourt.com
I will finish up here with the steps to follow through.
1. Wash the Wheels first! Do this whether you have a Wheel cleaner or not and use a separate sponge or brush. Next take care of any tar or insect problems.
2. Wash the car in a shaded area, on a slight incline. This will help stop water drying off too quickly and allow it to run out of recessed areas.
3. Wash from the top down using a back and forth, wiping-off motion, rather than a circular action. It helps prevent swirl-marks this way. Rinse frequently and keep dunking that sponge to get the dirt off. Make sure there is enough water in the bucket to allow the dirt to sink to the bottom and enough suds going to lift the dirt off the car.
4. Rinse off with free flowing water. Let it sheet from the top down, taking any loose dirt. If my car was fairly dirty, I would repeat the whole wash again now.
5. Take your terry towel and fold it down into a manageable square. Start with the roof and use a back and forth wiping-off motion, turning and re-folding the towel regularly. You don't want any little bits of trapped dirt scratching the car at this stage.
Brian is an
expert in the field of Car Care. If you'd like to ask him a questions of your own,
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Content as of Wednesday 19th of June 2013 03:32:05 PM
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