How to Properly Wash Your Vehicle

by SpeedLux
how to wash car

How frequently it is advisable for you to wash your car? The right answer is, as regularly as you want, but normally once a week is enough. Dust and pollutants should be taken off before they have a chance to damage or forever stick to your car’s paint. Regular washing also keeps the car finish as new. Read up more about car maintenance on TorqueCars which is an independent car styling guide and has car forums where you can discuss all sorts of car-related issues.

However, as easy as car washing sounds, there are a few things to keep in mind so to avoid any accidental scratch or harm to the finish. Below, we give you some basic yet important car washing tips.

Assess the Condition of Your Car

Figuring out the state of your car will direct you towards the cleaning strategy of your car. A brand new vehicle or one with a good layer of wax might just need a wash and wax to keep it up. On the contrary, a car with a mediocre to the overlooked exterior will need proper cleaning and polish.

Read the label

Always read the label first before using any kind of car cleaner. The application of a soap, wax, or detailer may vary among different brands and cars. For instance, if you use a chrome wheel cleaner on an aluminum wheel, the acidic nature of the cleaner will completely destroy it. Likewise, buy good quality microfiber fabrics and keep individual stacks of clothes used on wheels, paint, and windows. Cleanse your towels and cleaning gloves after each use.

Washing your Vehicle

Cleaning will rub off contaminants like grime, dust, and mud from the outer surface of your car. Instead of using a liquid detergent or a dish cleaner, you should always use a car washing soap. Detergents or cleaners can affect the paint of your car and peel off wax. First, wash out your car to get rid of larger dirt pieces which may produce scratches while cleaning and then, use neat gloves and drying clothes.  

Prepare the Surface

Once done with washing, you will see swirls, scratches, oxidized paint, and feel overspray or tree sap which rinsing did not take off. To be sure, run your hand over a washed car and if you feel little bumps, then you need to move a step ahead with cleaning your vehicle.

Clay bar is effective in removing bonded contaminants. It will take off everything from your car’s surface including wax and will reestablish evenness to the paint. Start molding clay bar into a flat wafer and make use of a detailer for a lubricant. Run it over the car’s surface by holding it in the palm of your hand.

Polishing for Extra Gloss

This task is at your discretion and is similar to applying a cream on your skin. You can apply polish using a hand or dual-action polisher. For the maximum gloss, you can use the conditioning oils that also add depth to color, particularly on dark-colored cars.

Wax to Protect

Wax is to your car what a sunscreen is to your body. In addition to adding a layer to your car to protect it from UV rays, it also prevents fading and bars anything that may fall on the paint. Wax comes in a carnauba or polymer form and accounts for securing the high gloss finish of your car. Both these types have the same capability; however, a polymer wax is costlier yet convenient to apply. The decision between picking carnauba or polymer wax is like choosing between synthetic and regular motor oil.  

Wash the Windows

Avoid using Windex or any other everyday glass cleaner as they consist of ammonia which can cause damage to your car’s window tint. It is suggested to use a cleaner especially intended for the auto window to get the best results. Rub it off twice to make sure the cleaner is completely removed.

Wash the Wheels

The essential wheel cleaning strategy is to apply the substance that has been particularly produced for your wheel type. In case you are not sure what wheel type does your car have, pick the least powerful variant having an acid-free balanced pH. Such a wheel can be applied to all kind of wheels.  

Maintain a Shine and Protection

Once you have dealt with the diligent work of rinsing, cleaning, and preserving your vehicle, you will have to take measures to keep up its appearance. Make sure your car trunk has a spray detailer and neat microfiber cloth for immediately clearing off dust, bird droppings, and overspray.

If your car looks clean and you find all of the above steps time-consuming, your best bet will be using a one-step cleaner wax. This one product will offer cleaning, shine, and protection of your vehicle. Do not forget to wash your car before performing this step.


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SpeedLux is a high-authority automotive blog providing the latest automotive news and reviews. SpeedLux covers everything related to cars, bikes, and motorcycles, from news and reviews, to troubleshooting guides, tips and tricks, and more. SpeedLux was born in 2009 and we have over 20,000 articles published on our blog. We thank all our readers, as well as our partners, without whom we could not have reached this level.


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