By Anna Barton
They say ‘never judge a book by its cover’ but when you are in your ride, out on the street this quote could not be more irrelevant. Because guess what, a car is judged by its exterior.
Can you imagine what it would be like to drive a car that has more scratches than paint on its body?
Do you not secretly wish that your car gets admiring looks on the road?
If you do then here are some tips for you to keep your car shining all year long:
DON’T wear jewelry, watches, belt, necklaces or anything that can leave a scratch when you are washing the car.
DO wear clothes that are comfortable for moving around. Also prefer those that don’t have snaps or metal zippers so that when you stretch upwards along the side to clean the roof, there’s no scratch that is left behind.
DON’T procrastinate washing your car. If your car goes too long without a wash the dirt, bird droppings, tree sap and all the paint spoilers will secretly conspire to put to waste your car’s exterior. The paint will chip off from many corners and the restoration job will go beyond your capability.
DO buy all the things you need to restore your car to its original glory. These things can include polisher, pads, pad cleaner, microfiber towels, soft brushes, shampoo, follow-up wax, automotive-specific glass cleaners, paint sealant etc.
DON’T for heaven’s sake use a dish detergent. Dish detergents are extremely hard soaps and should be confined to the kitchen to get the oil and carbon off utensils.
DO try using baby shampoo for getting rid of the bird shit on your paint. Do not be under the impression that if it’s so gentle that it’s used on babies, it wouldn’t perform well against these nasty misdoings of birds.
DON’T let the baby shampoo dry on the car’s surface. Leaving it unwashed can result in faded patches of paint.
DO read the products’ usage instructions carefully. Use it in its optimum quantity and exactly the way it’s meant to be used. They often contain valuable advice regarding how to make the maximum out of these products. They also specify the amount of time for which the product should be left on the paint so as to achieve the best results.
DON’T use products that have gone unused well beyond their date of best before. Such liquids can become corrosive when their chemicals become old.
DON’T start first with the wheels. When washing anything it is always better to adopt a top down approach. If you wash the wheels first they will again get dirtied when you wash the upper body of the car. With all the dust and grime coming down again onto the wheels you will be required to wash them again, which simply means double work.
DO buy a cleaner which is best suited for the material of your wheels. Compared to anodized aluminum, chrome requires a harsher cleaner and wheels that are clear-coated may need a product that goes soft on the coating. Cleaning the dust that gets accumulated on the brakes is a job in itself and therefore you might need a long handled brush. It is also a good idea to apply Wheel Wax after you’ve cleaned and dried a wheel and polish it off only when it hazes over.
DON’T blast your car with a jet stream of water with this hope that it will knock off all the dirt and grime on the surface. It can make your job easier but you may still need to use soap.
DO use the required amount of water only. Using too little water will not let soap do its job and on the other hand using too much of water will wash away the soap before it has done its work.
DON’T rub the towels in a manner that it leaves streaks on your car’s paint. It may not be visible from a distance and only those who look closely will be able to notice it but your heart knows the truth and it will not forgive you for a long time.
DO a major portion of the drying job using towels. Towels should only be used for absorbing liquids as it isn’t made to rub and scrub a surface. When you wish to dry your car simply place the towel on the car’s surface and press down upon it. Remember not to scrub it across as it can leave streaks. Use multiple towels and repeat the process several times until the car is completely dry.
Electric Car Dryers
DON’T just drive your car immediately after washing it. The car should be properly dried and if you set off without ensuring it’s completely dry, it can leave spots on your car’s surface. Since you’ve already taken so much of effort in washing the car you shouldn’t be in a haste and mess up in the final stage. It will be just like buying a nice pair of shoes and immediately setting off for a mud run.
DO consider buying an electric car dryer if you find towel drying very cumbersome or have had bad luck with their use. It is just a larger version of the hair dryer that we use at home. The biggest advantage of using such as dryer is that it can reach places which are difficult to access using towels. It can blow out the water in small crevices inside or on the outside of the car. It’s a great tool to dry clean tricky places such as the trunk, side mirrors or hatch.
DON’T use a rugged cloth to wipe the glass clean as it can leave skid marks on the glass. Apart from spoiling the look of the car they can also be quite a distraction for the driver. Also, avoid cleaning the windshield using a kitchen product as they contain chemicals such as ammonia that can affect the glass coating.
DO clean the glass properly at least once in a month. Gone are the days when a cotton cloth was all that you had to clean the windshield or any car part for that matter. There are automotive specific glass cleaners that are widely available in the market today. They are safe and much efficient than the usual towels.
DON’T dawdle when you apply the paint sealant to the car’s surface. It has to be used within an hour of mixing.
DO mix the paint sealant with a bonding agent as it can provide added protection. The ideal proportion for mixing these two liquids is 1/4th cup of the sealant with 1 tablespoon of the bonding agent. This quantity should be sufficient to apply one coat over a car of the size of VW Golf. The quantity of this liquid could vary depending on the size of your car.
DON’T forget to cover the roof. It is a section that often goes unnoticed when maintaining the car yourself. If you find it difficult to reach a particular corner you should try different methods of cleaning it such as wrapping a towel around the tip of a bamboo barbecue skewer and use it to clean the wax or dirt from decals, door handles, emblems, between body panels and antenna mounts.
DO work one section at a time. You should not let the sealant or wax sit and dry on the surface for too long. Apply it in a circular motion and cover at least a fourth or sixth of the surface in one stroke. If the sealant gets hazy remove it in a similar circular motion and move on to the next motion. If you find this step to be out of your comfort zone you can also get your vehicle wrapped. In this article, you will find many benefits of wrapping and how it is better than painting your car time and again.
DON’T buy it unless you’re willing to spend much or believe you lack the skill required to carry out this task. Despite the high initial investment, once you’ve learned the technique and do it on a regular basis, it will cost you much lesser than giving your car to a workshop each time it gets dirty.
DO use it if you can. It can help you get rid of hazy swirls, sun damage, scratches and deep-set water spots. As is the case with any electric equipment it can give a better finesse to the job and bring out a nicer shine.
DON’T forget to add a second coat of carnauba wax approximately 12 to 24 hours after a layer of sealant has been applied on the surface. It ensures complete coverage and also increases the durability and gloss of the surface.
DO add the carnauba wax in the same way you added the paint sealant that is in circular motions and covering at least a fourth or sixth of the surface. Buff it out using a towel once it goes hazy.
That’s it! If you’ve followed these instructions, your car should be pretty shiny by now. I hope you like the result and if you have some tips and tricks of your own, please share them with us using the comment box below!
As always, cheers and have a nice day!