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Car Cleaning Tips

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Car Care Council Article used by permission © Car Care Council

Washing and Waxing Tips


A Clean Car Is Cool

Cleaning a car: a piece of cake, right? Certainly, if you follow the procedures suggested by the Car Care Council. While it's the most basic procedure in car care, it does deserve some thought. The first step in cleaning the car is to wash it. Give it a good rinsing from top to bottom, including the wheels and inside the fenders. Always clean the tires and wheels before washing the body, and don't use the same mitt for both. This way you'll avoid contaminating the vehicle's paint with debris from the wheels and tires.

Use a good tire cleaner with a stiff brush, to improve your tires' appearance even if you don't have white sidewalls or white letter tires.

Next, clean the wheels with a wheel cleaner that removes the brake dust, which often blackens the front wheels. Application of these cleaners vary, so be sure and follow the directions on the container.

Now it's time to wash the body. Use a product sold specifically for automobiles. (Household cleaners can strip the wax from the paint and damage the finish.) Starting at the top, wash one section at a time, thoroughly rinsing away the soap. Work your way down toward the front, sides, and rear of the vehicle. Clean the rear last since it usually has the largest accumulation of dirt and grime, which can contaminate the wash mitt. Wash the inside door jams about once a month.

To rinse, remove the spray nozzle from the hose. Starting at the top, let the water cascade down the surfaces of the vehicle.

Then, to avoid water spotting, dry with a chamois or other product made for this purpose.

Now is an excellent time for waxing, which not only protects the finish but also makes subsequent washing easier. Before proceeding, look for foreign particles on the paint. Use a car cleaner, available at auto supply stores, to remove contaminants imbedded in the paint.

Once the surface is clean, apply the wax, following the manufacturer's instructions for application of the product. Often they recommend not using the product in direct sunlight..

Keeping your vehicle clean, while it doesn't require a lot of effort, says the Council, it does foster a feeling of pride and accomplishment.

Proper Washing And Waxing Add Value To Vehicle

More than one-third of car owners use damaging non-automotive products when washing their cars-products that could contain harmful detergents, abrasives and additives. And almost half of motorists don't ever wax their vehicles.

"Waxing at least twice a year is recommended for maximum protection, yet surveys show that 48 percent of motorists don't wax their vehicles at all," said Jeffrey Webb, director of retail marketing at Turtle Wax, Inc. "That's leaving money on the table at trade-in time, as a clean, well-maintained car can be worth up to 50 percent more than one in 'fair' condition, according to the Kelley Blue Book."

Motorists should avoid dish detergent, which contains harsh chemicals that, intended to cut through grease, will strip away the wax finish on your car. Some are hard to rinse off and leave streaks. For best results, a formulated automotive wash is recommended, one that gently lifts the dirt and grime while protecting the finish.

Washing an automobile on a regular basis protects it from the natural elements that harm the finish. The Car Care Council recommends the following dos and don'ts when it comes to a do-it-yourself car wash:

1. Don't wash cars in direct sunlight. Do wash cars in shade or in cooler temperatures in the early morning or late afternoon.
2. Don't use dish detergent. Do use a formulated car wash.
3. Do fill your bucket with warm water.
4. Do use a soft terrycloth towel or washing mitt.
5. Do spray the car often with water.
6. Don't scrub the car all at once. Do complete one section at a time, rinsing repeatedly to prevent the soap from drying on the paint.
7. Do use soft terrycloth towels or scratch-free fabric to dry the vehicle.
8. Don't neglect waxing the vehicle. Do prep the car for waxing using cleaner/polish to remove contaminants.

"The myth of not having to wax your car because you have a clear-coat finish is just that, a myth," Webb said. "Clear-coat finish is only as thick as a piece of paper and can become damaged from the effects of sunlight, UV radiation, acid rain, salt, dirt and air pollution."

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