You might have given up hope when it comes to keeping your car’s exterior appearance even vaguely respectable this winter. Don’t. Since the end of last summer, your car will have been under a persistent attack from rain water, road dirt, debris and worst of all, salt. You might ignore it and hope it’ll go away or be washed off by rain. It won’t. It’ll still be there, continually gnawing away at your car’s paint work, trying to worm its way under the protective sealant and get its teeth into the metal.
Why clean your car?
A bit of time spent now will earn you money in years to come. It’s a fact that cars which have been looked after are worth more money when they’re sold. And of course, it’s just as important to keep the interior of your car spic and span.
Car washing – blast off!
The first step is to rinse off the dirt from your car. Start by washing from top to bottom, ideally using a jet wash or hose. Jet washes are best because they’ll blast the dirt off meaning you won’t be rubbing grit into the paintwork when it comes to the washing stage. Make sure you spray under the wheel arches too. Salt loves lurking there in the dirt that the tyres flick up.
Shampoo all set?
Don’t be tempted to use washing up liquid. Instead use a quality car shampoo. You’ll also need a pair of buckets. Fill one bucket with warm soapy suds, the other with clean water. The second bucket is for rinsing. This is so you’re not rubbing the grit you’ve washing off back into the car’s paintwork, causing swirls.
Using a microfibre mitt pays dividends here as it traps the dirt in the pile of the mitt. Start at the top and work your way down. Leave the lowest parts of the car which are the dirtiest until last. If you can, use a different mitt to clean these with.
Pay wheel attention
There are special wheel cleaning products out there. They’re designed to remove brake dust which can be corrosive and cause long-term harm to alloy wheels. But in order to remove brake dust it has to be pretty strong so make sure you follow the instructions carefully.
Rinse it off
It’s now time for the rinse. You can use the jet wash or a hosepipe for this; the most important thing is that you use clean water. And as at the beginning, start from the top and work down.
It might sound like it’s unnecessary to dry a car. But it if you don’t bother, the chemical impurities in the water will be left behind on the paintwork. The result? You won’t get the shine that all your hard work deserves. Use a good quality leather chamois or a special synthetic drying towel for this part of the process. And while you’re doing it, think about how you’re toning your arm muscles and getting a good aerobic workout in the process!