Knowing how to wash a car might not seem like rocket science, but learning the correct way to do things will definitely save you time, energy and the need/expense of having to go to a car wash every week . Sure, you could go to a car wash, but shelling out Rands every week to have someone else wash your car isn’t exactly budget friendly.
And it is important to wash a car regularly. Vehicle cleaning should be a solid part of your car maintenance schedule. Cleaning body work will help avoid rust, and give you a chance to take a good look at your vehicle to identify any problem areas (such as scratches, bald tyres and more). And staying on top of your vehicle maintenance schedule will save you money in the long run, not least on your car insurance premiums. There are around 8.75 million cars on South Africa’s roads, which means there’s a lot of washing going on! But learn how to wash a car like a pro, and you’ll be done in no time!
When You Wash a Car, Start Simple!
The first step when you wash a car is simple. Get a bucket, a soft sponge, some car wash soap and get to washing. Wash from the roof down (which will prevent dirt dripping onto already clean areas), and don’t wring the sponge out over the bucket (you’ll just put dirt into your clean water). When you’ve washed the whole car, spray it down with clean water from the hose to get rid of the soap. If you don’t have a hose, you can empty clean water from buckets over your vehicle. That’s the easy part out of the way, now you need to get more detailed…
While You’re Waiting on your ‘Car Wash’…
Now you need to wait for your car to dry off a little, so while you’re waiting, it’s time to take on the tyres. Experts recommend that if you’re cleaning at home you should buy a non-acidic tyre cleaner. Acidic cleaners are effective, but can lead to damage to tyres and hub caps if not used properly. Grab a cloth, pour a little cleaner on and go to town. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies of the tires and the hub caps, and rinse them down with a little clean water when you’re done. It is important NOT to put wax or oil on your tyres as this can be dangerous especially if you intend to drive soon after washing your car (for more tips on tyre safety, read our great tips on keeping your tyres safe)
That Pro Car Wash Look
You could stop now, your car is clean, but if you do, you won’t be washing like a pro, and you’ll miss out on the great shiny car wash look. So grab a chamois cloth and dry your vehicle properly to prevent water stains. Once you’ve done this, you’re going to need to run your hand softly over the body work. You’re looking for places where the paint feels rough (which can result from the acids in bird poop, or tons of other things). Find somewhere? You’ll need a piece of professional car wash equipment to get rid of that rough spot… Buy a block of special paint cleaning clay, and pour a little liquid cleaner wax on it. Gently buff the rough spot to smooth it out (don’t worry, you’re taking wax off the car, not paint itself). Word of warning: if you drop that clay block you’ll need to go buy another one, since small cracks will develop that can damage your car…
It’s time for the serious hard work now: waxing. You don’t need to wax every time you wash a car. However, you should wax at least once each season, and if you used the above method for smoothing rough spots then you’ll definitely need to wax at least that panel of your vehicle. Waxing is simple, but hard work. Liquid wax is preferable, since it’s easier to put on. Grab a cloth (you can buy special waxing cloths that are ideal), put a little wax on it, and start applying it in small circles until it becomes transparent. Pros usually apply two coats of wax.
Glass should be one of the last things that you clean, since it easily picks up dirt from other stages in the process when you wash a car. You’ll need a non-ammonia based glass cleaner. Unfortunately, most home window cleaners have ammonia in them, so you might need to head down to the car store to get something appropriate. Ammonia can damage rubber seals as well as the instrument panel of your vehicle. Clean the windows using a lint-free cloth (though some experts recommend using newspaper).
The windshield of your car is obviously pretty important, you need to see well when you’re driving… For this reason pros generally don’t use any washing products on windshields at all. Just use a damp sponge to remove dirt, and a chamois cloth to dry. You may, however, choose to apply a rain-deterring product on your windshield, since this will help water bead and run off the glass faster. The process for doing this is pretty much the same as waxing, though you’ll need to check the directions on the specific product that you buy.
When to Wash a Car
When and where to wash your car is actually more important than you’d think. You want a nice, sunny day, of course, but not too hot. If it’s too hot then water will dry to quickly leaving you with water marks, and wax won’t apply properly. You’ll need a shady place too, avoid washing in direct sunlight. During hot summer months it’s best to wash a car inside a garage if possible, or to wait until evening when temperatures cool and there’s no direct sun.
Who Wants to Wash a Car?!
Our final tip is to get someone else to do the work! Preferably someone good looking! Okay, a pro car wash might not be financially possible every week, but it can be worth getting your car washed professionally once every three months or so. The pro will handle the waxing and paint smoothing (probably in far less time than you can do it, since they’ll have special car wash equipment such as polishers and waxers). Once that’s done, you just need to do a simple wash once a week or so until the next time you get your vehicle pro cleaned. Washing a car professionally can take a solid day to do properly, so it’s worth considering letting someone else do it.
And that’s all you need to know to wash a car like a pro! Have fun!
Main subject: car wash
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