An important part of owning (or leasing) a vehicle is keeping the outside of it clean and well-maintained. By washing your car on a regular basis, you can extend the life of its exterior and protect your investment when it comes time to sell or trade it in. Let’s take a look at some helpful do’s and don’ts to make sure you’re managing the exterior upkeep of your car properly.
Don’t wait too long. If you’ve got a layer of gunk on your car that’s an inch thick, chances are you aren’t doing a good enough job keeping it up. Over time, this buildup can actually cause scratches to the paint and require major repair including sanding and repainting. To avoid this, aim for at least a quick wash once a week.
Do use the right products. Household cleaners, such as dishwashing detergent and glass cleaner, are not designed for use on the outside of a vehicle. In fact, using these types of products on your car could end up stripping the layer of protective wax, exposing your vehicle’s exterior to damage. Stick with products that were specifically designed to be used on vehicles.
Do rinse your vehicle thoroughly before washing. This will help to remove much of the debris – like dirt, bird droppings and bugs – that can scratch the paint if left on.
Do use a soft sponge or mitt made of lamb’s wool to apply soap and wash your vehicle.
Don’t move the sponge in a circular motion. This can actually cause noticeable swirl marks on your vehicle. Instead, move the sponge or mitt from side to side, lengthwise across the hood and around the sides.
Don’t use the same sponge to clean the tires. Your tires and wheel wells are likely coated with much more debris from road surfaces, like sand or brake dust. If that debris gets on the sponge or mitt you’re using, it can be transferred to more delicate areas of the car’s exterior and inadvertently cause damage.
Do use a special, heavy duty product to clean near the tires. The buildup here may be caked on quite heavily. Save yourself the time and hassle of having to scrub extra hard by using a product that is specifically designed to handle heavy-duty vehicle cleaning.
Don’t reuse a sponge that’s been dropped on the ground before rinsing it off. The small amount of dirt and debris it picks up can scratch your car.
Don’t wash your car when the exterior is particularly hot. This can include the moments following a drive, or after some time sitting out in the sun. The hot surface can make it difficult to wash, since it may dry soapy water quickly – before you have the chance to rinse.
Do use a chamois or towel made of soft terrycloth to dry your vehicle. Use a gentle, blotting motion rather than going back and forth. Washing your vehicle regularly is an important part of helping to keep it looking nice, which will ultimately help to maintain its value over time. Along with these tips, regularly bringing your car in to be professionally cleaned at your local Nashville carwash is also important. By doing both, you’ll be sure the get the biggest return on your investment in the long run.