Your car is more than just a generic set of wheels that gets you from Point A to Point B. If you’re like most folks, you probably take a lot of pride in your vehicle. Staying on top of its regular service schedule just one of the many ways you make sure it's running smoothly. Not only do you want it to run well, though, you also want it to look good.
While some people are perfectly content in dropping a few bucks in a drive-thru coin-op car wash, many others are more of a fan of the hands-on approach to keeping their car free from dust and dirt. If you’re part of Team DIY when it comes to keeping the outside of your car squeaky clean, you may benefit from a few helpful pointers on how to wash your car properly. As your local Pompano Beach auto tag agency, we're veterans of the damage the tropical Florida environment can do to your car.
Use the Right Kind of Soap
It can be tempting to squirt a huge glug of dish soap into a 5-gallon container to get a luxurious bucket of foam. However, you need to resist the urge to lather up with these types of suds. Harsh detergents can actually be quite harmful to your car’s paint job. Car paint actually stays partially liquid even after it has dried and set. This is part of what keeps it looking shiny, lustrous, and protects the metal. It makes it durable and buffable, so that a lot of small hits by particles at high speeds can be buffed out. To avoid accidentally stripping of the wax or damaging the paint, you should make sure that you’re using a gentle soap that was specifically formulated for vehicle usage.
Skip the Scrubby Brush
Abrasive sponges and your car simply do not mix. It’s far too easy to chip the paint on your vehicle, which can expose it to rust and permanent body damage. Instead of reaching for the steel wool, you should use a soft sponge, microfiber towel, or natural wool mitt. By choosing softer materials, you can help protect your car’s body in the long run. If you have a scuff or a ding, you can use a magic eraser, GENTLY on the area of the scuff, and it will take out small abrasions where someone's door may have hit your car and left a bit of their paint. Never press down, and always let the tool do the work for you.
Dry it Off Correctly
Not drying your car off properly can lead to unsightly watermarks and splotches on its surface. If it dries off too quickly, these blemishes can form. To prevent this from happening, make sure your car is cool to the touch before you start and don’t clean it in direct sunlight. You’ll also want to use a soft terrycloth towel or chamois to dry it, but don’t press too hard and don’t use small circles (which can lead to superficial scratches).
Finish with a Wax and a Polish
Wax and polish are two entirely different products, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using the correct product as the final stage of your car’s spa day. Polish should be applied after the car is cleaned and dried, and it is used to help keep your car looking nice and shiny. Wax, on the other hand, helps protect the car’s paint job. You’ll want to apply the polish before you put on a coat of wax, which will help give your car a sleek and shiny finish before you seal it in with the wax.
The South Florida weather can be brutal on your car. Between our endless sunshine and torrential rain -- which can kick up mud, muck, and all other kinds of nasties onto your vehicle -- you’ll want to make sure you’re staying on top of your vehicle maintenance and upkeep to help ensure your car turns heads for many years to come. By following these four tips, you can feel both proud and confident the next time you slip behind the wheel of your car!
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Photo credit: Darius Krause