You would be surprised how much good you can do your car's finish just by washing it. Aside from maintaining the oil and keeping a coat of wax or sealant on the surface, routine washing is the most beneficial treatment you can give your vehicle.
Armed with a bucket and hose, here are the proper steps to make car washing easier:
1. If possible, work in the shade, out of direct sunlight. Elevated paint temperatures cause the wash and rinse water to evaporate too quickly, increasing the likelihood of water spotting.
2. Start by preparing a bucket with a car wash shampoo and wash the wheels first. This prevents you from splattering cleaners, dirt and brake dust on already cleaned panels.
In addition to oily, road grime, wheels get coated with black, metallic, dust particles every time you brake. Car wash shampoos alone may not have the power to remove this baked-on combination. Many inexpensive wheel cleaners use an acid or petroleum solvent to dissolve this bonded contamination but these cleaners can stain alloy and anodized wheels.
* Clean one wheel at a time. * Spray wheel and tire with water. * Spray a fine mist of cleaner over entire tire & wheel. * Allow cleaner to dwell for 10 - 30 seconds. (Longer if wheel is extremely soiled.) * Agitate surface with a Tire & Wheel Brush or sponge soaked with car wash shampoo. (This was the bucket of shampoo Prepared in step 2.) * Hose off thoroughly with a strong water spray.
After I wash the vehicle for the first time, I will apply a coat of Wheel Wax. Wheel Wax puts a barrier on the wheel that prevents grime and brake dust from bonding. Now you'll be able to wash the wheels in the future with just a sponge and a bucket of car wash shampoo! No wheel cleaner is required! I can clean the wheels on my Mercedes (a vehicle prone to excessive brake dusting) six to eight times before I have to apply another coat of Wheel Wax.
(I have to admit that even I do not do this every time I wash my car but my car really looks good when I take the extra time to do this.) While washing each wheel, take time to spray an all purpose cleaner like Eimann Fabrik Hi-Intensity Cleaner or P21S Total Auto Wash up and into your fender wells, use your Tire & Wheel Brush to work the cleaner into a light lather then rinse the wheel well thoroughly.
3. Pre-rinse the entire vehicle. This quick rinse removes surface dirt and lowers the paint's temperature.
6. Rinse often during washing. After washing a section (i.e. door, fender, hood, etc.) rinse completely to prevent soap films from drying on the finish.
After washing the entire vehicle, do a final rinse with free-flowing water (nozzle off the hose). This sheets most of the water off the vehicle. Trust me on this. I know it takes a minute to take the nozzle off the hose and do this final rinse but it will allow you to dry your vehicle in a fraction of time you would normally require.
7. Dry the vehicle like you washed it, from the top down. I do the roof first, then all the windows, the hood and trunk and finish with the sides.
Invest in our Big Blue II Microfiber Drying Towel. Again, trust me on this. The Big Blue Microfiber Drying Towel will remove every drop of water on your vehicle and you'll probably never have to wring it out! This is an absolutely amazing towel that allows you dry a vehicle streak free in a fraction of the time it would take using a cotton towel or chamois.
After I dry the entire vehicle, I use the Big Blue Drying Towel to dry the tires and wheels.
Last Minute Details
Technically you're finished at this point but I've found that investing a few more minutes really makes my car look awesome. This is the point where I'll put Wheel Wax (remember Detailing Secret #1) on my car's wheels. I'll do this once every eight washings or when the wheels become hard to clean with just car wash shampoo.
Some vehicles have black trim moldings, beltline moldings and/or weather-strip moldings around doors and windows. If these moldings are white-stained from previous waxings, I'll use Wax Blaster to remove the stains and then wipe the trim with Black Again.
The only chrome on my car is the front grill and the rear exhaust tips. I use Auto Wenol on these areas to brighten the shine.
These last steps, applying Wheel Wax on the wheels, misting and wiping with a spray sealant and treating the black trim, chrome and tires are optional but the small amount of time you spend on these areas will reward you with a crisp, brightly detailed shine that really sets your car apart.
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