Cleaning a car: a piece of cake, right? Certainly, if you follow the procedures suggested by the Car Care Council. While it’s the most basic procedure in car care, it does deserve some thought. The first step in cleaning the car is to wash it. Give it a good rinsing from top to bottom, including the wheels and inside the fenders. Always clean the tires and wheels before washing the body, and don’t use the same mitt for both. This way you’ll avoid contaminating the vehicle’s paint with debris from the wheels and tires.
Use a good tire cleaner with a stiff brush, to improve your tires’ appearance even if you don’t have white sidewalls or white letter tires.
Next, clean the wheels with a wheel cleaner that removes the brake dust, which often blackens the front wheels. Application of these cleaners vary, so be sure and follow the directions on the container.
Now it’s time to wash the body. Use a product sold specifically for automobiles. (Household cleaners can strip the wax from the paint and damage the finish.) Starting at the top, wash one section at a time, thoroughly rinsing away the soap. Work your way down toward the front, sides, and rear of the vehicle. Clean the rear last since it usually has the largest accumulation of dirt and grime, which can contaminate the wash mitt. Wash the inside door jams about once a month.
To rinse, remove the spray nozzle from the hose. Starting at the top, let the water cascade down the surfaces of the vehicle.
Then, to avoid water spotting, dry with a chamois or other product made for this purpose.
Now is an excellent time for waxing, which not only protects the finish but also makes subsequent washing easier. Before proceeding, look for foreign particles on the paint. Use a car cleaner, available at auto supply stores, to remove contaminants imbedded in the paint.
Once the surface is clean, apply the wax, following the manufacturer’s instructions for application of the product. Often they recommend not using the product in direct sunlight..
Keeping your vehicle clean, while it doesn’t require a lot of effort, says the Council, it does foster a feeling of pride and accomplishment.