It might seem like a risk, but if you can choose a cloudy day to clean your car then that is much better than doing it in the sunshine. Washing a car in the sun might seem like the best thing to do, but the heat will dry out your car between washing and cleaning, which could leave water marks on the bodywork. The heat of the sun will also reduce the effectiveness of your cleaning products.
This stage of your car care is often rushed but it is one of the most important parts of the process for freeing up loose dirt and silt, so they don’t get caught in your wash mitt/sponge and cause scratches later on.
Three useful products are snow foam, traffic film remover and Citrus pre-wash. These cover your car in properties that get to work loosening off all the grime. Simply leave them to work for a few minutes, then you can blast it all off using a pressure washer or water hose. You should work from the roof of the car downwards, and don’t forget to do the undersides of the door sills and bumpers.
If this stage is missed, and these contaminants are not lifted from your vehicles paint they can later inflict swirl marks and wash marring. During the pre-wash stage it’s also a good time to pay attention to tighter more intricate areas. These include places such as fuel filler caps, door shuts, grills, and window rubbers.
3. WASH (2 BUCKET METHOD)
Fill one bucket with fresh water – this is your rinsing bucket.
Fill a second bucket about 3/4 full with water then add desired car shampoo and stir.
Add enough car shampoo to make the mixture feel slick to the touch. Then top up the bucket until full. Start at the top of the car and work your way down.
Saturate your wash mitt in the car shampoo solution and with only very light pressure, sweep the wash mitt gently from side to side to remove the dirt. Squeeze the water out of the mitt on the paintwork and then wipe backwards and forwards gently ensuring you use plenty of car shampoo solution. Never increase the pressure – stubborn marks may just need extra time. Before putting the wash mitt back into the car shampoo solution, rinse it thoroughly in the rinse bucket. Once the mitt is thoroughly cleaned, go back to the car shampoo bucket and continue working around the car in this way until complete. Leave the dirtiest areas such as lower parts of doors and the boot-lid and rear bumper until last.
This stage can either be done as you wash (panel per panel, recommended on a hot and sunny day) or after fully washing the whole car.
If you’re using a pressure washer or a hose, set this to give a steady stream of water. Rinse from the top down using plenty of fresh water allowing it to sheet off of the paintwork. If you don’t have access to a pressure washer or a hose, then you can use a watering can without a rose to rinse the car from the top down as above.
The drying stage is important to take particular care over, as this is where a lot of paint damage can be inflicted. The use of a water blade for example, while effective at drying, can cause scratches in the paintwork.
When drying a car it is best to proceed methodically and gently. Start at the top and work your way down. Using a jumbo microfiber drying towel or chamois gently wipe the surface dry using no pressure. You may also wish to pat the surface dry rather than wipe to minimise the chances of inflicting scratches.