Car Cleaning Guide
Keeping your car in its’ best condition should be one of your top priorities. Not only just mechanically but aesthetically. Your car is legally required to adhere to a list of safety and performance regulations, from the number of harmful gases emitted from the exhaust to whether or not all the lights on the vehicle work fully. These are tested annually as part of the MOT.
Whereas, the appearance of your vehicle is up to you to look after and grade yourself. Here at AP Autocare, we understand that you may find it hard to find the time to look after the aesthetics of your car; both inside and out. This is why we have created a handy guide on car cleaning along with some helpful tips so that you are able to take pride in your vehicle’s appearance once again.
How To Clean Your Car
Assess your car’s current aesthetical state
- Take a walk around your car, looking for any dirt or parts of your car that isn’t looking as good as they did as when you first received the car. Look closely at the paintwork, keeping an eye out for any discolouration or fading. One of the most common paintwork issues is sun discolouration, which occurs when the sun’s rays fade back the original paint colour. Another highly common car aesthetic issue is car scratches and dents, which can occur from passing too close to a hedge or other road users bumping into you. These car aesthetics will require further work from a car body repair shop, such as AP Autocare.
Wash away dirt
- You can now use your hosepipe or pressure washer to wash away any loose pieces of dirt that may be on your car. This includes on your wheels, your car’s panels and windows. Make sure to use try and get off as much mud or pieces of dirt as possible as some grains of dirt can contains stones that, if you use a sponge to clean the car after, will scratch the surface.
Choose your type of cleaner and other equipment
- There are a huge variety of different shampoos, waxes and combinations of the both for you to choose from to clean your car with. We highly recommend choosing a high-quality shampoo for the initial clean as this will ensure any dirt is dissolved gently and prevent it from spreading further down the line, which could create scratches. Never use washing up liquid when cleaning your car as this can dissolve your fine layer of paint protection that car manufacturers have put on.
- You will also need to invest in a sponge and a bucket. A soft sponge with no sharp edges or dirt is best to reduce the chance of marks. Using a regular bucket is fine, just as long as you rinse it out thoroughly before commencing the cleaning. You can also purchase a bucket with a grit guard which means that the small dirt particles will be caught beneath the water and stop spreading when you dunk your sponge in.
- For the most high-quality car wash, you can also use a chamois cloth after cleaning to remove any remaining water particles which can leave marks and lower the strength of the paintwork. We recommend choosing a natural chamois, however, a synthetic version is fine to use. You can also use a tyre brush to get into your alloys and wheel arches, to perform a thorough and deep clean. You must ensure not to touch your paintwork with one of these brushes as they can cause considerable damage to your paintwork.
- Fill your bucket up with warm water, and follow your chosen car shampoo instructions to how it should be added and the amount that you should use. Take your sponge and soak it in the water; ensuring that it is completely wet throughout before using it on your car. Work your way around your car, starting at the top of panels or the roof and working your way down each section of the car. Once you have gone around the entirety of your car, you can pick up your hosepipe or pressure washer and wash away the soap suds that may remain on your vehicle. This will also allow you to spot any missed patches before drying. You can go back over the car again, ensuring that your sponge remains clean and dirt particle free throughout.
- Drying of the car is often a process people skip when cleaning their car. However, we believe it to be as important as the washing. Watermarks can completely ruin the clean appearance of your car and can even damage your paintwork if left for long periods of time. It is an easy process, which just requires you using a chamois cloth to go round and rub each section of the car that you cleaned, ensuring to clean in a circular motion to get the best removal of water spots. We recommend having plenty of chamois cloths available as, if your car is particularly wet, they soak up the water which prevents them from being able to dry your car effectively.
- For more hidden parts that would have gotten wet during your power washing, such as the insides of wing mirrors and door handles, you can use a hair dryer to access them. We recommend using your hairdryer on a low temperature as high temperature can damage your paintwork. There is nothing worse than driving off, unaware that water has sprayed from your wing mirrors, all across the sides of your car.
- Now that your car is dirt free and dry, you can apply the finishing touches. One technique that we are fond of is using a clay bar to pick up any fine particles that may have been left by the chamois cloth. Following the manufacturer’s instructions on best uses for a clay bar is best.
- You can also apply way to your vehicle’s outer bodywork. It is an easy process to follow. Simply, apply your chosen wax (ensuring to follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully) to a fine sponge or chamois cloth, and spread it evenly across the entirety of your car’s bodywork. You must then allow it to dry and then buff it by using another fine cloth.
If you’ve decided to follow our guide on the best car cleaning methods, and discover a scratch, dent or mark on your car, bring it into AP Autocare today. We have a team of experienced scratch and dent repair experts who are able to inspect the damage and advise you on the best course of repair. We are able to repair any size scratch, dent or cut on your vehicle with the use of our highest range car respraying equipment and spraying booths.