Cleaning your car should be done regularly to prolong its life and functionality. But no matter how hard you try, you find it hard to achieve the same results that you get when you have you car serviced by professionals. It makes you sit back and wonder, “What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I give my car that showroom shiny finish?”
Cleaning and waxing may be the most basic maintenance tasks for a car owner, but doing it properly, with no hazy paint, dirt in cup holders or dull headlights—requires skills and experience. How to clean your car like a pro? Read on and find out.
Cleaning Your Car: Five Things Not to Do
- The condition of your car will dictate how you should best tackle the task i.e. whether to start from the wheels, then the top and bottom of your car; or from the interior to the exterior or from the dirtiest to the cleaner sections. Whichever the case may be, never bite off more than you can chew. In other words, work in small, let’s say 2 x 2 sections to avoid trapping dirt in your cleaning mitt. This will reduce the chances of damaging your exterior paint with swirl marks.
- Although the engine is pretty much covered under the hood, the engine exterior and compartment are areas that need to be cleaned and finished with a protection. But you have to be careful during the pre-wash stage. Do not ever leave the electric sensors, distributor, spark plug openings and other sensitive areas uncovered. Protect them with aluminum foil or plastic bags (secured with tape or ties) to prevent water from seeping in. Otherwise, you risk causing short circuits from the water build-up.
- If you have invested in a steam cleaner to help you remove stains and odors from upholstery, carpet and floor mats and the grease and grime from your engine, wheels and chrome accessories, kudos – to you! But never steam clean your vehicle’s interior without trying it out in an inconspicuous area. This will help you assess the temperature needed to clean, not ruin, the seats’ fabrics. They are proven to work well on car interiors as well as on its wheels, especially when it comes to removing fine-grained brake dust. Well-designed steam cleaners are not only a cinch to use but they may be the only option for cleaning chemically prohibited surfaces.
- Leather seats are definitely easier to clean than fabric ones. Leather material is known to last long, but only if they are cleaned and conditioned correctly. Oftentimes, you may wipe them with cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals. Be careful – these products may build up on the seams and eventually, cause the threads to weaken.The better approach would be to apply most of the product on the main seat areas, and attend to the seams at the very end when there’s minimal product left on the applicator pad. Even after you buff off to dry the surface in preparation for the next conditioning phase, do double check the seams again for excess.
- Last but not the least, when cleaning your car, never use the same pads and towel you used for the tires. As mentioned, brake dust is challenging to remove, and when the grit does come off, a fair amount will be caught in the scrub pad used in the process.
You may not be able to duplicate the work of detailing experts, but by following these five tips, cleaning your car can be done safely and efficiently.