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December 1, 2015

Wax On, Wax Off: The Art of Keeping Your Car Clean

Nothing says that you care about your car than by keeping it in tip-top shape. And the most visible sign is to keep it clean. Now, most people take good care of their skin by applying sunblock or moisturizer, but just how does one care of a car’s exterior? Seeking help on this matter, we consulted with the local distributors of Sonax, the premium German car care specialist to find out more about car pampering.

Car Washing 101

A car’s paint isn’t as simple as it looks. It’s actually composed of several layers that give it its unmistakable luster. Thus, proper car washing is the simplest and most cost-effective way of keeping it protected. Washing even on a daily basis to remove built up dirt and grime is alright for any car, only if the correct product like a car shampoo is used. Unlike laundry soaps which tends to strip off the protective layers of paint or its clear coat, a proper car shampoo acts as softener and lubricant to remove the grime. With that, it makes removing most residues easily without causing water marks and the like.

Preparing a Home Wash

The key to getting your car properly washed is preparation. According to Sonax, you can easily achieve the same level of cleanliness on your car whether you use a hose or buckets. What’s more important is that you park your car in a shaded area before doing a wash. This is so that water won’t dry as quickly causing water spots. Next, always have all the required materials and tools ready. Aside from a good car shampoo, always have a microfiber cloth or foam with you. Never use a rag or else you risk leaving scratches. Ditto if you use the same cloth (microfiber or otherwise) on multiple areas of a car. It’s a good idea to use one for the upper part (cleaner) and the lower portion (dirtier). Wipe in a circular motion in order to make sure every surface is applied with the appropriate cleaner and to minimize unsightly gashes.

Waxing and Detailing

Of course, after all that washing, the next step is to wax your car. This is actually very different to polishing. Waxing is simply adding a layer of protection to your car whereas polishing is when you give the paint an extra sheen. Waxing every time you wash your car is fine, but it’s best to do it once a month.

Now, detailing is the thorough process of cleaning a car. Drilling down to exterior detailing in particular, this entails taking out scratches, polishing it, and finally giving it a coat of wax. And since you’re actually scraping off a bit of the top coat every time you detail, twice a year detailing is the maximum.

Removing Nature’s Hazards

The most typical paint hazard occurs when your car gets hit by tree sap, bird droppings, and the like. It’s important to actually remove them or else you risk damaging the top coat in the long run. Once you get home, douse it with car shampoo to soften it and just wipe it off. For asphalt, this is tougher. You need to use a clay bar and not kerosene to remove it. A clay bar is a mildly abrasive cleaning agent but won’t damage the clear coat. If you will need to use a clay bar, it’s best to actually apply a new coat of wax for protection. For cars which tend to accumulate brake dust, you can use a quality car shampoo or a specialized brake cleaner to remove them. At this point, do not use anything with acid nor use brushes to remove accumulated brake dust.

Well, there you have it. It pays to keep your car’s exterior clean to make sure it lasts longer. Your car helps you live the life you live, so it’s good to pay that back by giving it some TLC. Always remember to use the right products for the purpose, the right tools and equipment, and be mindful of your technique.

Of course, when in doubt, you can always consult a professional.

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