By David Maillie
It is a proven fact that the better your car looks the higher the value you will get at resale or trade-in. Proper car care to include washing, waxing, and polishing will not only make your car look its best, but will help retain its value and make it last longer. For the purpose of this article we questioned numerous detailing experts and other similar professionals as to what works best. Here are their best car care recommendations:
Start by using a garage or shaded area. The hot sun will make proper car care and cleaning hard, if not impossible and could be detrimental to your car’s finish. Next thoroughly wet down the car. This will remove dirt and road debris which will cause scratches if you skip this step and start using a sponge and soap on the car. If it is a hot day, be sure to routinely wet the car so it does not dry suds or cleaning chemicals on it.
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Next use a car wash solution, don’t use general purpose detergents and cleaners that were never meant for car care and car washing. A car wash solution will not dry out your paint or strip and possibly remove protective coatings. A long armed, soft bristled wash brush will greatly reduce the time it takes to thoroughly clean your car. It will also make it easier on your back and muscles. A good quality brush can be cheaply obtained at Walmart for about $10-$15 – buy one, you will be glad you did. When you have finished washing the whole car, use a chamois to dry off your car. A chamois will remove water quickly and not leave lint which terry cloths are prone to do. Routinely washing your car will remove things like bird droppings, bugs and industrial fallout which are all detrimental to your car’s paint and finish. If there is road tar or stubborn bugs left after washing you should use a bug and tar remover prior to waxing and polishing.
It is a good idea to follow washing with the application of a cleaner/polish. This will remove minor imperfections in the paint caused by the environment and sun damage, remove minor scratches, and provide a good surface for car wax or car polish. Follow the directions on the bottle. Basically you apply cleaner wax as you would wax – in a circular motion and you treat one area or panel at a time. Use modest pressure and then let dry to a whitish haze. Buff with a clean cloth towel and reapply as necessary.
Then you need to decide whether to use car wax or a polymer car polish. According to the experts, carnauba car wax has the deepest and wettest looking shine, but it is also the weakest protection for the harsh environment (acid rain, extreme temperature ranges, bird droppings, etc…). Car polish is easier to apply as it requires less effort to apply and remove. It will also last much longer (some have polymers and even Teflon and will last as long as 52 car washes after 1 application). Car polish will still give you that new car look and was the unanimous recommendation from our experts for any outdoor use (car wax was recommended mostly for car shows). Both car polish and car wax are applied in the same way and many come with a cloth or foam applicator. Apply in a small circular motion same as with the cleaner/polish. Car polish will go on easier and come off easier than car wax and requires only one coat for great protection in any climate. After allowing it to dry to a haze, buff it off, but use a microfiber towel as it will leave a smoother finish quicker and without any lint.
The above recommended steps for properly washing, waxing and polishing your car will leave you with the best shine, maximum protection, make your car last, and maintain its highest value. Remember, a little proper car care can and will go a long way.
David Maillie specializes in automotive safety products and information. He holds numerous patents and awards for his patented headlight cleaner and restorer. For more information, tips, and money saving products for your auto please visit www.mdwholesale.com