You’ve spent plenty of money on the purchase of your car or truck, now the question arises, “How do I take care of it?” Proper washing is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood areas of auto care, and sadly improper washing damages and dulls your vehicle’s finish over time.
Steps for Washing Your Vehicle
– Always wash your car in the shade! This will keep your car wash shampoo solution from drying on the car before it is rinsed off. It is best to wash your car on a relatively calm day as even a slight breeze can put particles of dirt into the air. These dust particles are attracted to the wash/rinse water on your vehicle and act like sandpaper when rubbed between the drying towel and vehicle surface. The breeze can also cause some spots to dryer before soap has been rinsed off – leading to streaks and water spots.
– Use two buckets with a Grit Guard Insert in each bucket. One is for your shampoo solution and the other is clean rinse water for your wash mitt.
– Only use high quality car shampoos and wash mitts.
– Fill a 5-gallon bucket 2/3 full with cool water. Add the proper amount of shampoo to the water as recommended on the label instructions. Using a strong jet of water, fill the bucket to fully activate suds. Fill the second bucket with clean, water for rinsing your wash mitt.
– Thoroughly rinse the vehicle’s surface to remove the loose dirt and grime before you begin the car wash procedure. If the paint is excessively dirty or you wish to use more caution, use a foam cannon to pre-soak the vehicle prior to rinsing.
– When washing your vehicle remember to always go from top to bottom, never the opposite. Generally the dirtiest parts of your vehicle are those parts closest to the ground. Wheel wells, rocker panels and bumpers tend to have the largest accumulation of grime and you don’t want to bring that junk back onto the paint surface and risk scratching it.
– Load up your wash mitt with your car wash solution and wring it out over the wash surface. This acts like a pre-soak and helps loosen surface gunk. It also adds more sudsy water to the surface and more lubricity helps safely wash the grime away without scratching.
– Keep your wash areas small and rinse your wash mitt frequently in the second bucket.
– Wash in straight, overlapping lines as opposed to circles and remember to be gentle with the wash mitt on the first pass. This first pass will pick up the majority of the dirt, and loosens the remaining dirt for pick up on the second pass.
– Rinse your vehicle by opening up your Fire Hose Nozzle to the open flow setting or, if you don’t have an open flow option on your nozzle, remove your nozzle completely and let the water run or sheet over the surface. This helps in two ways. First, generally when water has “sheeted” off of a surface it tends to leave fewer residual droplets behind. This means less drying time. Second, since there is less water to pick up, there is less chance of your leaving water behind to spot the vehicle.
– When you dry your car, use only high quality microfiber waffle weave drying towels and wring out often. Gently dry the surface without asserting much pressure onto the paint. You don’t need to rub the surface – you’re just picking up the bulk of the water! Once you have picked up the bulk of the water, and the first towel is saturated, use the second towel to lightly pick up any remaining streaks or droplets.
– Lastly, if your wax or sealant is still in good shape, go over the vehicle with a quick detail spray and microfiber Buffing Towel to restore a radiance and slickness to the paint. This last step will give your vehicle that just-detailed look by enhancing gloss and will also remove any missed drips, water spots or streaks that showed up when you weren’t looking.