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Tips for Washing Your Car

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Auto and Trucks

Most of us take great pride in our cars. After all, a vehicle is often the second most expensive purchase we will ever make. Keeping your automobile looking clean and in showroom condition is really not that hard to do, especially if you keep a few basic tips for washing your car in mind.

One of the first things to keep in mind is to not wash your car in direct sunlight, if there is any way to avoid it. The water will evaporate more quickly and this can lead to create some spots and streaks that will require some elbow grease to remove later in the process. 

Be particular about the type of car wash product you use. Don't make the mistake of using abrasive agents like powdered laundry detergent. You may save a few bucks on the front end, but with each wash you are damaging the clear coat over your paint job, and in time will begin to abrade the pain itself. Check with the dealer regarding products that are recommended for the type of pain job you have on the car. If it is an older vehicle that has been repainted, check with a local service that specializes in painting cars and get some practical suggestions from them. In the long run, it will save you money.

Next, don't use cloths that are abrasive to wash the car. Go for something like chamois, that has a smoother texture. Rougher cloths will tend to leave tiny scratches that are very hard to detect, but which speed up the deterioration of your paint job. Chamois or a towel manufactured especially for washing and drying a car will cause much less damage. Ideally, use a sponge for washing the car and save the cloth for drying it later on.

Some people like to take a bucket of suds, dip the cloth, and go to town. Do yourself a favor and use the hose to wet down the entire car first. A good soaking before you start scrubbing will help begin to loosen up surface dirt before you get to it, making your job much easier.  

Take your time. You are not racing against the clock. Use even circular strokes with your sponge or cloth, making sure to cover every inch of your vehicle. If you have some heavy grime you are removing, consider washing a section of the car and then rinsing that section off. Check to make sure you have thoroughly cleaned the area. If not, repeat the process; if so, then move on to the next section.

Once you have made a complete circle with the washing and cleaning, take a nice clean chamois cloth and dry the surface of the car. Again, use even strokes to avoid streaking. Once the car is dry, you can then move on to waxing, if you choose.

Remember to save water by using a trigger nozzle on your hose. As long as you are making the car look great, you may as well conserve our natural resources at the same time.