Smoothing out any minor swirls and exposing the sheen to paintwork is easier than you think. I got fed-up going to hand wash car washes and jetwashes, and paying a crew to clean it when I was younger, I watched horrified as they re-used the same sponges and cloths and the cars in front were all filthy with salt and grit! I realised it was madness to be dependant on others for this task, when they damage your lacquer, so I only handwash my vehicle now, thankfully my cars never looked better! Armed myself with some good quality products and off I go with my favoured Meguiars products.
Have all your products to hand, and where better to browse for them than here at ebay I have to say that' Meguiar's' brand have the best product ranges available. This is a general guide to maintaining a lovely clean car. As a footnote, I am a female ...I have umpteen disposable latex gloves and find they are cheap as chips, but a godsend, for not getting car oil and chemicals on your hands especially if you have sensitive skin, handy to keep some in the boot, if you ever need to change a tyre too!
Inside the car...general care tips...
1. Attending your internal surfaces first, vaccum first then dust the surfaces with the relevant sprays ie Glass Cleaner , leather cleaner ,cleaner for windows, dash board, and mirrors etc. remember to quickly check your spare tyre when you vacuum clean the boot. Any water leaks or spillages can be discovered then as well. Use' Carpet Cleaner ' on any stains you find on internal carpet and upholstery.
2. Finally ,inspect visually and check the condition of your windscreen wipers before washing for signs of any damage etc. A light spray of WD40 on hinges and components once over won't go amiss either between services.
1. Lift the screen wipers off gently and wipe them with a soft cloth before beginning. Leave them off the windcsreen when washing, as surface dirt can cling to them. Always rinse all dirt and heavy soiling with the hose of water , if you have not got a hose then douse well with plenty of fresh water, remember to rinse the sills as well, never take a sponge to the cars surface with the slightest bit of dust it will score and create swirls/scratches.
2. Always have a new Sponge for every car wash , a Wash Mitt is preferable made of nylon microfibres like a big mop-like glove which you wear on your hand, some are even made of lambswool, a good idea too, because you can put it in the washing machine and re-use it. Dont re-use a sponge or cloth that you drop it on the ground! For cleaning the wheels an ordinary dishpan non-scratch Scourer is a good idea, and they are fab for alloys as the non scratch pad won't damage the wheels surface either and at about £1 for a pack of 8 at supermarkets, they come in handy.
3. When the car is rinsed off, add the Car Shampoo into warm water and swirl , only ever use a clean Bucket if its got debris in give it a good rinse out, essential no bits from previous washes remain!
4. The general rule of thumb regarding car washing are the cleanest bits are washed first, this is the top down to the bottom, strart on roof, bonnet, tops of doors etc, windows, the door sills are last and wheels. If you have alloys you can add a pre-wash spray to dissolve brake dust etc at this stage. Alloy Cleaner
5. Rinse the whole car of any soap bubbles, hose around the wheels arches and as far under the sills as possible to loosen any stubborn dirt, obviously this is a guide for a domestic car ,not a tractor thats been in a field all day and has average city dust and dirt on it, and not cow dung LOL
6. Dry the whole car with a clean microfibre fluffy Cloth . No rubbing or circular movements, just light left to right movements. Cloths are re-useable and come out even softer after a tumble dry. TIP Only wash your car cloths and sponges with a domestic dark wash ie old dark towels , grubby overalls etc ! Overly contamined cloths should be used once as washing machines can't handle them and could damage your machine!
7. Remove swirls and unseen yet ingrained contaminents next. Open a ' Meguiars Clay Bar '( and 'Quik Detailer Spray'). Spray a large amount to each panel and rub the clay bar over the wet surface! You will be amazed to see the contaminants that come off into the clay bar. Do not use clay bar if you ever drop it on the ground!! Use a dry Microfibre Car Cloth to buff off to a shine , test the smoothness with the back of your hand, now you are cooking with gas! Continue to Clay Car around all your panels (excluding trims or glass) to remove those bits of dirt that shampoo and a sponge alone missed.
8. Dry your tyres with a clean rag (ie old but clean cotton cloth) and apply an even layer of Tyre Gel to the outer surface, avoiding tread. Makes the tyres appear new and shiny once more. Checking tyre pressures as you go with a handheld Tyre Pressure Checker is handy at this point, and general signs of wear and tread thickness.
9. Clean your bumpers and trims with Dash and Trim Restorer if required.
10. Pop the bonnet, top up your screenwash and do a general inspection, wipe down your surfaces with paper towels and some mild detergent, and use ' Engine Dressing 'for perfect results, follow instructions on back of bottle.
11. You may want to polish your car now ,using Foam Applicators to apply' NXT Tech Wax 2.0 ', to remove minor swirls, protect your paintwork ,deflect rain and grime and contaminants and make a seal on the cars lacquer surface, its going to leave a mirror shine. Do not use car polish in direct sunlight. No danger of that in Scotland anyway! Apply sparingly with foam applicator. Some people prefer to buff one panel at a time or go around the whole car and apply all over. When it dries, wipe off completely with fresh clean soft microfibre cloths, gently dry off using gentle left and right strokes this should leave you with the gleam of a car in showroom condition.
12. Finally, stand back and admire YOUR handiwork , touch up little bits you missed, then go and gather up dirty cloths for washing, have a big cup of tea and wait for the inevitable WOWS and whoops of delight when your loved ones see the smashing professional job you have done with Meguiars products the work does itself and they are pricy products and I have only mentioned a few of their ranges but they last ages and pay for themselves
(ps I am not a rep for anyones car accessory shops etc, and all the links I have added were from random sellers at the time, just to show you the items I refer to and may not exist at all now !)
As your ages , it pays to keep the paintwork looking stunning when its been polished, and it will see you through the years!
Your car will shine !