A meticulously clean car is as satisfying as any other thing. This feat is difficult to achieve at the local auto wash, with its impersonal brushes and one-spray fits-all approach.
Do-it-yourself car washes can be more damaging than beneficial as brushes can collect debris that can scratch your vehicle’s surface. You can take your time, and concentrate on the most dirtiest areas of your car by putting out the hose or a few buckets.
DIY allows you to clean your car without damaging its paint. It’s also a very satisfying process that allows you to truly get to know your vehicle, which takes you from Point A and Point B every day.
Here are steps to help you master the do it yourself car wash method.
Assess the condition of your vehicle
Although it seems obvious, this is an important step. Before you start cleaning your car, determine how dirty it is. Are the rocker panels covered in mud? Is there fine dust on the car? Is salt necessary to be removed after driving on icy roads.
It is possible to use a few products to do a quick wash. A car that is older may require a complete cleaning program with waxes and polishes to protect its paint. However, a car that is newer may still have a strong clear coat.
Take the time to read labels.
Before you apply anything to your vehicle, make sure to read the labels. Some automotive cleaners are not all-purpose. You could damage paint, clear coat or other finishes if you use the wrong product. You should never be unsure of the components of your car’s parts. Always use the mildest cleaners you can find.
It will save you time and money by reading the instructions.
Three Bucket System
A deep clean will remove all contaminants from the vehicle’s surface. You don’t want to wash your car with dirty water, which can cause it to get back the grime.
This is where the three-bucket system of cleaning comes in. One bucket is filled with soapy water, while the other bucket contains only water. The water-only bucket can be used to rinse your mitt and then put it back in the soapy bucket. A third bucket should contain a mixture of cleaning products and water, which is only for your wheels. These are the most dirtiest areas of your car.
If possible, get the car out of direct sun before you begin cleaning. This will ensure that water and cleaning products don’t evaporate as much while you are working.
Wash the wheels
Let’s start with the most disgusting part of your car: the wheels. For now, only use the wheel bucket. The water-only bucket will be used for the rest.
Be careful not to get any cleaning products on your tires. Tires could spray the product onto the paint of your car if you don’t drive it afterward. You should also avoid tire dressing, which can make your sidewalls darker and shiner. It can make your tires slippery and shiny, which can affect their ability to grip the roads. After you are done, spray your wheels with water and rinse any cleaner off. For the rest of your car, you will need a separate bucket or hose for this task.
Wash those Headlights
Plastic headlights become less efficient on the road as they age and turn yellower. Gungy headlights can make a car look unkempt, so it is a good time to get them fixed.
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You can find headlight restoration kits easily. Many include a UV blocking element to protect your already-clear headlights against further sun damage. Masking tape will be needed to cover any other areas around your headlights. After you are done, wipe your headlights with the cleaning solution. Finally, clean them with a damp cloth. Apply any protective coating in your kit now.
Next, let’s get to the most important part of your DIY adventure to cleanliness: washing your car’s body. This will remove any contaminants like dirt, dust and mud.
To remove dirt and larger particles, wash the car with water. Next, add soapy water to the exterior. Be sure to use soap that is specifically designed for washing cars. Dish cleaners and liquid detergents can strip the wax off and damage paint.
Before moving on to the next step, dry your car using a microfiber towel or lightly moistened Chamois. Water doesn’t stick well to wax.