Professional car care is the best care to give your vehicle, whether routine maintenance services like 21-point inspection and oil change, professional cleaning in and out or repair procedures. However, that doesn’t imply you can’t care for it yourself. When you decide to treat your car on your own, below are the five most important car tips that cannot be ignored.
Clean your car with soap
Carefully washing your car by hand is one of the best ways of cleaning your car. However, that is only if done right, which most car owners ignore. When not performed correctly, what should have been a simple process of cleaning your car can result in damage to the paint. As a result, many car owners use a soft-cloth automatic car wash with fresh, recycled water and soft foam brushes to remove the contaminants and dirt.
If cleaning your car in the driveway, avoid dish soap which can damage the paint, and strip off the wax coatings used to protect. Always go for a designated car wash soap designed for these types of dirt and contaminants that get on your car. While doing so, use many buckets instead of one. One could be for the soap solution, and the second to rinse the microfiber wash mitt or clean the wheels and wheel caps.
Start from the top and work down
Apart from using dish soap, most car owners make another mistake of cleaning at random or beginning with the wrong areas first. However, a professional knows it’s crucial to start from the top and work your way downwards. Gravity ensures that dirt and other contaminants aren’t reintroduced to the already cleaned surfaces.
Start rinsing the vehicle, glass, roof, hood, trunk lid, etc. All the debris and mud at the bottom of the car, rinse off as you go down. Always wash and rinse top-down in small areas to prevent soap from drying on the surfaces. Remember to wash your car in the shade and not in the sunlight.
Treat your tar
You can find contaminants that cannot be removed with ordinary car soap in some cases. For this reason, professional car service is required as different car wash chemicals are required to get rid of different contaminants. Some contaminants need a petroleum-based cleaner and wax-and-grease remover. Road tar is a good example that requires a tar remover.
Hard water spots are cleaned with other chemicals, bug residue with another. Rail dust, the tiny steel bits that attach to the paint causing rust-colored sports, and other surface debris require mechanical removal using a machine buffing or a clay bar. Once you’ve cleaned your car with soap and water and found other contaminants, it is important to use the correct cleaner, remove the dirt, and re-wash the spots.
Lubricate hinges and latches
The hood latch is one maintenance area that most car owners ignore until the hood stops opening. Always keep the latch clean and lubricate it often with protectants or 3 in 1 oil. Do the same for the trunk latch. Protect your car hinges by dripping or spraying on a lubricant, swing the door open and closed, and work it in.
The pivot points on the hood hinges are sometimes hidden from sight. However, if you can get to them, use lithium grease frequently to keep them fresh and prevent future breakdown.
While working on this area, you can check the lock cylinders on the car. Most modern cars come with remote locks button activated on the key fob. Most drivers discover too late that the lock cylinder isn’t working due to lack of use.
Touch up the paint chips
Imagine coming to your car only to find a black-looking speck on your shiny white hood. Paint chips can happen to any vehicle, regardless of the color. Some rocks in the road pelt the paint while driving, creating small craters where the top coating has chipped off, showing the undercoats underneath. The good thing is car manufacturers use primers that are very durable and normally stay in place. Still, if looking to protect the panels from unsightliness and corrosion, you’ll need to touch up the chips.
To do this, you can find a reasonable color approximation at a local auto parts store or dealership. However, you need to be careful when attempting this. First, the touch-up won’t substitute a professional paint job. Your DIY project will not make the spot look new again. Unless your vehicle is black, you’ll see something akin to the original color. If you want a perfect comeback, it’s best to go for a professional paint job.
Another fact is that the spot won’t be smooth and will probably stick up. Instead, a professional paint job can sand out the paint chip to remove the sharp edges. This calls for a repair area larger than the original chip. The spot is then filled with sandable primer and block sanded level, and the complete hood is refinished with the perfect color match.
Common car detailing mistakes
- Don’t use dish soap or other home detergents
- Don’t wash the car in direct sunlight
- Don’t use a single bucket for soap and rinsing
- Don’t forget to clean the wheels or tires first
- Don’t dry using a regular towel
- Don’t wipe missed areas with the drying towel
- Don’t apply polish or wax directly to the surface
- Don’t overwork
- Don’t skip the polishing
- Don’t use ammonia-based glass cleaners for the interior
Armed with this information, you can comfortably clean your car at home. However, if you feel it is more of a hassle or uncomfortable with these operations, you might want to find someone with more experience and training. A modern automatic car wash does a perfect job of getting all the contaminants and dirt off your vehicle. It’s also important to wash underneath the car, which is virtually impossible at home.