How To Find Out What Body Style My Car Is Washing Your Car: More Than Just a Bucket of Suds

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Washing Your Car: More Than Just a Bucket of Suds

Your car is one of your biggest purchases, after your home, and while washing it may seem pretty basic, there are some tips you should know to protect your investment.

Wash your car regularly, not just when you have company coming to town or plan to take your boss out to dinner. Keeping your car clean and free of dirt and debris will reduce rust and help maintain your car’s value.

Exterior cleaning

Choose a soft, car sponge and a heavy-duty bucket filled with cold water to tackle the car wash project, but stay away from harsh cleaning solutions like dish soap or laundry soap, which can harm your car’s finish . Better yet, invest in the plethora of high-quality car care products like car wash soap, tire wax, wheel cleaner, and other products designed to clean your leather or vinyl interior.

– Choose a shaded place to wash your car, as direct sunlight can be absorbed by the finish of dark-colored cars and cause water spots.

– Start by wetting the car with cold water to remove excess dirt and remnants of the finish.

– Rinse the wheel wells to remove mud and dirt that can accumulate in the bodywork and that can lead to trapped moisture and cause premature rust.

– Start at the top and lower the car.

– Use cold water as warm or hot water will remove the applied car wax.

– Wash the tires and wheels. Car wash soap and water will never damage a chrome or special wheel.

– Rinse off the soapy water and dry with a towel. I have found that an old soft bath towel does a wonderful job.

Special Note: The only thing that will remove tree sap from a car’s finish is cold water.

Bumps and scratches

As soon as you notice a small scratch or scratch in the paint, use some touch-up paint. Touch up paint will help prevent the spot from rusting. Larger dings, dents, and scratches also need to be taken care of as quickly as possible to prevent rust from developing.

Touch-up paint is available at most auto parts supply stores, however, if you have a specialist color check with your dealer. They should be able to order a tube for minimal cost.

Lubricate the doors

Here’s a quick trick to get the squeaking out of your car doors. Use new motor oil on your hood, tailgate and door gaskets to keep them properly lubricated. Pour the oil on the bottom of the door and also run it between the layers of steel to prevent it from sticking and rusting. Some have found that shooting the oil into your door holes is also helpful, but keep it away from window tracks to prevent the oil from staining the glass.

For best results, use a can of motor oil that you can pick up at an auto parts store. However, avoid using old oil that contains acids that will cause your car to rust.

Don’t forget the interior

You’ve heard the phrase “carry in, carry” related to camping or picnicking in a state or national park, but many find that same philosophy useful when it comes to keeping the interior of your car clean and clutter-free.

Here are some more tips for cleaning the interior of your vehicle:

– Be prepared with plastic trash bags in the glove compartment for trash and seal organizer boxes for toys, tools, and first aid supplies.

– Keep floor mats clean by covering them with cheap plastic mats that can be cleaned easily.

– Multitasking: When buying fuel is a good time to empty your car’s trash. Most petrol stations have rubbish bins next to the fuel pumps, so why not take advantage of them and get rid of any rubbish that may have accumulated.

– Sweep the carpet and dust the dashboard.

– Treat leather or vinyl with products designed for the task.

– A soft, damp cloth is an excellent tool to remove dust from the dashboard without causing any damage.

Upholstery stain cleaning

Before you can effectively clean a stain, you first need to identify what it is. Tar and oil stains will require a solvent (petroleum) based cleaner. Pour some of the solvent onto a cloth and rub lightly in circular motions until it is gone. Repeat if necessary.

Food, soda, and other non-oil based stains will respond best to mild soap and water. I found an automotive product called Tuff Stuff that works great on everything from fabric to vinyl to carpet. However, it is not a solvent based product so it will not remove tar or oil stains.

Cleaning the windows

There’s nothing like looking through a clean windshield. Use a good glass cleaner and a soft cloth when washing your windows. Try this trick: clean the inside of the windows with a horizontal motion and a vertical motion on the outside of the window. That way, if there is a streak you can quickly identify which side of the window it is on.

just in case

Always have a pencil and paper in your car in case you have an accident. Also, keep all your car documents in one folder for easy access. Most cell phones are equipped with cameras, however, if you don’t have one, keep a disposable camera handy to take photos of the accident scene to use with the police or your insurance company.

My car is TOO dirty – I don’t know where to start

If you’ve been neglecting your car maintenance, fear not. Invest in a car detailer for your car or truck. For a fee of between $75 and $150, they will clean your car like new and make it easier for you to maintain your vehicle in the future.

Once they’ve got you back on the road, just keep washing, vacuuming and dusting as normal to keep your car in tip-top condition. A well-maintained car adds value when it comes time to resell.

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