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7-step guide to caring for your car

Posted on: March 9, 2018 by Tim McClare

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Cleaning your car doesn’t just keep it looking good, it also makes it easier to maintain and, later on down the line, easier to sell. Here are the 7 steps you need to follow to keep your ride looking super slick.

Step 1 – Always read the label

Before you get busy with your car cleaning chemicals, read the label. Application methods vary from brand to brand and car to car and using the wrong product (or using the right product the wrong way) could cause some serious damage. We also recommend you invest in some microfibre cloths – keep separate ones for paint, wheels and windows and give them a wash after every use.

Step 2 – Rinse

Before you put pad to paint, it’s a good idea to park your car in a shady spot and give it a top-down rinse first. Rinsing your vehicle first with a high-pressure hose (or a high-pressure washer if you have one) helps to remove dirt and contaminants that can get caught up in your sponge or wash mitt and scratch the paint.

Step 3 – Wash

Next you want to grab a good quality car was detergent (household detergents can often contain harsh chemicals that can damage your vehicle’s paintwork) and start working from the top of the car down in sections and rinsing as you go. We also suggest a separate cloth or to clean door sills and exhaust tips as these can be especially dirty. Once you’ve washed and rinsed the vehicle, use a chamois to dry the vehicle off to help avoid water spots.

Step 4 – Prep your surface

After your car has had a good clean, you may notice scratches, swirls and oxidation in the paint that washing can’t remove. A clay bar is an effective, gentle way to remove more stubborn contaminates from the paint surface, restoring smoothness to the finish. For scratches and etching under the surface, you can use a compound applied by hand with applicator pads or a dual-action polisher, being careful to follow all instructions.

Step 5 – Polish

Polishing is an optional extra and can be done by hand or with a dual-action polisher. For dark coloured vehicles, it’s particularly effective as the conditioning oils add depth of colour and maximum gloss before waxing.

Step 6 – Wax on, wax off

Waxing protects your car from UV rays that can fade your finish, as well as anything that may land on the paint. You can go with a carnauba or polymer wax – both perform the same way but a polymer wax can usually be wiped off soon after application and won’t haze as it dries.

Step 7 – Windows and wheels

Steer clear of Windex and other household glass cleaners as they can damage your window tint. Instead, use an auto window cleaner, wiping down twice to ensure the cleaner is properly removed. For your wheels, use the cleaner formulated for your type of wheel. If you’re not sure, pick the least powerful version which can be used on all types of wheels.

And that’s it, you’re done!

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