We spend a lot of time discussing how to take care of the mechanics and inner workings of your car, but it is also important not to neglect your vehicle’s appearance. Keeping the exterior clean maintains the new-car finish that could result in a higher resale value.

Washing your car isn’t very complicated, but there are some things that need to be taken into consideration. Use these nine tips the next time you wash your car to help keep its value.

  1. Wear the right clothes.

When you wash your car, make sure that you are wearing comfortable clothes without any metal zippers or snaps that can scratch your paint. Remember to remove jewelry and belts before washing as well to avoid potential scratches.

  1. Wash your car weekly.
    Don’t wait until your car is visibly dirty to wash it. Wash it every week or at least twice a month to remove dirt, dust, pollen, bird droppings, and other contaminants that dull your vehicle’s finish. There are compounds in bird waste that can leave you with a dull spot in your paint. In extreme cases, pollutants and acid rain can even strip the paint from your vehicle.
  2. Wash in the shade.
    You shouldn’t wash a hot car. High temperatures can cause deposits that eventually damage paint. Wait until the heat of the day passes before getting started, and park in a shaded area.
  3. Use the right products.
    Despite what you may have learned growing up, you should never use dish soap to clean your vehicle. Using dish soap is sure to damage the paint. Instead use a cleaning product created specifically for cars. Also, a large sponge or wash mitt and a hose with running water are must-have items for car washing. If you don’t have access to a hose with running water, you may not want to wash the car yourself. Using water in a bucket for rinsing may work grit into the surface and scratch the paint, and makes it so that you cannot rinse all the grit from the vehicle.

Read the directions on the products that you use. Some products might have tips on how to get the best results, and others may have specific times that you should follow before rinsing or buffing.

  1.  Wash the car in sections.
    Work on one area at a time: washing, rinsing and drying. Don’t move the sponge or mitt in circles as circular motions can create swirl marks. Move the sponge in straight lines instead. When drying, remember that towels are made to absorb liquid and not to rub and scrub. Lay the towel flat and pat it down on the car then pull it away. (You will probably need several towels.) You can see this technique at the 3:00 mark in this video from Fifth Gear. (Watch the whole video for valuable car washing tips from professional detailers.)
  2. Clean the wheels.

Give your wheel cleaner a chance to work by starting it before you wash the rest of the car.  Think of it like soaking your dishes before you wash them. Brake dust and wheel grime are more difficult to remove than what is on the rest of your vehicle, so they need a little more time to be broken down. While the wheels’ soak, clean your vehicle from the top down.

  1. Open your car’s doors, hood, and trunk/hatch when you’re drying.

Water gets trapped in these areas and will run out while you’re driving and leave streaks on your paint as it dries. Wipe all around the edges of these parts, and if your grille has slats, wipe each one down as well.

  1. Wax your car twice a year.
    The best times to wax your car are in the fall before the first snow falls, and in the spring before hot weather moves in.
  2. Detail your interior.

Toss out any trash, vacuum the carpets, and use some cloth or leather cleaner on the seats. Don’t forget to dust the dashboard and instruments. Be sure to remove the floor mats and vacuum underneath them. You may be surprised at the amount of stuff that gets stuck there. Use a carpet cleaner and a nail brush to scrub out any stains on the car floor. Also, remember to vacuum under the trunk liner if your vehicle has one.

We hope you find these car washing tips helpful.

Meridian Automotive provides complete automotive repair in Meridian, Idaho for most cars, light trucks, and SUV’s. Don’t just trust anyone with your maintenance needs, trust the experts at Meridian Automotive. Call us today (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.

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