Car Washing Tips

A shiny, clean vehicle, absent of road dust and the smell of stale takeout…there’s nothing quite like it! It’s not the daunting task you think it may be. Here are a few tips on how to bring back that new car shine and extend the life of your vehicle.

How often to wash?

Well that depends on what you’re driving and what your goal is. Me, I drive a 20-year old Tacoma and wash it just often enough to hold the car cancer at bay so the body keeps pace with the mileage. If you want to protect the paint for the long haul, experts suggest washing weekly.

Leave the Dawn under the kitchen sink where it belongs!

Always, always, always use products designed for autos. They are specially formulated to work on today’s auto paint finishes. Armor All® carries an extensive line of washes and waxes. 

The magic of microfiber.

Microfiber, as the name suggests, is made up of very tiny, fine fibers making it less likely to mar finishes and ideal for washing and drying cars. There are a number of microfiber drying towels and wash mitts on the market, including the Armor All® Microfiber Wash Mitt. 

Washing basics.

You don’t have to speed wash but you do want to get to the rinsing before the suds dry. There are a few things you can do to achieve this. First, wash your car in the shade, not in the heat of the sun. Yes, this eliminates the ability to catch a few rays while washing your car but you won’t have to deal with soapy water spots. The second thing you can do to avoid dried on suds is to wash and rinse in sections. Start at the top of the car and work your way down.

The double bucket method.

Fill a second bucket with clean water and use it to rinse your mitt in between sections. This gives you a clean, grit-free mitt to work with for each panel of your car. Dump and refill the rinsing bucket as needed.

To clay or not to clay?

After you’ve washed and dried your vehicle, run your hand lightly along the surface of the paint. Does it feel smooth as a baby’s bottom? If not, get yourself a clay kit to remove fine particles as needed.

Polishing vs waxing – what’s the diff?

Polishing gives your vehicle a nice, sparkly shine but it does nothing to protect your car’s finish. If your vehicle is a few years old and has lost its new car luster, you can give it a polish to bring back its sheen. However, if you want to protect your auto’s finish from contaminates then waxing is the way to go. For continued protection, experts suggest waxing every 3 months.

What about automated car washes?

There’s nothing wrong with hitting the car wash once in a while, especially for getting the hard to wash spots like the undercarriage and wheels. There are a few things to keep in mind though. It goes without saying that brushless is a must. Keep a clean microfiber drying towel in your car to wipe away wet spots the blowers may leave behind.

Finally, don’t forget about the interior. If you plan on selling your car down the road, the condition of the interior will have a big impact on your resale value. Vacuum often, wipe down surfaces to remove gunk and apply a protectant to prevent UV damage. Use Armor All® Interior Mats to protect seats and cargo areas.