HOW TO WASH AND DRY THE CAR WITHOUT SCRATCHING THE PAINT
Your car is part of you — a trusted road companion that stylishly transports you from place to place. You’re proud of your car and always want it looking the best. That’s why it’s essential you keep it clean with regular car washes and detailing, and learn the proper way to wash and dry the car without scratching the paint. Another way to preserve your paint job is to have a premium paint protection film professionally installed. Let’s break down the best ways to keep your car’s paint job looking brand new:
HOW TO WASH YOUR CAR AND PREVENT SCRATCHES
Clean water and quality cleaning products are key to keeping swirl marks, scratches and dull paint at bay. However, you might be surprised at what you should and shouldn’t do and use along the way.
- Wash and dry in shaded areas: Always wash and dry your car in a shaded area. And don’t make the mistake of cleaning a hot car — water evaporates faster and will inevitably create water spots.
- Spray before scrubbing: Ensure you wash away all that grit and grime with a water hose or high-pressure car wash hose. Any remaining dirt can grind into the paint should you scrub it with a towel or other cleaning product (more on those below).
- Two buckets are better than one: One bucket holds soapy water, the other has always-clean rinse water on hand. The idea is to wring out your wash mitt or cloth in the rinse bucket before every plunge into the soapy-water bucket, thus keeping grit and grime out of the soapy H20. Dump and replace rinse water often. You could also add this great Grit Guard to the bottom of the bucket, which traps dirt below the insert and away from your wash mitt and other cleaning tools.
- Say no to dishwasher detergent: It contains a degreaser that can strip wax from the clear coat, resulting in a lackluster shine. Look for a reputable car wash soap that will protect your paint for years to come.
- Find the right wash mitt: Stay away from synthetic sponges and washcloths, as they absorb dirt and debris that can transfer to your car’s paint and possibly scratch it. Absorbent microfiber cloths are a good choice because they’re soft, durable and extremely gentle on car’s paint. The tiny strands of fiber work together to pull away dirt and dust, minimizing the risk of scratches or smudges. Just be sure to rinse cloths often.
- Wash tires separately: You don’t want dirt from tires getting on your vehicle’s paint, so use separate buckets, brushes, etc. to get tires totally clean. Consider washing and rinsing tires before the rest of the car.
HOW TO DRY YOUR CAR AFTER WASHING IT
Now that you’ve mastered how to wash your ride, it’s time to learn how to dry your car like a pro. Here’s what you need to know once your car is rinsed, drip-dried and ready to go:
- Pick a paint-safe squeegee: The best way to scrape water from windows and mirrors, a squeegee just might be the best (and easiest) way to dry off your entire vehicle. Be sure the blade stays debris-free to avoid any scratches. Follow up with a quick microfiber-cloth wipe across the entire car.
- Ditch the old bath towels: The material of typical bath towels is terrible for paint. Again, microfiber may be the best towel to dry a car. If you go this route, have a large and small towel on hand. Synthetic chamois towels are also popular, as they’re soft, super-absorbent and can be easily wrung out to absorb even more water. The original real chamois (aka “Shammy”) is also an option, though takes a little more oomph overall to wash, dry and wring out.
- Get cracks and crevices: Wipe down jambs in doors, the trunk and hood. And don’t forget about the small strip of paint on the underside of your car.
- Dry wheels separately: Tires get the partition treatment again, but for good reason. To avoid any cross-contamination, use a separate towel or chamois dedicated to drying only the tires. Spraying your tires with a quality protectant offers both fortification and high shine.
- Post-dry detail: Use a spray wax, sealant or other kind of detailer spray to restore your car’s luster and extend the wax life.
- Beat the sun: Whether you’re drying with a squeegee or microfiber towel, work swiftly to avoid the sun acting as a dryer — you’ll end up with water spots.
USING PAINT PROTECTION FILM
Though regularly washing and drying your car is important, you can take it to the next level with paint protection film. Sometimes known as “clear bra” or “car bra” films, this virtually impervious thin film acts as a force shield, of sorts, that resists gravel dings, chipped paint, bug splatter and more. It really is the best way to preserve the factory paint job through the life of your car.
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