Essential Accessories For Spring Clean-Up
Making your car look its best is easy, if you have the right tools. The key is knowing what to bring out with the wash bucket.
“Getting a great-looking car doesn’t take a lot of time. You just need to follow some simple steps,” said Richard Stewart Gainer, senior test technician at Black Coral and Black Magic.
Use a terrycloth, microfiber towel or sponge made specifically for vehicles. This will help prevent scratching. Rinsing with a heavy spray tends to leave behind large droplets. Also, left-over suds can cause spotting.
A tire brush removes the browning that causes tires to look dull. Apply a tire dressing to compliment the luster of painted surfaces.
Dry your vehicle with a microfiber towel or chamois to prevent water spots.
Minerals left behind when droplets dry create a crusty layer on the vehicle’s clear coat. Wash a vehicle section by section to prevent water spotting.
Car dusters are an ideal accessory for sprucing up a vehicle between washes.
“Dusting is like any other task, you need the right tools to do a complete the job,” said Brian Torres, vice president of sales for the Original California Car Duster. “What you should look for is something that attracts and collects dust, rather than something that just moves it around.”
Here are some of Gainer’s tips to remember when washing your vehicle:
- Dark-colored vehicles show dust accumulation quickly. Apply a spray wax detailer every two or three weeks and a carnauba-based wax every three months.
- Clean tires and wheels last. Brake dust damages painted surfaces--do not use the same cloth, sponge or contaminated water on the vehicle exterior.
- Apply a carnauba-based wax every three months to protect painted surfaces. Silicon-based products tend to create a smeared appearance on black or dark-colored vehicles.
- Consider using a “glaze wax” on new or newly painted dark surfaces. This enhances the natural shine without using polishing compounds that may wear down the surface. One caveat: A glaze wax on an older vehicle can make imperfections stand out.
- Use a spray detailer every two to three weeks. It maintains the high gloss shine in between major wax applications. It also prevents contaminants such as bird droppings, road tar and tree sap from creating staining your vehicle exterior.
- Dust your vehicle frequently with a product designed specifically for automobiles. Even a light layer of dust dulls a dark-colored surface.
- Remove road tar quickly. It is abrasive and causes stains that show up readily on dark surfaces. Tar- removal products soften it and make it easier to remove without damaging paint.
- Avoid harsh solvents such as detergents. Dish soap or household cleaners can permanently damage paint and rubber surfaces.
- Look for soaps and cleaners designed to remove bugs and road grime from vehicle surfaces. Be sure it is intended for automobile surfaces and rinses easily.
- Sponges with soft netting can trap insect parts, so be sure to rinse the sponge frequently. Insect parts and grit trapped in the netting acts like sandpaper.
- Dust, then detail. Lay down a layer of surface detailer after dusting a clean car for best results.
- Use a light touch. Lightly drape the duster over the vehicle and gently drag. Don’t push down and rub.
- Use separate tools for separate tasks. The tool wiping brake dust off your wheels shouldn’t also be used on the upholstery or dashboard.