Clean Your Car

Your vehicle is one of the biggest investments you make. Keeping things clean inside and out will help your vehicle last longer, look better and hold its value over time. Plus, when your car looks good, you look good.

START WITH THE INTERIOR

Start by cleaning out any trash and debris so you can vacuum your floors, upholstery and hard-to-reach areas thoroughly. Dust and dirt combined with moisture can eventually cause stains and odors.
Check your carpet and seats for stains, and use an automotive stain lifter to remove them. If your upholstery is leather, use cleaner or wipes designed specifically for leather. This will condition and clean it to prevent drying and cracking.
Use a duster or interior brush to clear the dash, instrument panels and steering column of any dust that was stirred up when you vacuumed. Then, use spray cleaner or wipes to put the final layer of protection on your dash, armrests, steering wheel, etc.


WASHING YOUR VEHICLE'S EXTERIOR

TIRES & WHEELS

First, find a shady place to wash your vehicle. The heat of the sun will cause soap and water to dry quickly, which makes spots and deposits more likely.

Your wheels will likely be the dirtiest part of your vehicle, and the chemicals used to wash them are the harshest. Washing them first will allow any overspray or dirt from the wheels to be rinsed away as you continue to wash your vehicle.

Be sure to use wheel cleaner for your specific wheel type, or a cleaner that is recommended for all types. Using the wrong chemical can ruin the appearance of your wheels. Once your wheel cleaner is applied and allowed to loosen the dust and dirt, simply scrub and rinse. For extreme dirt and grime, the wheels can be removed and washed, inside and out, separate from the vehicle.

Use a tire cleaner and contoured brush to scrub and then rinse your tires to create the jet-black look.

WASHING YOUR CAR’S BODY

If you’ve cleaned your tires and wheels first, you’re ready to rinse your car gently from the top down. Do your best to keep the car wet as you wash so no spots form on the paint. Have one of your buckets filled with soapy water and one with clean water. As you wash your vehicle one section at a time (starting at the top and slowly working your way around), make sure your mitt or sponge stays soapy. Use the bucket of clean water to rinse out your mitt frequently so it doesn’t hold dirt that can cause tiny scratches in your paint. Make sure the water in your clean-water bucket stays clear.

Use a separate mitt for the wheel wells and lower edge of the body because of the excessive dirt and grime deposited there. This is the area where bug and tar remover may be necessary if soap alone doesn’t do the trick.

Once your vehicle is washed and rinsed thoroughly, it can be gently blotted dry using microfiber towels.


TAR & BONDED CONTAMINANTS

When you’re done washing your vehicle, you may notice “bumps” on its surface where tar, sap or other substances have bonded to your vehicle’s paint. Before you wax, use a clay bar (shaped into a disc) and spray detailer (for lubrication) to rub these bonded contaminants off the surface of your vehicle.

WAXING YOUR VEHICLE

Make sure your spot is still shady and that your car is completely dry. Using an applicator pad, apply the thinnest possible coat of wax to a single panel, then use a microfiber towel to buff away the haze. Work your way around the vehicle one section at a time, as leaving wax on for too long can make buffing more difficult. Keep extra pads and towels handy so that you don’t have to use them once they’re soiled or caked with wax.

If you find yourself in a time crunch or your vehicle is already relatively clean, you can opt for a one-step cleaner wax to give it a quick shine. Also, keeping a spray detailer and clean microfiber towel in your vehicle allows you to maintain its appearance between washes.

FINISHING TOUCHES

FOR YOUR WINDOWS:

Choose a window cleaner designed specifically for automotive use. Other glass cleaners contain ammonia, which can be damaging to tint and paint. Clean your windows inside and out, and try wiping with newspaper to prevent streaking.

FOR YOUR HEADLIGHTS:

If you notice a haze over your headlights that isn’t corrected by washing, a headlight restoration kit can be used to increase the clarity of the headlight lenses and improve visibility when your lights are on.