19 Aug How to Wash a Car… DAMAGE FREE!!!
To keep your car looking new, it is imperative you wash your car at least once/quarter. This does not mean it is ok to leave bug guts or bird crap on your paint for longer than a couple days. Take the 2-3 minutes to spot clean them b/c the acids and enzymes are extremely damaging and will pass through any carnauba wax or synthetic sealant in minutes. If you are lucky enough to have Tectanium, it will defend your paint for you until your annual inspection. Most of the wear and tear scratching comes from improper maintenance, especially the routine car wash. Do not take your car through an automatic car wash that will beat all sorts of scratches into your paint.
Items needed: 5 gal bucket, grit guard, car wash, microfiber towels, bug sponge, wheel spoke brush and peanut sponge.
Prior to washing the body panels, you want to take your time to carefully remove all heavy surface contamination without causing damage to the clear coat or Tectanium coating. These areas take on the brunt of the road grime from normal, everyday driving. The “grimier areas” are loaded with contamination that, if drug across any painted area, wreaks havoc on the appearance of the vehicle. So, lets break down each problem area carefully to make sure that we remove contamination, yet still leave a scratch free, beautiful paint job.
Lets start with the front bumper. I have two words for cleaning my front bumper – “f*#k bugs!” Hopefully you are a coating customer who decided to put Tectanium on your bumper; otherwise, this step might take up your entire Saturday morning. Regardless, the key here is to remove all bug gut remains without scratching your paint or leaving bug etchings. Most people grab something called a bug sponge or grab any old towel and scrub the hell out of the bumper to remove the remains. Sure, you get the job done, but you just annihilated your clear coat, leaving spider webbing or swirls all over your front end. Varigon has special chemicals to soak this area for a few minutes prior to agitating gently to remove, with ease; all bug guts and other grim from the front bumper. All you need to do is grab a soft microfiber towel or sponge to release these guts from the paint. After you have removed all bug guts from the bumper, simply rinse off JUST THE BUMPER (NOT THE HOOD, FENDER,ETC.) and chamois off bumper.
LEAVING WATER ON THE PAINT WHILE WORKING ON OTHER AREAS OF THE CAR WILL GUARANTEE WATER SPOTTING… I DON’T CARE HOW SOFT YOU THINK YOUR WATER IS!
Let’s move on to the Wheel Wells, Tires and Rims. Again, the key here is to use a chemical to loosen up the grime, making your job easier and guaranteeing a better result. Varigon Tire and Wheel cleaner works great for this step. Soak the entire wheel and rim with the degreaser as well as the wheel well lip of the front fenders. The tires love to throw up tar, mud, road paint, etc on this thin lip. Let the area soak for about a minute. Take a soft bug sponge out of the bucket and gently rub the wheel well lip to lift off the heavy grime. Then grab the rim brush and bug sponge and clean all detail areas of the rim and tires. Rinse these areas and chamois water off body if any water is resting on the paint. Do all 4 tires prior to next area.
Rocker Panels are the long thin panels that run under your doors from the front wheel well to the rear. It typically runs under the side about 4-6 inches and has a lip perpendicular to the ground. This lip is a trap for road grime and if not cleaned regularly, paint damage happens and rust will ensue. The areas directly behind the front tire always collect heavy contamination that will scratch the hell out of your car if you don’t get it off prior to panel washing. Again, grab the degreaser, soak the areas and then grab the bug sponge to gently remove all grime. Rinse and chamois. Do this on both sides of car/truck.
The sides of the rear bumper take on a lot of road grime as well and need to be soaked every time prior to washing. On performance vehicles, the rear bumper can stain with exhaust smoke. Varigon Rail and Brake Dust remover will dissolve the carbon and a soft sponge will wipe away the grime. The area under the trunk and above the bumper (the license plate area) will take on the carbon exhaust as well so if you notice just focus on that area, soak, rub and rinse then chamois.
Before moving on to the panels, the last place to attack is the front windshield, posts and mirrors. Again – “f*#k bugs!” soak with Varigon Tar, Adhesive and Bug remover and gently rub bug sponge over areas until guts are gone. Rinse this area and chamois.
Now that you have removed all heavy contamination it is time to clean the MOST IMPORTANT PART, YOUR PAINT!! If there is heavy dirt on any painted area that will take scrubbing to clean handle these areas the same as you did the “grimier areas” and soak with a chemical prior to sponging the panel.
WARNING: YOUR WATER IS HARD WATER!! IT 100% CONTAINS MINERALS THAT IF LEFT TO EVAPORATE IN WATER ON YOUR CAR, WILL LEAVE HARD WATER SPOTS WILL PERMANENTLY ETCH YOUR CLEAR COAT THAT IF LEFT UNATTENDED.
If it is a really hot day, I would suggest washing in the shade or waiting until it is cooler. Do not allow water to dry on your car. If this is unavoidable then wash one panel at a time, chamois before moving on. If temperature isn’t an issue and you can wash the entire vehicle without evaporation then simply soak entire vehicle, sponge from the top of the car down, finishing on the bottom of the doors, which can hold heavy grim too.
Rinse the entire vehicle and dry off immediately with a chamois. If you are a Tectanium owner, what will be left is a vehicle that looks like you spent either a lot of money or a lot of time polishing and waxing. If you don’t have Tectanium, you must protect your car at this point to prevent damage from the environment.