Exterior Clean and Pristine
Automobile Maintenance

Keep Your Exterior Clean and Pristine

Did you know the annual American household spends 1.5% of its annual income on car maintenance? We all want our vehicle to look great, but there are ways to do it that do not cost the earth. All you need to know is how to maintain your automobile properly. 

Part of that comes down to a thorough washing regime. Read on as we discuss how to clean a car exterior correctly. 

How to Clean a Car Exterior

Knowing how to clean the exterior of a car is as much about protecting it as making it look good. Many types of dirt that your car will attract, such as bird droppings, rotting foliage, and mud, are corrosive. This means letting them sit on your vehicle can cause serious damage to the coating, which can only be repaired professionally. 

When it comes to washing a vehicle, you have two choices. This is between taking it to a machine car wash or doing it by hand. Many people believe machine car washes are too abrasive, but this is not a fact and they can give very thorough jobs on your vehicle without damaging it. 

If you decide to wash the car yourself, then there are a number of steps you can follow. Firstly, let the car cool if the engine has been running or it has been sat in direct sunlight. Use a concentrated car solution mixed with warm water. 

Start with a sponge or washing glove on the roof of the car, working down to the windows. Once you have reached this point, stop and rinse. This allows you to prevent the soap from drying on the car. 

Next, carry on working in sections on either the hood or trunk, stopping and rinsing before you move to the next section. After this, work down the sides moving in panels. Stop and rinse after each one. 

Always do the wheels last. As they collect the most dirt from the road, doing them first would only muddy your water. 

Drying the Vehicle

Though you may be tempted to let the car dry in the air, this may cause streaks on the bodywork. Instead, use soft clean towels to dry each section after you rinse it. Make sure they are lint-free, so no fibers stick to the body of the vehicle. 

Waxing the Car

How to keep a car exterior clean starts and ends with waxing. Wax adds an extra layer of protection over the body of the car. This means that road salt, UV rays, tree sap, and bird droppings are not in contact with the paintwork, preventing corrosion. 

Wax also helps stop these items from adhering to your car, due to its surface. You will also get a beautiful shine if applied correctly. 

Start by pouring a little of the wax onto a pad. Apply the wax in a small area using a circular motion until it starts to form a haze. Give it a few minutes, then wipe away this haze with a light, microfiber cloth. 

Car Exterior Protection

One way to protect the exterior of a vehicle is with a ceramic coating. While a ceramic coating will not stop your car from getting dirty, it can provide an extra layer of defense against the pollutants that will damage it. 

It does this by applying a silica-based coating over the paintwork. This creates an invisible coating, almost like a shell, over the delicate paintwork of your vehicle. It is great for coating a vehicle as it is heat, chemical, water, and impact resistant. 

Ceramic coatings costs have just reached a price where it is reasonable enough for someone to apply a coating to their own car. However, to do the application right takes skill, so it may be better to get a professional to apply it for you. 

Vehicle Protectants

Protectants can help keep the plastic and rubber parts of your vehicle intact. They suffer just as much from road pollutants as the rest of your vehicles. However, they are more susceptible to corrosion.

The prime places to find these fittings are the doors and window moldings. The tires and around the mirrors will also benefit from protectants. Apply generously with a cloth, and keep applying until the areas are dry. 

Touching Up

Should you have scratches and nicks on your bodywork, then touching them up should be done immediately. If not, dirt and pollutants have a clear path to the layers under the coat of paint. This can mean they begin causing corrosion problems on the inside of the chassis. 

The best way to do this is by taking it to a trained specialist. This is because they will be able to restore all the layers on the car to their original condition. This gives it the protection it would have had when brand new. 

If this costs too much, then you can do it yourself. Your vehicle should have a color code, either in the manual or affixed to a plate somewhere in the vehicle. Using this, you can purchase the correct color spray or touch-up pen.

Matte Paint

Matte paint has its own set of rules. This is because matte has an uneven surface. If you apply the washing and polishing process you would do with gloss, then you gradually wear away that uneven surface.

Always wash matte paint cars by hand. Do not polish them. For touch-ups, you should always visit a specialist dealer. 

Get a Schedule

Now that you know how to clean a car exterior, you need to develop a schedule. The frequency of washing depends on the environment and conditions the car drives in. As a rule of thumb, at the minimum, a car should be washed every month. 

If you enjoyed our article, visit the rest of our blog. We have everything from auto reviews to car maintenance, to keep you on the road this season!