Now that winter is finally over, it’s time to wash and wax your car to help keep its paint nice and fresh! It’s important to give it a thorough cleaning to get rid of any contaminants left on by snow, ice melt and other winter contaminants or offroad debris doing damage to your vehicle. In order to protect your clear-coat and keep your 4×4 looking fresh for many years to come, use these tips.
1) Read All Labels
If you’ve never used a specific car care product before, it’s helpful to read all labels first. This will ensure you are using the product not only properly to maximize it’s full potential, but to prevent any misuse of the product that could damage your paint.
2) Wash All Parts
It’s best to wash your vehicle in the morning or in shade so water doesn’t dry in spots on the paint. Salt and other corrosive materials from the snow get spread around everywhere on your vehicle. It’s important to give it a good wash and get every part. Make sure the undercarriage is cleaned, wheels, paint and any other nooks and crannies that are hard to reach. It’s nice to have a dedicated car cleaner product and a power hose for washing, but normal dish soap will work fine. It’s also nice to have two buckets, one for clean, soapy water, and the other to wring out your sponge to get rid of all the dirt. If you don’t separate the buckets of water, you’ll end up putting the dirt back on your car. When you’re done, dry with a microfiber towel.
3) Wash the Wheels!
Your wheels and tires are what pick up the most grime off the road, so it’s important to wash these as they can spread corrosive parts all over your car. If you want to polish the wheels, make sure you buy the appropriate polish so it doesn’t react negatively to your material. Some wheels might have a chrome finish, where others can be made from aluminum or steel.
4) Time to Use a Clay Bar
Using a clay bar is something a lot of people overlook. A clay bar will help remove any rough particles stuck onto the clear-coat and smooth it out saving the paint and making it last much longer. You can also use it on car windows as well. Take the clay bar and knead it so it’s flat and slightly more pliable. Apply a detailing spray (usually included in a car clay kit) to the paint and rub the clay firmly side to side. You shouldn’t feel too much resistance, but if you do spray more detailer on. Once you work an area and see black grime covering the clay bar, fold it in half and knead it out flat again. Once you’ve run out of white surface area, move onto a new piece of clay. This will take a lot of time and elbow grease, but if you do this you will add years of life to your vehicle’s paint.
5) Time to Wax!
After using the clay bar, it’s time to apply wax. Wax will offer long-term protection from the elements and will make it shine. The best way to use wax is to apply thin, even coats and to apply it a few times a year. Spread it over one section of the car’s body at a time, let it briefly dry and apply firm pressure in a circular motion. You can use a power buffer to help with this task, but using some elbow grease and a terry cloth or microfiber towel will work just fine. Make sure that when you’re applying wax you are in shade and the car is completely dry.
6) Cleaning the Interior
While it’s not part of the paint, the interior gets a lot of abuse from snow and the cold and it’s important to take care of it as well. Remove all the carpets, and vacuum them as well as the interior with a shop-vac or other powerful vacuum cleaner. If you’re really particular about keeping your car clean, you can use carpet cleaner to wash the carpets. Use a soft brush on the seats to prevent ripping, and use a multipurpose automotive cleaner on areas such as the dashboard and trim. If you have leather, use a leather cleaner that’s made specifically for car seats. Use a conditioning product as well to help keep them protected from the sun.
If you take care of your 4×4 or other vehicle, you’ll enjoy it much more and it will last much longer. Any sort of auto repair in Fort Collins or other 4×4 mechanic will have recommendations on what products will work best for your vehicle.