Maintaining Vehicle Appearance – Exterior Clean and Polish

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,093
    Keep your ride shiny all year long with these helpful tips.

    John Nielsen: Hi! I'm John Nielsen with AAA's approved Auto Repair. Maintaining the appearance of our car is a great way to have a cool ride and also protect our investment.

    Now the first thing we're going to do is just give it a good bath and to do that, you want to have a lot of fresh water and some car cleaning soap. Spray your car down. Get as much loose dirt, sand, road salt off. The next step will be to clean it with a dedicated carwash soap and this is really important, because many normal household cleaners will actually remove the wax and maybe the biggest offender is dishwashing soap.

    So get some dedicated carwash soap, follow the instructions on the bottle, mix it properly, take a carwash mat, and wash off all the dirt from the car. Take your time, get the exterior well, make sure that you get in the nooks and crannies and get any excess dirt off.

    The next, we're going to rinse it good and it's important to make sure that we get all the old soap off the outside of our car. So take your time, make sure you get it out, don't forget the door jams, don't forget the fuel tank filler, make sure that you rinse that well.

    Next, it's important to dry our car, so we don't get water spots, and to do that, the best tool-mate is a shammy. The old-fashioned natural skin shammies work great. You want to get this wet, bring it out well, and dry off your vehicle and it really is important to get all the water off.

    Now when we are done with that, there are a couple of things that we might want to consider depending on what conditioner or paints are. The first is something called the clay bar and this is a product that actually has a very, very mild abrasive in it and if you go over your car with a clay bar, it will actually remove things like rail dust, like contaminants from the environment and can turn a car that looks nice into a great looking car.

    When you go to the store to purchase your cleaning supplies, you'll see polishes on the shelf. Now polishes are often used in older paint jobs, but today's cars use a clear coat paint that can be damaged by an aggressive polish. So it's a good idea to take a look at anything you're going to buy to polish your car and make sure that it says clear coat safe.

    If you put all these tips together, you can keep the outside of your car looking good and really protect your investment for the long run.