As summer has drawn to an end, there may be a few things you want to get ticked off your ‘to-do’ list before the cold weather kicks and the nights get darker. Giving your car a good pre-winter wash down may be one of the things. IAM RoadSmart’s Richard Gladman, Head of Driving & Riding Standards gives us some handy tips on getting our cars squeaky clean.
- Car shampoo: It’s important to use a proper car shampoo and NOT washing up liquid.To start, fill a bucket with hot water (this will save your hands from freezing off), and use a few caps of shampoo, try not to overdo the shampoo – if you use too much, you’ll have lots of streaks.
- Hose down the car: Get the entire body wet, this will soften the grime making it easier to wash off. Soak stubborn marks or debris for a little while longer, such as bird droppings, as it may not shift for a while. Sponges: It’s easy to get your hands on sponges these days and they are fairly cheap. Make sure to replace any that are falling apart. Ideally keep two buckets, one with the wash solution and another of just water to rinse the sponge (the grit will be in the bucket which just has rinse water in it). Make sure to rinse the sponge often and place a ‘grit guard’ in the bottom of the bucket if you have one.
- The washing process: Start at the roof and work your way down to the sills; wash the wheels last. This means all the dirt runs down and off the car, instead of dripping onto the bits you’ve just cleaned. Be sure to rinse off all the shampoo and finish off with a chamois leather or a microfibre cloth to dry the car.
- Polish: This part is optional, but if you polish your car, be sure to choose a polish which is suitable for the paintwork of your car. The shine will last even longer as the polish acts as a barrier between the paint and the dirt. Regular washing will keep the car looking new for longer!
- Seats and carpets: Give the seats and carpets a good vacuum using the best attachment you have for those hard to reach areas. You may even find a pound or two down there.
- Wiping down the interior: Use a cloth and glass cleaning spray when cleaning the windows, especially on the inside where grime builds up. Use a dashboard cleaner or wipes on the dashboard, steering wheel, gear stick, handles and other touch-points. These days it’s also worth a thorough wipe down with an anti-bacterial spray. You may want to do this on a regular basis, to help avoid the spread of germs.
- Some drivers take the car ’round the block’ after washing to apply the brakes and avoid rust building up on the wet brake discs. This also frees hidden drops of water from panel gaps as you can wipe them away to finish the job.
Richard adds: “Washing and cleaning the car can be a tedious job for many, but it is a great way to burn the calories especially if you include polishing. Once you have done the job, step back, admire your work, give yourself a pat on the back and tick it off your list.”