4 Different Methods to Wash Your Car

There are two major things that affect the value of your car, reports Investopedia: your car’s mileage and your car’s condition. The latter is admittedly subjective. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But while people might differ on preferences like your paint color or the value of your aftermarket add-ons, everyone can agree that a polished, clean car immediately stands out in the crowd. Keep your car sparkling and protect its value by washing it twice a month or whenever dirt and grime build-up. As a savvy car owner, you can use several different methods to wash your car, each with its own distinct pros and cons.

1. Wash Your Car By Hand

Put in some elbow grease to remove road grease. Hand washing your car is the standard go-to for beginners. It is budget-friendly and simple, and it lets you give your car your own personal attention and focus. All you need is a bucket, some car wash detergent, and a sponge or rag.

For the best results:

  • Use car wash soap/detergent (dishwasher detergent or similar products can damage your car’s paint)
  • Rinse your car first with a hose
  • Wash and rinse your car in small sections to minimize water spots or streaking
  • Use a soft microfiber cloth or sponge to avoid creating micro-scratches as you scrub your car
  • Don’t forget easy-to-miss spots like wheel wells

2. Drive Through an Automated Car Wash

Get a clean car without the time and hassle of handwashing by using an automated car wash. You drive in, put your car in park, and let the car wash do all the heavy lifting. It’s pricier than hand washing, especially if you’re using a car wash several times a month, but some owners prefer the more effortless approach to maintain their car’s shine.

For optimal results:

  • Don’t rush through the pre-rinse spray and post-wash drying cycle that bookend the drive-through portion of the car wash
  • Try to only use brushless (sometimes referred to as “touchless”) car washes, because older car washes that use spinning abrasive brushes can often create numerous scratches in your vehicle’s finish
  • Skip the pricey add-ons: According to Consumer Reports, they don’t provide any lasting benefits to your car

3. Add a Clay Bar

Clay bar detailing elevates the traditional hand wash or automated wash. It’s an extra step in the car wash process. Using a clay bar, you give your vehicle another cleaning. The special compounds in the bar help to trap and remove road grit, metal dust and other pollutants and particles that bond to your car’s surface and are difficult to remove during the initial washing process.

The goal of this type of washing isn’t just cosmetic. If not removed, over time the bonded particles can create minuscule damage in your car’s clear coat.

4. Try Car Detailing Wash Methods

Some detailers may use more technical methods of washing your car that are not commonly practiced at home by car owners. For example, many detailers favor a rinseless wash method inspired by celebrity detailer Garry Dean. Using a specialized rinseless wash solution, these detailers mix it with a very small amount of water and wipe down your car with it.

Other specialized methods include:

  • Waterless wash: Detailers spritz the car’s surface with a specialized waterless wash solution, then wipe away grime with a microfiber cloth
  • Steam cleaning: A specialized approach using high levels of heat to remove substances like sealants, waxes, or bumper sticker adhesive

Was Your Car Damaged While Being Washed?

At Tropical Collision Center, we’ve seen it all. Our Miami auto body shop doesn’t just help smart drivers like you to navigate the auto body collision repair process. Our highly trained technicians can also do spot paint repairs for cars whose finish was ruined in a car wash. We can even do full repaints to get your vehicle looking factory new! Give our friendly team a call at (305) 908-5548 to learn more, or contact us online today.

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