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    Articles — Wash and Dry

    How DO I Wash My Car?

    Many of us enjoy the benefits of a freshly hand washed car. However, without proper knowledge you may be doing more harm than good. Washing a car improperly will induce micro-marring known as swirls or spider-webbing.

    The cause of this damage is due to foreign particles trapped in your washing materials. This can happen several ways, such as:

    • Improper storage of materials when not in use
    • Improper materials such as using Dishsoap* (See bottom note), old T-Shirts etc.
    • Improper washing techniques which lead to further damage in the drying stage

    Materials

    The following materials are recommended for proper washing:

      Procedure

        STEP 1

        When washing a car try to do it in an atmosphere where the paint surface is not hot to the touch.  Shade or garages are the best locations.  Overly high temperatures cause the water and soaps to evaporate too quickly, not giving them a chance to remove the necessary dirt particles.

        If possible work from top to bottom in a downward angle.

        STEP 2

        Start by thoroughly spraying the entire vehicle with a nozzled hose or pressure washer.  Pay particular attention to heavily soiled areas, trying to remove as much dirt as possible in this stage.

        STEP 3

        Use a Soap/Shampoo specifically designed for washing automotive paints. These Soaps/Shampoos have special oils and lubricants in them that are specially designed to lift and remove foreign particles. These Soaps/Shampoos are also very low on the PH scale and will not strip previous waxes.

        STEP 4

        Start by washing the wheels, this will prevent any brake dust, or harsh wheel cleaners from contaminating a freshly washed panel.

        STEP 5

        By using two buckets you greatly reduce the possibility of tracking dirt into your wash mitt. Your soapy water will also stay much cleaner.

        Simply fill one bucket with your soap/water mixture and the other bucket with just water.

        After every application of soap/water dip and shake the wash mitt in the water bucket. This will loosen and clean the wash mitt BEFORE applying more soap/water to the mitt. The Soap/Shampoo solution will stay much cleaner and the majority of dirt will stay in the water bucket. You can also use a special Grit Guard Bottom. These provide a screen or false floor in the bottom where loose particles fall beneath. This makes it impossible to come in contact with these particles when re-entering the wash bucket for more soap.

        STEP 6

        Scrub the vehicle from top to bottom, try to follow the contours of the vehicle or any distinct body lines.

        By doing this, mishaps are much less noticeable. By washing in a circular motion any mishaps will be visable at all angles and much more noticeable. Rinse often! After every application of soap, rinse the vehicle before going back for more soap.

        STEP 7

        After you are finished washing, do a final rinse on the entire vehicle.  For the final rinse remove the hose nozzle. Start from top to bottom, and with the flowing water inches away from the surface, sheet off any remaining or misses of debris/soap.

        This sheeting rinse will pull materials down and leave much less water on the surface. There will be little water beading with this technique making it much easier and quicker to dry.

         

        Example of sheeting water

        Example of beading water


        *NOTE: Using dishsoap regularly to wash a vehicle will strip your protective waxes. The high acidity will also dry out any plastic/rubber trim over time. However, there is a certain time you DO want to use a dishsoap! There are times you would like to strip off your current waxes and try a new product.  Dishsoap will remove these waxes and leave your paint surface bare and ready for another wax application or polish. Dishsoap will not remove synthetic waxes such as Klasse.

        How to Wash an Engine Bay

        Many vehicle owners wonder if washing an engine bay is a necessity. We have all heard the tales of damage caused by engine washing, how the very thought of water makes an engine no longer run..... The fact is modern engines can take a lot more abuse than you can imagine. With weather-tight connectors, distributor-less ignitions and newer gasket technology, the water sensitive devices are well protected and will easily resist frequent washing. This article shows the most basic engine detail using the most basic tools.

        Here is where we start, always work on a COLD engine.

        Here we are using a diluted solution 1:4 (Kleenzit:Water). Simply spray the Kleenzit on the entire engine bay. Agitate any stubborn spots or any thick deposits with a light brush or towel. Try not to spray any liquids directly into/unto the alternator, you can also cover the alternator with a plastic bag for extra peace of mind.

        After Kleenzit has sat for a minute simply spray off using a garden hose. With a quality All Purpose Cleaner such as Kleenzit it is not necessary to use a pressure washer. Pressure washers on engine bays can cause damage if not used correctly. The high pressure can get under seals designed to keep water out under normal circumstances. If you cannot resist the urge to use a pressure washer be sure to use a lower pressure nozzle. Again, avoid aiming water directly into/unto the alternator.

        High quality all purpose cleaners such as Kleenzit will rinse clean and leave no residue on plastic items. This picture shows the results of Kleenzit with NO dressings!

        Before applying a protectant or dressing you want to dry the engine bay. Here again we use the most basic method by simply wiping dry using a waffle weave microfiber towel (Dehydrator Towel). You can also use compressed air or a leaf blower if you have those tools.

        At this point applying a protectant or dressing is optional. On older cars with weathered plastic/hoses it may be necessary. Here we are using Poorboy's Natural Look Dressing

        You can spray directly onto the plastics or spray onto an applicator and wipe on. Avoid getting any dressing directly on any belts.

        Let the dressing sit for a few minutes, no rush to wipe it off. Here is the finished product. This basic engine detail took no longer than 10 minutes and the results speak for themselves!

        Proper Wheel Detailing

        Properly detailing your wheels (rims) will not only drastically improve your car's appearance, it will protect your wheels from getting ruined by the elements. Damage to your wheels is the result of improperly maintained wheels. Road salt and brake dust that sits on an unprotected wheel will eventually lead to the corrosion of metals, pitting of paint, peeling of paint and discoloration. A properly maintained and protected wheel will dramatically prolong the life of these materials.

        Although the majority of wheel cleaners are safe for all finishes, verify that the type of wheel cleaner you choose will not damage your wheel's surface. Some wheel cleaners are meant for painted/coated wheels and some are aimed at bare metal.

        Because your wheels are likely the dirtiest part of your vehicle, it is wise to start a complete vehicle wash with the wheels. This prevents splattering of the wheel's chemicals and grime from coming in contact with your paint. Never use the same brushes or buckets on your vehicle's paint as you do for you wheels.

        Here's where it all starts! Salt and brake dust are everywhere and this unprotected wheel will live a short life before it looks old and corroded.

        STEP 1

        Start by rinsing the wheel to remove all loose particles.

        STEP 2

        Spray the wheel using your selected wheel cleaner. In this example I use P21S Gel Wheel Cleaner which is safe for all finishes.

        STEP 3

        Using a brush specifically designed for use on wheels and tires (11" Stiff Wheel Brush or EZ Detail Brush) scrub entire wheel. Cleaning old dressings and embedded dirt from tires is an important overlooked step. Browning of tires is mainly caused by deteriorated tire dressings that have not been properly removed prior to applying another coat.

        STEP 4

        Rinse entire wheel/tire assembly.

        STEP 5

        Now the wheel is properly cleaned and ready to dry. Use a drying cloth that will not scratch the surface of your wheel.(Mini Dehydrator)

        STEP 6

        To further protect the wheel from damage due to UV, corrosion, salt and other harsh contaminants, apply a wheel sealant. In this example we use Poorboy's Wheel Sealant.

        STEP 7

        The final step is to apply your favorite tire dressing. Then you wpuld apply Poorboy's Bold N Bright Tire Dressing with an applicator like a 4" Round Black Applicator.

        STEP 8

        Repeat the same process for all four wheels.