You have spent a lot of money on the purchase of your vehicle, have had it detailed to eliminate all surface imperfections and the paintwork is now in a flawless condition. The next question that arises is “How do I maintain the paintwork condition?” Proper washing is one of the most neglected and misconceived areas of auto car and sadly, improper techniques of washing end up causing damage to the paintwork resulting in a dull. scratched and swirled surface over time.
Vehicle DIY enthusiasts range from those who wash their vehicles daily, to those who love caring for their vehicles but only get the chance to wash them rarely. Both categories of devotees tremble at the very thought of taking their vehicle to “automatic swirl factories.” In this article, we share our years of experience and knowledge that will help maintain your vehicle’s paint condition and teach you ways to dodge, or at least reduce swirling your paint.
Car Wash Shampoo
Car wash shampoos have come a long way since their debut to the automotive detailing market. Some of the aspects that establish a great car wash shampoo like Gtechniq G Wash are foaming ability, concentration, lubricity, pH balance and gloss enhancing ability. High quality car wash shampoos will clean a car’s surface, boost the gloss and leave the car wax, paint protectant or paint sealant flawless.
All car wash shampoos carried by Carcare.ae are tested and of the highest quality. If you are unsure which shampoo to use for your vehicle, give Carcare.ae a call at +971-43388804 and let our experts assist you choose the perfect product.
Car Wash Mitts
Wash mitts can be made of long or short nap microfiber, sponge material or sheepskin that can be either synthetic or genuine. Our most popular and trusted wash mitt is the Gtechniq Merino Wash Mitt. This mitt's long microfiber fingers lather your delicate paint in suds while gently removing grime, road pitch, and dirt. This soft, enduring wash mitt is suitable for washing even the most delicate paints.
The other best selling wash mitt is the Dodo Juice Supernatural Wookie Wash Mitt, which is a great choice as it is soft, easily rinses clean, and holds lots of water and car wash solution. Using the wrong products can easily exert too much force onto the paint and would result in swirls. Thicker wash mitts offer room for dirt to be pulled away from the paint until the mitt is rinsed.
Car Wash Buckets
|In order to guarantee a swirl-free finish, we highly recommend using the Two-Bucket Washing Method. As the name says, you use two separate buckets to wash your car. One bucket holds the soapy car wash solution and the other holds clean, clear rinse water so you can rinse your mitt after each pass over your car. This keeps those dirt particles you just picked up on the surface from going back into the clean car wash solution and being picked up again by the wash mitt. The Dodo Juice Wash and Rinse bucket will make it much easier to quickly wash your entire car.|
Grit Guard Inserts
|This brings us to the next critical product: Grit Guard Inserts. If you aren’t using them, you should be! The Grit Guard Insert is a round plastic insert grate that sits on the bottom of your bucket. It is raised above the bottom of the bucket by four lateral fins, allowing dirt from your wash mitt to drop to the bottom of the bucket, ensuring that your wash mitt doesn’t pick up the dirt you just washed off the car. When you finish washing your car and lift the Grit Guard Insert up, you will see how well it works. The Grit Guard Insert should be used in both the wash and rinse buckets for optimum protection against instilling swirl marks.|
Drying your Vehicle
|Two of the most popular options for drying a vehicle are microfiber towels and an air blower. Microfiber drying towels like the Gtechniq Microfiber Drying Towel MF2 are very soft , safe and effective. The waffle weave fibres act like little pockets and absorb tons of water and when used properly are extremely gentle on your vehicle’s surfaces. It generally takes only two towels to dry a vehicle to ensure a spot and streak free finish. The first towel picks up the majority of water and the second towel picks up any residual moisture ensuring a streak free finish. Another benefit to the Gtechniq Microfiber Drying Towel is that they can be washed with other microfiber detailing towels ensuring that they are clean and fresh each time you need them.|
The Master Blaster Revolution uses warm, dry, filtered air to safely blast water off expensive finishes and out of remote areas where no towel could ever reach. It is splendid for getting water out of side-view mirrors, lights, body seams, grills, door jams, engines, wheels, and any hard to reach areas.
Now that you have been introduced to the proper tools for the job, we will cover the proper techniques necessary for washing a vehicle.
Steps for Washing Your Vehicle
- Always wash your car in the shade to avoid the car wash shampoo solution from drying on the car before it is rinsed off. It is best to wash your car on a relatively calm day as even a slight breeze can put particles of dirt into the air, leading to streaks and water spots.
- Use two buckets with a Grit Guard Insert in each bucket. One for the shampoo solution and the other for clean water for your wash mitt.
- Fill a 5-gallon bucket 2/3 full of cool water. Add the proper amount of shampoo to the water as recommended on the label instructions. Using a strong jet of water, fill the bucket to fully activate suds. Fill the second bucket with clean water for rinsing your wash mitt.
- Thoroughly rinse the vehicle’s surface to remove loose dirt and grime before you begin making any contact onto the paint. If the paint is excessively dirty or you wish to use more caution, use a foam cannon to pre-soak the vehicle prior to rinsing.
- When washing your vehicle remember to always go from top to bottom, never the opposite. Generally, the dirtiest parts of your vehicle are those parts closest to the ground. Wheel wells, rocker panels and bumpers tend to have the largest accumulation of grime and you don’t want to bring that debris back onto the paint surface and risk scratching it.
- Load up your wash mitt with your car wash solution and wring it out over the wash surface. This acts like a pre-soak and helps loosen surface gunk. It also adds more water to the surface and more lubricity helps safely wash the grime away without scratching.
- Once the wash mitt has picked up dirt and grime, dip it into the clean water bucket and use the grit guard to remove the dirt and grime that has built up on the mitt. Then, dip the wash mitt into the shampoo bucket and repeat.
- Wash in straight, overlapping lines as opposed to circles and remember to be gentle with the wash mitt on the first pass. This first pass will pick up the majority of the dirt, and loosens the remaining dirt for pick up on the second pass.
- Rinse your vehicle completely with a low pressure hose and let the water run or sheet over the surface. This helps in two ways. First, generally when water has “sheeted” off a surface it tends to leave fewer residual droplets behind. This means less drying time. Second, since there is less water to pick up, there is less chance of leaving water behind to spot the vehicle.
- Begin drying your car with an automotive air dryer, similar to the Metrovac Master Blaster Revolution. This will remove most of the water in a very short period of time, without making any physical contact onto the paint surface.
- If there is any water left on the paint surface, use high-quality microfiber drying towels. Keep folding the towel to use a clean side that is making contact. Gently dry the surface without asserting much pressure onto the paint. You don’t need to rub the surface – you’re just picking up a small amount of left-over water. Once the first towel is saturated, use the second towel to lightly pick up any remaining streaks or droplets.
- Lastly, if your wax or sealant is still in good shape, go over the vehicle with a quick detail spray like Gtechniq QD or Auto Finesse Finale and a Gtechniq MF1 Microfiber Buff Towel to restore a radiance and slickness to the paint. This last step will give your vehicle that just-detailed look by enhancing gloss and will also remove any missed drips, water spots or streaks that showed up when you weren't looking.