How Often Do You Need a Car Wash?

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Things That Damage Your Car’s Paint and Finish
When you think of what can be damaging to the look (and durability) of your car’s paint while on a ride, what comes first to your mind? My first association, some time ago was the bird dropping hitting my mustang…Still, on par with insects, bird droppings, and other natural residues, there are a lot of additional factors to keep in mind. Basically, just to give you an overview, anything from using a hose to spray water over the car to using dishwashing detergent, suffering rain and so on can be off.

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I am sure we all still remember those commercials about how dishwashing detergent ‘fights grease’ and ‘eliminates streaks’? While that may sound appealing, consider it a huge no-no moment if you ever want to get that showroom SHEEN again. Dishwashing detergent is meant to remove everything from surfaces- including stripping polymers off the paint surface. By using dishwashing detergent on your car, you’re accelerating the oxidation process. It’s always best to use a dedicated car-wash product, which is milder and specifically designed for use on automotive paint.

 

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Myth #2:

Washing and cleaning are the same.

Car washes are one of the greatest inventions for any car owner! How easy it is to pay $10 to have your car gleaming and sparking on a sunny day? However, it’s important to note the difference between washing and cleaning. Car washes sticks to servicing the exterior of the car and removing any dust and debris that has built-up. It’s a great way to maintain the wax and paint finishes on your car by removing anything that could damage it without being overly time consuming. On the other hand, car cleanings are more detailed, take more time to complete and are recommended to be done at least a few times a year. Whether you do it yourself or go to a car detailer, car cleanings primarily take care of the inside of your vehicle as well as any stubborn stains and blemishes that occasional car washes can’t clean on the exterior. You won’t get sparkling chrome rims from that touch-less car wash you frequent- you need to put in the elbow grease, my friend!

Myth #3:

A shiny car is a clean car.

Although a car may look clean on the exterior, you should always put it to the touch test. Rub your hand over the surface of the car after washing it to feel for any leftover contaminants. If you did the job well, it should feel like touching glass. For stuck on dirt, use a clay bar in order to remove any leftover residue prior to applying polish or wax. Clay bars are easy to use and often are sold in a kit with easy to follow instructions. This is one job you DON’T need to leave to the professionals!

Myth #4:

Getting rid of the swirl marks by waxing

Swirl marks, which are basically just scratches on the car’s paint surface, can only be removed by getting to the bottom of them. You can fix them depending on how deeply scratched it is. A micro-fine scratch can be fixed with a non-abrasive paint cleaner. If it’s a moderate scratch, it may require something a bit more serious. Deep swirl marks will likely require professional help. Note: We didn’t mention to use wax for it at all!

Myth #5:

Polishing and waxing are the same thing

Unfortunately most of car owners don’t know the basic difference between polishing and waxing. Although both are meant to help keep the exterior of your car looking clean and new, they serve different purposes. Polishing helps create a brilliant high-gloss surface. If you’re looking for that ‘straight off the dealer’s lot kind of clean, you’ll definitely want to include a polish in your cleaning regiment. On the other hand, waxing works to protect the vehicle’s finish. It does so by coating the exterior of your car with wax polymers, resins and silicones and unlike a polish, it won’t make a dull surface shiny.

Myth #6:

Flannel, diapers and t-shirts make good cleaning cloths

The last material you want when cleaning your car is a smooth surface. Without any means of absorbing fine particles, these types of fabrics will end up just swirling dirt around on your car, possibly causing new micro-scratches. To avoid making things worse, try using a microfiber towel since the deep surface creates a buffer zone that will pick up dirt and not grind it into the paint finish. The way we see it? Microfiber or bust!

Myth #7:

Paste wax offers greater protection than liquid wax.

Years ago, carnauba wax was one of the hardest natural waxes available. However, compared to liquid waxes, it’s been found to gray the surface of a vehicle. It takes a lot of effort to apply and is not as durable as some of the liquid waxes. Paste waxes also tend to last up to 10 weeks. Some people still prefer paste waxes since it gives more of a classic finish. Nowadays we have synthetic waxes, polymers and resins that are more resilient and help enhance the shiny finishing for your car. Liquid waxes are easy to use, are durable and can last up to six months. It’s quick and hard wearing, making it easy for widespread use and leaves a glass-like finish.

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