We take a look at the ins and outs of getting the best result when washing your car
Ever noticed annoying water spots left on the paintwork and glass after washing your vehicle and wondered, first, how they got there and, second, how to remove them?
Let's be honest: giving the family vehicle a good scrub-up is not a job that most owners look forward to, which can create many short and long-term problems.
I compare it to hanging out the washing.
Currently that's my job but apparently, I don't do it exactly right. The line spacing, the way it's hung, plus the time of day it's pegged and brought in are all very important, according to my coach.
Then there's the folding.
I'm still struggling with removing the main creases, while the better half has a technique that creates an iron-like finish.
Washing the car can have similar results.
Do it one way and the end result can earn you a pass mark. However, by learning a few basic tricks, you can produce a much better finish and long-term benefits.
A recent invitation to meet Peter Ellmers, managing director of Mothers Car Care products, to discuss the finer points of vehicle wash and protection was well worth the effort.
Listed below are the key points:
Never wash a vehicle in the heat of the day, in bright sunshine or even when the body panels are warm to touch.
Park over a grass area to stop contaminated water entering stormwater drains.
Hose the vehicle down to remove any obvious loose grime/dirt, have a quick coffee break and then repeat.
Pour in the appropriate amount of wash/wax first and then add water to a bucket by placing a hose at the bottom to create a swirl action and to ensure thorough mixing of product and water.
Never use a household dishwashing detergent as a cheap replacement for car wash. It is very caustic and will remove any wax protection from panels.
Starting at the higher surfaces first, use a mitt or cloth to dip into the bucket. The cloth must have the ability to contain washed-off dirt particles in their fibres and away from direct contact with paintwork.
Avoid using a flat, smooth sponge, as it can retain dirt particles on its top surface, which can scratch paintwork.
Always work your way downwards and towards the dirtiest panels and trims and change water as necessary.
Continue to keep uncleaned surfaces wet using a hose before handwashing.
Allow water to flow over body when rinsing off, rather than using a spray, to help avoid water spotting.
Do not leave vehicle surfaces wet, as minerals in tap water can create panel and trim issues, while water spots can appear when the water finally evaporates.
Use a microfibre cloth to dry.
Avoid using any old discarded bathroom towels to dry vehicle as they can also retain fine dirt particles on their surface and create scratches in paint.
If you apply a polish afterwards, do not rub hard to remove leftover film, as it will remove the wax.
Glass roofs, in particular, can be left with bad water spotting after washing, so ensure good water flow is maintained after hand wash.
Use a proven automotive glass cleaner to remove any remaining blemishes or water spots on all glass areas.