5 ways to get your vehicle looking pristine
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NRL Legend and car cleaning enthusiast Matthew Ridge and his son have long been known for their Carfe cleaning business. But now, the father and son duo have launched their own New Zealand made car care product range, Autolabs, which has been endorsed by Giltrap Audi.
Ridge says the company has cleaned more than half a million cars over the past 20 years. Here are his top 5 tips to get your vehicle looking pristine.
1. Understand Dirt
Most of the horrible scratches you see on a badly maintained paint surface start with dirt. Dirt particles may be microscopic and seem insignificant, but in essence, each piece of dirt is just a smaller, broken-down bit of a large stone or rock. Basically, dirt is a hard, sharp-edged material that will scratch your clear coat if it isn't managed properly during the wash process. Swirls, scratches and other blemishes aren’t caused by the dirt collecting there, but from improperly removing them during the wash process. By understanding dirt you know how best to clean your vehicle.
To allow that dirt to travel across your paint without scratching it, you need lubrication. When you mix water and soap, you create a solution that firstly softens and lifts that dirt, then the foam created acts like a soft bed or layer for it to be carried off with minimal contact with the paint. The more lubrication there is, the more you are reducing that potential damage.
3. The Two Bucket System
In one bucket you have your typical wash solution, the other is just water. The water bucket's sole purpose is to rinse and collect all the dirt you’ve taken off your vehicle keeping the wash solution as clean, fresh and free from dirt as possible. After each pass, dip your mitt into the rinse bucket and agitate to remove all the collected dirt. Now you have a fresh clean mitt to go in our fresh clean wash solution bucket before moving to the next panel.
4. The Right Tools
If you wash your car with a sponge or brush, just throw these out now. These just drag dirt across your paint surface causing swirls and scratches. A water blade, chamois or a normal beach towel during the drying stage will do the exact same thing. Microfibre contains looped fibres that help lift and carry dirt particles off the surface, reducing the risk of surface scratching.
5. The Right Products
Like the sponge, another common misunderstood mistake is using normal detergents. These are great for stripping fats and grease off plates, but they are not good for maintaining a painted surface regularly. A good wash solution is aggressive enough to break down buildup while leaving the layers of wax and sealants from previous washes alone.
Specialists rather than general products can also improve and optimise your cleaning process. The right products make a difference to your wash, but Ridge has put this last on his top 5, as he says it won’t matter how good the products are if you don’t apply the tips and techniques above.