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Media post: 14 Mistakes Car Owners Make When Cleaning Their Vehicles

A car is an investment, and you should take good care of it if you want to maintain it in good condition. Many people tend to clean or take their cars to a car wash. However, although taking it to a car wash might seem like the best idea, it does more damage, as the dirty and abrasive bristles and pads can leave scratches on your car.

You might think that cleaning it yourself might be the best idea, but many car owners make the mistake of using the wrong detergent, and you’ll find most cleaning their car under direct sunlight, which is not recommended. Avoid these cleaning mistakes if you want to keep your vehicle looking shiny and new.

1. Using the Wrong Detergent

Many car owners who prefer to wash their vehicles at home end up using the wrong detergents. You’ll find most using dishwashing detergents or a degreaser. The cleaning solution damages your car paint and strips away the wax coating, leaving your car unprotected.

The next time you clean your car at home, make sure to buy automotive cleaning solutions, as they are specially formulated for cleaning vehicles and offer you plenty of lubrication which is essential for cleaning your car. This cleaning solution is car-paint-friendly and doesn’t strip away wax.

2. Cleaning Under Direct Sunlight

Many car owners who opt to clean their vehicles at home do it under direct sunlight. This is not good for your car as the dirty water tends to evaporate because of the heat, leaving dirty marks on the vehicle. Moreover, the cleaners contain chemicals not to be used under direct sunlight.

If you must clean your vehicle, do it early or wait till evening when the sun sets, and the weather is cool. The sun will not be blinding, so you can see all the dirt and clean your car effectively. If you read the packaging of the cleaning solution, you’ll notice that they recommend washing your car in a shaded area, especially during summer.

3. Using Sponges in a Swirling Motion

Another mistake most people make is cleaning their vehicle in a swirling motion using a sponge. This cleaning method increases the likelihood of transferring dirt from dirty to clean areas or scratching your car from different angles. So when cleaning your vehicle, pick one direction, for instance, front to rear or vice versa, and stick to it. This helps you minimize or eliminate the chances of scratching.

4. Taking the Car to a Car Wash

Car owners take their cars to the washing center hoping for a clean and shiny look. However, in most cases, the vehicle comes out with faded paint and, in some instances, scratches. This is because the machine used to clean the car has brittle brushes and pads that end up scratching and giving it a faded appeal.

5. Car Detailing

If your car looks too beat up, washing will not do much; thus, it would be best if you opt for car detailing. Compared to cleaning, car detailing is labor intensive and more precise as it involves dismantling all the components and deep cleaning the interior and exterior. And they leave your car looking as good as new without scratches and an expensive shiny paint finish. You can go for car detailing at fort Lauderdale, as they are reputable and provide the best services in Florida.

6. Skipping Lubrication

Always use lubrication when washing your car, as it helps avoid scratching your vehicle. For instance, if there is bird poop, don’t use a towel to wipe it off; instead, spray some lubricant on it, and it will soak up, making it easy to wipe with a damp cloth. Don’t let the poop sit on your car for long as it contains acid, which can break your car paint and wax coat, leaving a nasty mark.

7.  Using One Bucket

Don’t use one bucket to clean your car, as it could make it dirtier. You are advised to use two buckets, one containing soapy water and clean water in the other. The reason you need two buckets is so that you have somewhere to rinse your microfiber cloth after it gets dirty.

After washing your car, do not use paper towels, towels, or t-shirts to dry your vehicle. You should use a clean microfiber cloth as it has good absorbent power. And wipe it in one direction to avoid forming dirty lines.

8. Failing to Clean from Top to Bottom

Some people fail to start cleaning their vehicles from top to bottom. You are advised to always wash your car from top to bottom. However, you should start by cleaning your tires as they are extra dort compared to other parts of your vehicle.

After the tires are clean, you should clean your car rims using a microfiber cloth and lubricant-based cleaner. After you are done with the tires and the rims, then you can start from the top.

Note: The cloth you used to clean the rims should not be used to clean the other surfaces of your car. This is because it’s bound to collect acidic dust and grime, which could be transferred to the car’s exterior, causing damage to the paint and wax coating.

9. Using Bristle Brushes

When washing your car, never use scourers, brushes, or kitchen sponges, as they could scratch the car and leave marks. They also destroy the paintwork, which could cost you several hundred dollars to correct. You can buy an automotive cleaning kit containing cleaning solutions and tools to use.

10. Using Old T-Shirts or Dirty Towels

Don’t use any cloth, including paper towels, old t-shirts, or dirty rags. This is because these items are rough to the touch and may damage your paint. The best thing to use is a soft microfiber cloth.

11. Failing to Clean the Tires

When cleaning a car, many people focus on the exterior and avoid the tires, assuming they will still get dirty. However, they also deserve to be washed, giving your vehicle a clean look. So, clean your tires while you’re at it, and clean your rims to give them a shiny and new appearance.

12. Over Waxing

After washing your car, there is a high possibility that your vehicle will not be as shiny as some of the wax has been wiped off. Therefore, you must apply wax on your car’s surface to give it a shiny appeal. The purpose of wax is to protect the paint from fading. Do not apply too much wax; it should be light, and just one or two layers are enough.

It’s a common assumption that the more the wax, the more protection afforded to your vehicle’s shine. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Overwaxing your car just wastes time and wax. Too much wax causes buildup and clouding, making your vehicle look uneven. So, apply some wax on the surface until it’s white, and then wipe it off with a microfiber cloth.

The way you apply the wax on your vehicle determines the final look. So, you’d need to clean and ensure the surface is dry. Then use an applicator to apply the wax instead of pouring it directly on the vehicle. Most car polishes come with a sponge applicator for distributing the wax evenly.

13. Conditioning the Steering Wheel, Gas, and Brake Pedals

You’ve probably seen people placing an extra layer of armor on their steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, or shifter. This is not a good idea as you need a firm grip in these areas, and applying chemicals such as soap makes them slippery. This could lead to accidents.

14. Skipping the Interior

You shouldn’t focus only on the exterior; you must also clean inside the car. Remove the mats and wash them. Then vacuum every part of your car, including the seat and beneath the seat. The seats you have determines whether you will wash or wipe. You can get away with wiping with a damp cloth if it’s leather.

If you spill drinks or food, ensure to wipe immediately as letting it fester can lead to mold development. And if you have kids, you should wash the seats regularly as we all know kids are spill masters.

15. Failing to Clean the Windshield and Windows

Safe driving requires a clean windshield and side mirrors. Many people need to remember to clean them, especially the side mirrors, and end up wiping them with paper towels. So, the next time you wash your car, clean your windshield and side mirrors and apply wax to give them an extra shine. It also makes it easy for water to slide down faster when it rains, thus giving you better vision when driving.

Why Should You Take Your Car to a Washing Center?

Instead of cleaning your car, take it to a car washing center to be washed by professionals as they have more experience, and they will take extra care to protect the paint as they want you to come back. These are some of the reasons you should take your car to the cleaners:

– It helps enhance your car’s interior and exterior.

– It helps maintain your car in excellent condition, thus enhancing its resale value

– It’s quick and saves you lots of time.

– They have the tools to perform an efficient job.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your car is essential as it helps keep it in good condition. However, many people just take washing their car at face value and tend to use tools or cleaning solutions that are not appropriate, which ends up scratching off the paint and wax coating. When cleaning your vehicle, avoid making the mistakes above. Better yet, take your car to a reputable car washing center.

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