Five Tips on Car Care


In the 21st century the automobile has become so complicated under the hood that the average car owner is unable to do much more than simple maintenance, such as change the oil or spark plugs. Proof is that even Toyota engineers that built the vehicles are not sure what is causing the recent problems with them. So, unless the car owner is able to afford expensive computer to diagnose problems and additional special equipment to reset the on board computers we are better off taking our cars to a well equipped repair shop.

The good news is that there is something we can all do to help our cars run better. My dad always said that a clean car drives better. So I am going to give you tips on how to make your car look better and thereby hopefully drive better or at least seem to do so. Every Saturday, unless it was bad weather my dad had me cleaning our family car. Over the years I got very good at it. Eventually I progressed to the point where I knew every nook and cranny of that car. It became a game to find new places to clean.

Years later I used that experience to start my own automobile detail business. I believe that cleaning a car is one of the most satisfying occupations there is. Many of my customers told me that they felt that their cars drove better after they picked them up from me. I did not do anything mechanical to them so it had to be that mind set of driving a clean car.

Just about everyone has washed a car or knows how to do it even if they pay someone else to do it. So I am going to share five professional tips to make the job easier when you decide to tackle it yourself. In these economic times perhaps more of you are doing so to save a few bucks. Following these tips will make the job easier and perhaps faster so you will not mind getting started and that is half the battle right there.

Tip number one is to park in the shade. Nothing will mess up a good car wash faster than to have the heat of the sun dry the car or polish before you are able to wipe it off. This will lead to either extra work or streaks left on the finish of the car.

Tip number two is to have all the tools and equipment close at hand before you start. I have a small tea cart I found at a garage sale that keeps all my car cleaning stuff in one place. Your equipment of choice may be different from mine but the idea is to think the job through before you begin. My minimum list is as follows. Bucket, sponge, Dawn liquid detergent, stiff and soft bristle brushes, several soft towels, hand held vacuum cleaner, window cleaner and Q-Tips.

Tip number three is to start on the inside first. There are a couple of reasons I do this first. Number one is that if I wash the outside first I am tempted to pass up the interior or not do it completely. The second reason is that I do not want to be standing in water while I handle a plugged in vacuum cleaner. Plus I might track mud into the car. I take out the floor mats first and clean them before setting them aside to dry. I finish up the interior by wiping down the dash and then cleaning the cracks and crevices with Q-Tips. I know this sounds a little anal but it seems like I will be stopped at a light and look around the interior and see dirt and grime in a vent or corner of the dash.

Tip number four is that wheels and wheel wells pick up most of the exterior dirt and hold it the longest. Now, I hate to do wheels because it is hard on my back. If the wheels are too dirty for my hose nozzle then I might go to a local do it yourself car wash before I start and use their high pressure hot water to clean them. If you are plagued by brake dust there are spray products available to remove it. Tire shine is up to you.

Tip number five is to do the windows last. I buy my window cleaner at the dollar store but I buy the best micro fiber cloths because they leave no residue or lint behind. Once you have done the windows you are ready to take a shower and go for a ride. Now doesn’t your faithful car ride just a little bit better?