Students at an auto body training school should understand the best way to wash a vehicle, starting with the most filthy parts. Typically, this means hitting the wheels and tires first. This is done to prevent the spread of their grime onto newly-washed areas of the car. Afterwards, wash the vehicle from top to bottom.
Protecting the paint on a vehicle is one of the most important steps to take. A well-protected paint job will improve water resistance, allowing water to roll off the body of the car rather than sticking and potentially causing rust or damage. It will also make it easier to clean the car, as dirt and debris will slide off of a smooth, polished surface.
Paint is an expensive investment, and the best way to preserve it is by waxing regularly. Waxing helps to eliminate minor scratches and swirl marks, which can leave the finish dull and lifeless. It will also help to protect the finish from UV rays, which can fade and degrade the paint over time.
When polishing the paint, it is important to work in small areas at a time. Using too much polish can result in the build-up of dried wax, which will make it difficult to remove later. Start with a clean, lint-free microfiber towel or applicator pad, and apply polish to a small area of the vehicle at a time. Work the polish into the paint in a circular motion, applying even pressure. Continue until the desired level of correction is achieved. Once the polish has set, wipe it off with a microfiber cloth.
Your windshield and windows are essential for your safety on the road, so keeping them clean is extremely important. Dirty glass makes it difficult to see, especially when driving in direct sunlight or headlights from oncoming traffic. It can also cause glare and blinding which is not only annoying but can actually be dangerous. Fortunately, it is pretty easy to keep your auto glass clean and in top shape.
The main issues with auto glass are grime, body oils (from people touching the windows), product over spray from treating trim pieces and smoke residue. If left untreated these contaminants can damage the urethane bond between your windshield and the frame which can cause water leaks in the front of your car.
Begin by scrubbing the glass with a soft, non-abrasive, high-density microfiber towel or sponge. Use a mild degreaser to loosen any stubborn dirt and grime buildup. Then rinse the surface with clean water to remove any remaining cleaner residue. Dry the glass with a clean microfiber towel, preferably one specifically designed for windows and mirrors (like Hybrid Solutions Interior Mist).
Avoid using paper towels or dry cloths on your auto glass as they will leave lint behind. A microfiber towel is the best choice as it has a high-density pile and will not scratch or mar your auto glass. You can even get special glass polishing cloths that have a plush-pile for wiping glass with extra lubrication.
Roll your window down a couple of inches before wiping so that you can get the very top of the glass effectively cleaned. Be sure to change your dry towel often so that it doesn’t absorb too much of your cleaning solution and streak the glass.
After your auto glass is clean and free of streaks, apply a small amount of a quality glaze to the surface to protect it. This will also help to prevent water spots and make the glass easier to clean in the future. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on application. Once the glaze has dries, buff it off with a clean microfiber towel.
Keeping the interior clean is just as important as the exterior. The interior of your car is exposed to repeated and concentrated traffic, making it a perfect place for germs to breed and for stains to stick. It’s also a refuge for pests who are attracted to the crumbs, spills, and dirt that accumulate over time. The interior of your vehicle can be steam-cleaned, shampooed, or vacuumed as part of the auto body detailing process. The carpets, seats, and dash are all cleaned and treated with the same care that is given to the paint.
Before using any cleaner on the interior, always do a patch test on an inconspicuous spot to ensure that your materials will not react poorly with your car’s upholstery.
Tires are the vehicle’s point of contact with the road and are prone to picking up a lot of debris including metal, glass, and other sharp waste. Additionally, abrasive contaminants such as road salt and brake pad dust can accelerate wear on tires significantly if left unattended. Taking the time to clean and treat your tires is one of the most crucial things you can do to ensure they last longer and provide optimal performance for your car.
Pride in Presentation: Spotless tires add to a car’s aesthetic appeal and complement the gleam of the rest of the body. Regular cleaning sessions allow you to inspect your tires for early signs of wear, enabling you to replace them before they become worn down or damaged.
Optimal Traction: Dirty tires reduce your car’s grip on the road and can be dangerous to drive in. Cleaning your tires regularly will restore their ability to hold the road and keep you safe.
Tire Longevity: Accumulated grime and abrasive substances like road salt and brake pad dust can accelerate the wear on your tires, potentially reducing their lifespan by years. Maintaining your tires with regular cleaning sessions and abrasive-resistant solutions will extend their life and save you money on replacement costs.
Avoid Cheap Tire Dressings
Cheaper tire dressings, which are often silicone based, can cause the rubber in your tires to break down and discolor quickly. They may also sling onto the paint of your car and damage it. Instead, look for a high-quality tire protectant that will add a glossy sheen to your tires without harming them or slinging debris onto other parts of your car.
Start your cleaning process with a hose to rinse off loose dirt and gravel from the exterior of your tires. Rinse well, and then move on to using a bristled brush to scrub your tires with soap and water. Once you’ve scrubbed the dirt from your tires, re-wet them with your hose and let the cleaning solution sit for a minute to help break down tough grime. Then, thoroughly rinse the tires and rims, and dry them with a microfiber towel or terry cloth.