Victoria Car & Vehicle Maintenance Cleaning & Washing - Regaining That New Car Look



Your car says a lot about you, and many hard-core car enthusiasts enjoy spending an entire afternoon detailing their vehicles. The latest car care products, many with built-in applicators can help produce superior results and save you time, too. Some people prefer to start at the top and work down, others prefer to start at the bottom and work their way up.

The wheels
To keep your wheels spotless, you need wheel cleaner, soft-bristled brush, small detailing brush (a used toothbrush will do!), water hose. Clean one wheel at a time. Before spraying wheel cleaner, make sure wheels are cool and dry, and allow it to soak in for one minute. You may need to scrub stubborn stains with the brush, and use the detailing brush to get between tight areas. Wash the tires too (you can save the tire detailing for later). Rinse everything thoroughly.

When polishing aluminum or chrome wheels on your car, instead of buying expensive wheel polish you can subsitute ordinary, white toothpaste works just as well. I has fine abrasives needed to clean teeth (without wearing them down), and works well for expensive wheels and chrome parts.

Removing bugs & things
To do this you need bug & tar remover, glass cleaner, sponge, shop towels. Trying to scrub off bug residue using just detergent and a wash mitt can harm your car by scratching the finish. A commercially formulated bug and tar remover can easily dissolve messes like bugs, tar, tree sap, and sticky road grime without scrubbing. Next, you can clean all the exterior glass, windows, headlights, and fog lights with glass cleaner.

Washing
For this you need a car wash, wash mitt or sponge, bucket, chamois. Its best to park the car in a cool, shady location, to prevent spotting during the drying. Wash and rinse one section of the vehicle at a time, working from the top down. Dry the entire vehicle immediately after washing, using a soft towel or chamois (you can argue over whether it's pronounced "sham -wa" or "sham-eee"). Also, change the water in your wash bucket to prevent filming and rinse your wash mitt frequently to avoid scratching the paint form previously washed off dirt and dust. You should not use dishwashing soap to clean your vehicle; since its grease-cutting formula will also strip the wax from your car's finish.

Waxing
To do this you need a pre-wax cleaner, liquid or paste wax, applicator pads, clean terry towel or a buffer. You can choose the wax you prefer: Liquid waxes are usually easier to apply, but paste waxes tend to last longer. Prep your car with a pre-wax cleaner. Some cleaners come with a clay bar, to help remove old wax and any embedded dirt. Next, move around the car, one section at a time and smear on a thin coat of wax and then buff it out, before moving to the next section.

Finish tires & trim
You'll need tire shine product and applicator pads. You can spray tire protectants directly on the tires or use an applicator pad to minimize over-spray and ensure even coverage.

Interior cleaning
To clean a car's interior you will need a stiff-bristled brush, wet/dry automotive or shop vacuum, carpet cleaner, upholstery cleaner, protectant, glass cleaner, shop towels. First of all, remove the floor mats and clean them. For carpeted mats, use a stiff nylon brush to loosen ground-in dirt, following with a carpet cleaner and vacuum. Clean the car's carpets in the same manner. Clean your interior glass and mirrors with glass cleaner, not a soapy multi- purpose cleaner. Finally, clean the upholstery, dashboard and interior trim, then follow with a protectant. Never use cleaners and protectants designed for vinyl interior on leather surfaces, and vice-versa.

The final once-over
Examine your vehicle lengthwise at all angles, checking for any unevenness in the finish, such as swirl marks, water spots, or any parts of the car you may have missed earlier. Check all glass surfaces for streaks from the inside and out. You might also a glass treatment to your windshield to improve visibility during rainy weather, by causing water to "sheet off" your windshield as opposed to beading up.

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