A clean car doesn’t just look good, a build-up of dirt, grime and salt can erode your paintwork. Last week we looked at how to give your vehicle a thorough clean in under an hour. However, for a just-off-the-forecourt finish, you will need to go the extra mile. If you can feel lumps and bumps when you run your hand over your paintwork, a wax and polish will help. This week, we talk about what you need to do to achieve a good-as-new, professional finish.
You Will Need
- A wash mitt.
- A bucket.
- Car Shampoo.
- Microfibre cloths (or a foam applicator, if you prefer).
- Pressure washer or hose with gun attachment.
- Good quality wax and polish or a good all-in-one polish.
- Clay bar.
- Clay bar lubricant.
The Clay Bar
There are some marks, such as stubborn grime, road tar or tree sap, that a regular wash won’t remove. This is where a clay bar comes in. A clay bar is a malleable putty, which helps to remove even the tiniest particles of stubborn grime, leaving your paintwork smooth and dirt-free.
Break off a small piece of clay bar and kneed it into a flat, circular shape. Put your clay bar in clean water. Use the mitt to wet the panel you are going to work on then spray the damp surface with clay bar lubricant. Remove the clay bar from the water and slide it over the surface of the paint in a sideways motion. The resistance should reduce as you go; this is an indication that you have removed the grime from that area. Once this happens, move onto the next panel. If your clay bar gets dirty, simply fold it, knead it and reshape it. However, if it gets very dirty, or you drop it, discard that bar and break off a new piece. You only need to use a clay bar once a year; doing it too often can damage your paintwork.
The Polish and Wax
You may not necessarily need to use a wax and a polish; all-in-one polish and wax removes oxidation and scratches and adds a wax layer for protection. Generally, a good quality all-in-one polish will be more than adequate to give you a great finish for a month or so; if you are a seasonal polisher, opt for separate polish and wax for protection that lasts longer.
Using your applicator or a clean microfibre cloth, apply polish in a straight line. Remove using a clean cloth. Repeat until the car is done – if you are using separate polish and wax, start again using your wax. This process will take a few hours but will leave your car gleaming!
Taking care of your car will help you to maintain its value and stop corrosion. If you notice deep scratches or dents, call a trusted bodywork specialist to see if they can help.