What is the best way to wash your car?
The exception is “fibreglass” or “composite” bodywork, which has a single thick solid-colour “gel coat” as its outer layer. This is 0.6 mm thick (‘25 thou’ in old terms) and can be sanded and repolished many times without risk of wearing through it. Using scrub-type commercial car washes will matt your paint if done regularly, due to abrasion from the brush bristles and coarse dirt. Commercial ‘touch-less’ car washes, which use pressure jets, just don’t work well – your car still has a fine film of dirt when they have finished. Using the incorrect tools for the job when washing at home – stiff brushes, hard towels, high detergency soaps, dirty cloths- will easily cause the same type of damage. You can accidentally remove the paint protecting finishes, and the clear coat itself, from the panels, resulting in a spoiled finish from clear coat damage, oxidisation, abrasion, scratching and corrosion.
Washing Your Car
Washing your car is essential to preserve its value. A car with a freshly cleaned and detailed finish always seems to run much better, too. I always imagine my bodywork slicing through the air when it is shiny, waxed, slippery and glistening. When it’s matt and filthy, this is rather hard to conjure up! Regular washing will highlight minor defects requiring repair and provide the fastidious owner with close feedback on the condition of his pride and joy.
Washing up liquid is a good example. Did you know it usually contains large quantities of salt (sodium chloride) in order to boost the viscosity of the detergent and make it look more concentrated and better value? Salt is the last thing you need to put on your car body. In addition, the high stripping power of a dishwasher liquid will leave your paint coat unprotected unless you re-wax or protect it again immediately. Definitely, DO NOT use any washing up liquid on your car paint.
Auto-Chem recommends the use of a high-pressure (100-150 bar) water blaster for the safest, quickest and most economical way of washing your car. The benefits of pressure washing include; economical and rapid application of the wash chemicals – if the water blaster has a detergent suction hose feature or a foam gun accessory- with no risk of scratching by grinding dirt into the paint surface with a sponge or wash mitt; and the ability to get into hard to reach areas without the use of special brushes or detailing tools.
Fancy mag and spoked wheels and white-wall tyres are especially easy to clean with a pressure washer, particularly the rear wheels of touring motor bikes, which are hard to reach otherwise. There is also no kneeling, groping, bending, and damaged hands from sharp surfaces involved with a pressure washer, as there is with a sponge mitt or brush. Motorcyclists will know this one best.
Oh, by the way, yes we are motorcyclists as well as car nuts here at Auto-Chem, in case you have not guessed!