The end of summer can only mean one thing — yes, the months of caked dirt from muddy picnics and sand smudges from beach trips need to get washed away as you prep your car for the autumn months here in Northeast Ohio. Ever wondered if there’s a right or a wrong way to get your set of wheels squeaky clean? Here are some car-washing dos and don’ts:
Don’t use dishwashing detergent. The typical go-to car cleaners will remove dirt, dust, and grime, but they also strip protective oils out of paints and waxes. Avoid hand soaps and glass cleaners as well, especially on the body of the car. Your best bet is to use an automobile cleaning solution that will clean, protect, and preserve your car.
Do make sure your cleaning cloths are clean. Using soft natural sponges, terry cloth towels, microfiber cloths, or soft rubber squeegees are all great options for washing and drying your car. Making sure these are all clean and dirt-free is crucial. Bits of dirt or other debris can stick to your cloths and scratch your paint. And don’t be afraid to use a separate cloth for different parts of the car, especially when it comes to dirtier parts, like the wheels and tires.
Don’t air dry your car. To get a truly streak-free shine, hand dry your car with a soft cloth. Air drying can leave water deposits and chemical residues on the surface which not only spot up your hard work but can actually cause damage to the paint.
Do be mindful of heat. Pay attention to when you wash your car. Too hot of a surface can make your wash less effective, leaving soapy patches and other residue. The temperature of the water doesn’t really matter, but avoid extremes: too hot of water on a cold day or too cold of water on a hot day can cause damage to the paint.
And finally, do use your car wash to inspect your car. Whether you’re cleaning the exterior or interior of your car, pay attention to your air conditioning, tire treads and pressure, and any “check engine” or service lights. This would also be a great time to take your car for a drive and do a “car check-up” — notice if your brakes, steering, and overall drive are still performing well.
Be sure to call the automotive repair technicians at your local Rad Air Complete Car Care & Tire Center if you suspect a problem or potential issue with your car. We’ll help you get back on the road safely!