You may have owned only one car your entire life or several. Either way, if there is one thing that you’ll certainly understand as a car owner, it is the pride you feel standing next to your vehicle when it’s highly buffed and shined.
You especially want your car to look its best during the summer. That’s when you’ll be out at parties, functions, and recreational activities, or go on road trips, and you certainly want to make the best impression.
If your vehicle is new, getting back to that showroom glow will be easier than if you’ve had your vehicle a few years and haven’t been maintaining it as well as you should.
No matter what is the case with you, you can follow these tips and tricks to make your car shine this summer.
Have the Correct Cleaning Materials
Sure, it’s easy to just break out the dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent to clean your car, but you should be aware of the damage it does, especially over time. It can cause the compounds in your car’s coat of paint to break down, resulting in peeling or cracking. You won’t be able to achieve a quality shine with that kind of damage to your car.
Do yourself and your car a favor and buy the right products to clean it. You should purchase:
- Car cleaning liquid/shampoo
- Car polish
- Car wax
- Chamois cloths
- Rags or sponges (make sure these don’t have surfaces that can scratch your car)
- Glass cleaner
- Tire cleaner
Wash Your Car
Now that you have the correct materials gathered, clean the exterior of the car. Use a hose to wet the surface of the vehicle. If you want to conserve water, you can use a bucket for this.
Once the car is wet, pour car cleaning liquid into a clean bucket of water. Soak your sponge or rag and use it to apply soap to the entire surface. You want to do this quickly so that the soap doesn’t begin to dry on the surface and cause streaks.
Once you’ve cleaned the exterior, rinse it with running water from the hose, or with clean water in a bucket. Don’t allow the car to dry with the water on it. This will also cause streaking.
Instead, use the chamois cloths to pick up all the water and give your car a nice, soft shine in the process.
If your vehicle has decals or stickers from a lifetime of active use, it’s very hard to accomplish the appearance of a nice, smooth shine. Don’t despair though, this site suggests a way to get those stubborn decals out. WD-40 is also useful for this.
Don’t forget your windows, windshields, and tires. You can use the glass cleaner and the tire cleaner for this job. Clean both the interior and exterior of your windows. Use the chamois cloths to make the glass shine.
Your tire rims need attention as well. Use the hose or bucket to loosen any dirt or debris in that area. Clean and rinse properly, then dry it all out.
After you’re done with the washing, the next step is to apply car polish. Think of your car’s surface as the canvas for a painting. The car polish will smoothen and minimize the appearance of cracks and imperfections in your car’s coat of paint, just like when an artist uses a layer of gesso to even out the canvas before he begins to work.
Polish tends to magnify any damage to your car’s paint job, so before you even go through all of these steps, it might be wise to repair any significant or noticeable damage to your car’s paint finish. You’ll need to decide whether you’ll polish your car by hand or with a machine. Each has its benefits and drawbacks.
There are scratch repair kits you can purchase to do this, which will help you blend the cover the damage and blend the repair with your current paint job.
Do not skip the polish step as it is integral to achieving a high-quality shine. When done correctly, the polish will seal the paint finish from further damage and dirt for at least 2-3 weeks.
Regularly polishing your car can also help protect your original paint job from fading by the elements, making it appear like it just left the showroom for longer.
Once your car is polished, you’re ready for the next step.
Wax Your Car
This is the last step in getting your high mirror shine. You’ll have to decide whether you want to wax your car by hand or detail your car with a machine.
You’ll need some Chamois cloths for this part of the job as well.
Apply your chosen wax product to the cloth and rub it onto the car. Make sure each area of the car is covered by wax. Do not get the wax on the nonmetal parts of your car.
Allow the wax to dry on the car, but don’t leave it too long. If you do, you’ll find that the wax layer becomes difficult to work with when you’re ready. Depending on the brand of wax you are using, it is recommended that you leave it on the car’s surface anywhere between 15-25 minutes. The climate in which you are waxing your car will play a role here as well.
Once the wax is dry, it’s time to remove it using a clean chamois cloth. Again, go over the car carefully to ensure that all of the wax is removed.
Once you’ve ensured that all the wax is gone, go over the car once more with another clean chamois cloth.
After this second wipe-over is done, you should have a shine that will impress and wow onlookers, and a car that you will be proud to say you own!
Maintaining Your Shine
You’ll want to keep your car shiny with as little work as possible throughout the summer. Be sure to:
- Wash your car regularly.
- As far as possible, avoid parking in the sun. This causes paint to fade.
- Remove bird droppings as soon as you can.
Summer is the time to be out and about. Follow the steps above to make sure your car looks as good as you do with a glossy shine.