14 January 2020 Concept Car
There was a time when a car wash used to be a weekly ritual: Crank up the radio, enjoy a cool drink and spend the morning getting your car into top shape again. Alas, no more.
For very good reasons, allowing poisonous cleansing fluids to simply wash down the drain is no longer allowed. This hasn’t only incisively changed the routine of millions during the Summer months, but also meant that washing your car by hand has mostly been replaced by taking it to an automatic drive-through washing service.
Unfortunately, this has made a car wash a lot more expensive. Still, reducing the frequency of your car washes is hardly a sensible solution. After all, keeping your car clean is not just a question of good looks.
A car wash may seem to be mainly about making your vehicle shine again. In reality, however, it is also about preserving it and preventing damage:
The longer you postpone the next car wash, the more time these substances and external influences have to do their damage. A car wash is one way of making sure it doesn’t get this far. (For a more detailed look at how to keep your car in great shape, check out our overview of vehicle inspection checklists)
Admittedly, the weekly car wash routine was not just environmentally unsound. It was also excessive. Especially with the support of some of the latest car wash products, your car can keep its healthy glow at least for a few weeks. However, especially with regards to the dangers mentioned above, you should nonetheless aim at a regular washing schedule. Generally speaking, most experts consider a car wash a month sufficient, especially if you manage to squeeze in a seasonal waxing. Bird droppings and other threats should obviously be dealt with without delay and on the spot.
Automatic car washing services (also called a tunnel car wash) have developed into futuristic locations which would not seem out of place in a science fiction flic. Still, most experts reckon that a hand wash is still best. The reason for this is that you have far more direct control over the stains, you can apply as much or as little pressure as you need and take your time for particularly difficult surface areas. Car wash products for home use have significantly improved and there are even semi-professional devices at a reasonable price promising a truly spotless and streakless car wash.
A hand wash is usually also cheaper than a tunnel car wash The only disadvantage is that it takes up a lot more time than automated drive throughs and requires a bit of insight and experience. You’ll also need to use designated car wash areas, so fluids can be properly disposed of.
Maybe you’re already eager to get started and give your car the proper makeover. Before you do, though, here are a few suggestions which will help you get the best results.
As explained by Wikihow, make sure to park your car outside direct sunlight. The simple reason is that intense sun exposure will lead the cleaning water to dry a lot faster. The result: nasty splotches, which can look just as bad as the dirt you just got rid of.
Obviously, you should also make absolutely sure that the windows are closed all the way. The antenna should be fully retracted. Finally, click the wiper blades into their locked position or at least make sure they’re not in the way.
Have your tools ready. This includes all the different brushes, cloths and mitts you intend to use. It also includes at least two, or even better three buckets of fresh water: one for the car body, one just for the wheels, and one with clean water for rinsing.
Car wash recommendations tend to focus on how to best clean your car. Rarely, however, will they tell you what to clean it with.
The reason why choosing the right car wash equipment is so important is that the right products can help to protect your vehicle, while the wrong ones can cause severe damage. Bear in mind that even mild ‘car shampoos’ and ‘cleaning fluids’ are, ultimately, chemicals, that either loosen up or eat through heavy dirt. They should not be used casually.
Wheel cleaners are a great example. As car expert Larry Kosilla explains in a highly useful instructional video, he actually prefers softer sprays to more powerful ones. This may mean that you’ll need to scrub oft the dirt instead of just washing it off. But it should also avoid harm to the material. As Larry puts it: “Anytime you take a cleaner that is powerful enough to take of junk without having to agitate it, for me, that’s a chemical that’s too strong.”
Now we’ve explained why a careful selection of the right cleaning products is so important, let’s next take a look at what, exactly, you’ll need for great results.
Rather than providing you with brand names – there are simply far too many – we want to focus on the kind of cleaners you should buy. It may seem excessive to get a different cleaning product for each part of your car. But it will get you the best results. Also, these products will usually last forever, so you merely need to make one larger investment in the beginning:
Not all of these are required, obviously. But the list does make for a good overview of the perfect tool box.
You’ll likely perform a carwash regularly. So it is only logical to want to keep the costs down. When it comes to car wash shampoo, you certainly don’t need to spend the world – most products on sale will do the job. Plus, more expensive shampoos can potentially be too aggressive and end up damaging the paint.
What about carnauba wax?
Carnauba wax is a high quality car wax, sometimes also called ‘the queen of wax’. It produces a smooth, glossy finish superior to most other commercially available alternatives. Although it is a defacto standard in a professional car wash, this doesn’t mean you can’t use a cheaper wax.
Finally, you will need a few pieces of fabric to apply some of the liquids. Generally speaking, there are three different types of cloths:
One last thing: Brushes can be an extremely useful item for your car wash. They are ideal for cleaning the wheels and footmats of your car, for example, because you can apply some pressure while still avoiding scratches or other damages to your wheels.
With the right car wash recommendations, however, you can take things into your own hands again and save some money to boot. Here are some of the most efficient tips, many of which were offered by website Popular Mechanics, to make your car shine from outside and clean from the inside:
A car wash is not rocket science. Still, as in any part of life, the right order of things can make a vast difference. Here’s the best approach to cleaning your car:
When it comes to a car wash, you will surely have heard the term ‘car detailing’, whispered with an almost sacral respect. So what’s the difference between a simple car wash and a fully-fledged car detailing?
Simply put, car detailing is a far more detailed approach to cleaning your car. Removing the dirt is just the beginning here. The real goal is to get the car in a state that would allow for it to be sold off at a showroom.
In some respects, car detailing will get a vehicle cleaner than it would rationally need to be. This includes taking off the wheels, for example, and cleaning them from both sides. As part of the process, even the engine will be made to look as new. Sometimes, the detailer will take it apart to clean each screw. It may also include, in extreme cases, measuring the thickness of the paint surface and then using special sponges to remove tiny grit spots.
Whereas even a professional car wash will only set you back something like £20-30, car detailing is an art and paid accordingly. Newspaper The Independent describes the case of Richard Tipper, one of the best detailers in the UK:
“Four hours on one car is nothing out of the ordinary, but it can be much longer. A 1928 Bentley took six hours – and that was just the engine. A recent Ferrari F40 job lasted three days. His day rate is £650. To some it will seem crazy, but car detailing is (…) as far removed from the car washing that the rest of us do as Lionel Messi is from a Sunday morning park kickabout.”
For a great overview of the best practical car detailing recommendations, take a look at this expansive list.
Of course, even a Sunday morning park kickabout can be extremely satisfying. Not every car needs to look as new after you’ve finished your carwash. Sometimes, even an automatic car wash can be fine. And you don’t need to use car wax every time.
The most important thing is to keep at it and clean your car regularly. As we’ve mentioned before, dirt is not just an aesthetic problem. It can also cause damage to your vehicle. Car washing should be part of your routine to best protect the value of your car.
To close things out, we’d love to give you a vision of the future. After many decades, in which the basic concept has remained intact, it looks as though the car wash is about to enter a new phase.
Many countries have essentially made it impossible to clean your car in front of your house, because of the toxic waste contained in the car wash wastewater. This is one reason why a new generation of devices based on hot steam is about to enter the market.
The Optima steamer is probably the best known of these. Rather than using water, this tool sends clouds of hot steam onto your car. Not only is this technique a lot more ecologically friendly, as it produces no car wash wastewater whatsoever. It is also very time- and cost-effective and extremely thorough to boot.
We can’t give any review of the Optima Steamer at this point. But it does seem as though it has a bright future ahead of it.
14 January 2020 Concept Car