2 cleaning tips to make your car last longer

July 29, 2015

Need an incentive to wash your car? Just price a new one. Here's how to keep your faithful "classic" as shiny as a new penny.

2 cleaning tips to make your car last longer

1. Wash your car like an expert

Washing your car regularly will go a long way toward keeping the body in tiptop shape. But besides doing it regularly, you need to do it right. Here's how to do the best job:

• Wash your car with a mild detergent that's formulated for car finishes. Don't use dishwashing liquid. It's harsher and will remove the protective wax coating on your car. Some detergents even contain salt that will corrode metal.

• Wash your car in sections, beginning with the roof, and rinse as you go. Otherwise, a soap film will dry on the finish before you rinse. The film will make the finish look dull.

• Keep a second bucket of clean water handy and use it often to rinse your sponge. This will ensure that you are not using a gritty sponge that can put tiny scratches on your car's finish.

• Avoid using the same sponge for painted surfaces as you use for wheels. The dirt particles embedded in the wheel sponge will add hundreds of fine scratches to painted surfaces with every swipe.

2. Wash in winter, too

  • If you rarely wash your car during messy winter weather, you are not alone. The cars you see on the road make it obvious that lots of folks figure, "Why bother? The car is going to look awful the next time I drive it."
  • The problem with this thinking is that washing is more important in the winter than other times of the year.
  • All that sand, slush, and ice mixed with road salt is exactly what makes your car rust. The fastest corrosion occurs when the temperature repeatedly rises above and then falls below freezing.
  • Especially during the messy months, be sure to rinse the undercarriage and hard-to-reach areas that are susceptible to rust, such as the bumpers and inside the wheel wells.
  • If the temperature outside is going to stay above freezing long enough for your car and driveway to dry, fill a bucket with warm water and tackle the job at home.
  • If not, pay a visit to your local car wash and be sure they dry the car thoroughly.
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