It’s an age old conundrum - how do you maintain your car’s showroom shine all year round? You should consider both the frequency of washing and washing methods.
The best way to keep your car gleaming is to wash it every week. It will however depend on your individual needs. Car enthusiasts are likely to clean inside and outside every week to ensure their car is always looking pristine, while busy mums with a small tribe in tow might need to empty out the rubbish and do a deep clean once a month.
The longer you leave your car between washes, the more effort it takes to clean as grime builds up. If you regularly leave bird droppings and splattered bugs on your bonnet, you’ll start to notice staining as the acid from these inconveniences eats into the top coat of your paint.
It’s also important to have your car detailed once a year. Paint cleansing will help to lift off environmental grime and to keep the duco in tip-top shape. If necessary, a cut and polish will help to restore lacklustre paint to its former glory.
So, how do you choose the best way to keep your paint shining? Below we look at the pros and cons of different methods for washing your daily drive and keeping your duco in the best condition possible.
If you’re washing at home with a hose and a bucket, you’ll immediately face a number of challenges. It can be difficult to maintain a showroom shine if you’re using products that are not pH neutral and old cloths and sponges that can put tiny scratches your paint.
You should also consider the run-off of products into storm water drains and your water bill, as prices continue to rise and water conservation as restrictions are in force in some areas.
A domestic high-pressure hose would be a good addition to your tool kit if home washing is your preference. It takes significant time and effort to do the job well at home on your own - surely you have better things to do with your weekends!
TOUCH-FREE & AUTO CAR WASH
Auto-washes might be a reasonably cheap, go-to solution for keeping your car clean on a weekly basis - however, touch-free washes often use harsh and acidic pH-negative chemicals to remove the grime from your paint since there is no friction from a sponge to move the unwanted dirt particles along. Alternatively, the flicking straps in auto-washes can easily scratch your paintwork due to worn out materials and trapped dirt if they are not well maintained. This can leave your paint looking dull and swirly, in desperate need of a cut and polish.
SELF-SERVE CAR WASH
You might feel like the Terminator with the high-pressure hose in your hand, but you’re on the clock and time is running out fast. You need an instruction manual to choose the right option and before you know it, you’re $20 deep, using tar remover on your rims, nowhere near a final wax - with no change left. Similar to the touch-free wash, the chemicals used in self-serve washes are often pH-negative and bad for your paint.
If you’ve ever inspected one of the large soapy brooms after a muddy 4WD has been through a self-serve car wash, you’ll never let one get close to your car’s exterior. If you still think a self-serve car wash is for you, at least use your own own high-quality sponge.
HAND CAR WASH
Hand car washing has become more popular over the last 20 years, and with good reason. Starting from around the same $20 mark you sank into the machine at the self-serve wash, you’ll have a trained team descend on your car to give it a far superior clean. Many hand car washes are found at shopping centres or have cafes attached, so you can sit and relax or, get on with your day. We can all do with a little more spare time!
You’ll find hand car washes generally use pH-neutral soap and will often promote this benefit as it has such a positive impact on the life of your paintwork. Generally, you’ll also find regularly cleaned and replaced cloths and sponges used to clean your car. Hand car washes usually have a range of options for outside washing or services that can take care of the inside too.
If you invest in a more thorough service, for example one that includes a wax and polish, you’ll be able to stretch your washes out a little further as the wax will repel dirt and water marks.