Having a perfectly clean car is one of the best ways to prep your car for sale, or just keep up with general maintenance. It has been well established that a regularly washed car can increase the final sale price of your vehicle. It is incredibly important that your car is washed properly, otherwise you can end up missing sections or in the worst case scratch the topcoat of paint.
Tools for the Job
Before you start you need to have the right tools:
- Bucket – at least one but two is better.
- Hoses – a good no kink hose is best.
- Hose Attachment – A trigger spay, that has at least, jet & spray settings.
- Car Wash – Get the right one that is suitable for your car’s paint.
- Sponges – The biggest that will fit in your hand.
- Brush – A stiff bristled brush for tougher areas.
- Chamois – Get the best quality you can afford.
- Small Step – If you can’t reach the middle of your roof, you’ll need some help.
Optional: A High-Pressure Washer – this will help wash the soap off your car in the fastest amount of time. However, they can be expensive and hard to control. Note: They’re not suitable for cars with older paint as it can cause the paint to flake off.
Picking the Right Location
Generally, there are three spots that you can choose to wash the car:
- The Driveway – Good if it is cement and but gravel or dirt is unsuitable.
- The Lawn – Great for watering the lawn as well, can get soggy over time.
- The Road – Usually a good option if you live on a quiet street. Check with council as there may be restrictions against putting soap suds into the stormwater drains.
Steps for Washing the Car
Once your car is parked in the right spot, all of your tools are laid out, and you have a hose long enough to reach all around the car, it’s time to get started!
Mix the soap in the bucket using the manufactures guidelines to get the ratios correct. Ideally have one bucket for the body and another for the wheels, as it’s likely they are going to be the dirtiest part of the car.
If it’s a reasonably warm day, the car will dry fast. This is okay but be mindful that you will either need to periodically wet the car or move fast.
- Start with the Wheels
- Using the hose on jet spray, give the wheels a heavy soaking. Go up into the wheel well and make sure to wash out all the grime and dirt that collects here.
- Once the wheels are wet use the brush to knock off any stubborn dirt.
- Hose them down and inspect for any remaining dirt deposits, if everything is good then use the sponge with a good coating of suds.
- Give the wheels a final rinse with the hose on jet, then finish with a misting spray.
- Give them a final check for that perfect mirror finish.
- Time to Wet & Lather
- Just like when you wash yourself, you need to wet the car down, otherwise the soap will have a hard time doing its job. Use the hose on jet spray to knock off any loose debris and then on a fine mist to get a good even coverage.
- Use the sponge and start from the bottom of the car and work your way up. This is so you can see where you have not yet covered.
- Pay attention around cracks, such as the doors and mirrors.
- Raise the windscreen wipers and give the blades a once over with the sponge. Examine the blades for damage and relace if needed.
- Finish with the roof and make sure you get right to the centre. There’s nothing worse than finishing up only to see a dirty diamond on the roof because you weren’t able to reach.
- Finish with a Rinse & Dry
- Use the hose on jet spray and start on the roof.
- Rinse down and try to avoid blowing any suds back over what you have already washed down.
- Go back over the car once you have washed it down to make sure you get any remaining suds. Be careful not to let suds dry on your car as this can harm your paint.
- Finish with the hose on a misting spray, this will help in getting an even dry and avoid any streaks
- Dry the car with a clean chamois. Wring out the chamois when it gets full of water and keep going until the car is dry.
- Pack everything away, and park the car under cover.