Protect Your Car, Keep It Clean

Protect Your Car, Keep It Clean


Regular washes can preserve your car's finish and keep its resale value strong.

It has been said that buying a new car is one of the worst investments that people can make. But, few of us buy cars with an eye toward making money off of them. Instead, cars serve to transport us to where we’re going, making it possible for us to get to work, to school, shop, take vacations, and more.

Still, owning a car is a big responsibility one that involves regular upkeep in the form of maintenance and repairs. One area of the car not always treated with respect is the body, particularly the paint, which can fade, chip, and corrode over time. You want your vehicle to always look good, but you also want it to have a decent resale value in case you plan to eventually sell it.

Car Washing Tips

I contacted Jody DeVere of, an automotive advice site for women, about car washing tips. Ms. DeVere offers the following advice to help you protect your car and keep it clean:

  • Don’t use dish soap. Many people think that this is an acceptable cleaning agent for cars–it’s not. Go to an auto store and look for soaps made specifically for vehicles.
  • Use a bucket to mix the soap with water and wash using a big mitt or large sponge. Remember to rinse the sponge/mitt it often to avoid scrubbing dirt and grime back into your car’s finish.
  • Wash your car in the shade so that the car itself is cool and you won’t have the sun drying it faster than you can work, leaving spots.
  • Start with the wheels, one at a time. Hose down one wheel and then spray on a wheel cleaner on the wheel AND rim. Using a brush scrub down all the dirt and mud. Rinse, and then move on to the next wheel. You’ll be surprised at how nice they look!
  • Use a trigger nozzle on the end of the hose. If conserves water and will give a nice, even spray.
  • Hose down the car, from top to bottom.
  • Using your mitt or sponge, scrub the roof, in straight lines, from the innermost part out to the edges. Using a circular motion is not recommended. Rinse the hood.
  • Next, do the sides in the same manner, using straight strokes from top to bottom. Remember to rinse the sponge or mitt frequently!
  • After rinsing the sides, do the hood and the trunk.
  • Be sure to pay special attention to the bumpers and fenders, especially in the front where bugs tend to accumulate. You’ll probably need extra elbow grease here!
  • After these surface areas are finished, spray down the undercarriage to remove the dirt and mud buildup.
  • Once the car is completely rinsed, you’ll want to use a clean, soft cloth to dry it. You’ll want to run it lightly over the surface of the car to smooth out the water droplets. Don’t try to rub out the water. You might need to use more than one cloth, depending on its size and the size of your vehicle.
  • Waxing should be done according to the wax product’s directions, only after your car is completely dry. You should try to wax your car 3 or 4 times per year.
  • For the interior, no vacuum works better than one at the do-it-your-self car wash, but if you don’t have access to one, start by shaking out all removable rugs and mats. Vacuum those outside the car and then move in to get what remains. Check our the auto store for cleansers to wash the dash and interior. Like the no-no on the dish soap, you’ll want to find something that works best on your specific interior. Be sure to read all labels and follow instructions exactly. Remember that the better you care for your car, the better you’ll feel driving it, and your resale value will be tremendously higher if you pay attention to cleaning.

Final Thoughts

Lastly, Ms. Devere advises: “Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire a professional, your vehicle needs a good cleaning at least two times per year. It will keep your vehicle’s paint and interior surfaces in good condition. You and your vehicle will always feel better when it’s clean and shiny.”

Adv. – If you’re planning to buy a new car, then you’ll want to get price quotes or find a dealer to arrange for a test drive. You may also want to arrange for your own auto financing which can save you hundreds of dollars on your next car loan.

Photo Credit: Dawn Allynn


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Categories: Autos Express

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".