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Summer Car Care: 5 Tips

What to do, and what not to do.

The summer is when the majority of our exterior vehicle maintenance takes place. It is also the time that we get tons of questions about how to properly detail your vehicle at home between major cleans at our shop. This week we put together our top 5 tips for summer car care. A few are things you should ALWAYS do and a few are things you should NEVER do. Read on, and if you have any questions, just ask, we love to hear from you.

1: Remove Bird Droppings Immediately

We wrote this up extensively before, but it demands repeating. If bird droppings or bug guts get on your paint, spray it off as soon as possible (even if you can’t wash the entire car) in order to prevent the paint from being etched. The longer contaminants sit on paint, the faster it can damage paint, so even carrying around a quick detailing spray and a microfibre cloth can help remove contaminants quickly

2: When You Wash, Never Use Dish Soap

Always avoid using household cleaning agents like hand soap, dishwashing detergent, or glass cleaner on the paint of your vehicle. These aren’t formulated for use on a car’s paint and will strip off the protective wax. Without the wax coating your clear coat is going to stain and discolour much more quickly than it should.

3: Apply Wax in the Shade Only

If you are going to apply wax at home, it should only be done when the paint has a low surface temperature. Be sure to do one body panel at a time as you work your way around the car. When you’re finished, wipe the wax off with a microfibre cloth. Going back to the wash tip mentioned above, using dishwasher detergent breaks down this protection faster, which removes your paint’s sun screen.

4: Avoid a Rotary Buffer

Unless you’re a professional, you should avoid using a rotary buffer to apply wax. These buffers require training and can ruin the paint quickly if used incorrectly. Instead, many companies now offer oscillating, dual action buffers that won’t cause swirl marks and make damaging your paint “virtually impossible.” They only make it worth the cost if you plan to wax 3 or 4 times a year, so you may be better off bringing this in when you would like it done anyways.

5: Pressure Wash VERY Carefully

Sure, a pressure washer can blast away grime and dirt, but those opposed say it can also damage a vehicle if you don’t know what you’re doing. You might force water into areas it’s not meant to go, rip off trim or peel paint if you happen to hit a flaw.

When it comes to pressure washing, the concerns are more than just cosmetic. According to DEKRA, a German safety organization, it takes only five seconds of highly pressurized water aimed directly at a tire sidewall to damage or weaken it. If it is the only tool you have, pressure wash from a considerable distance to avoid paint damage.

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