Automobiles are an integral part of our lives, and it is just as important to care for them and maintain them at their optimum performance levels, as it is for our bodies.
The most basic automotive maintenance begins at home, and by focusing on a few vital points regularly will give your car’s life longevity and sustainability.
From everyday observation, begins the discipline of regular habit and simply by taking care of a few visible parameters, we can begin taking better care of our cars.
For average users, living in open row housing or multi-storey societies, it is not important to wash their cars daily. Unless your regular route includes wet roads and muck, daily exposure to water may do more harm than good for your car. However, cleaning your car every day from the inside out helps protect both your exterior and interior. A simple cotton cloth suffices the requirement of a complete wipe-down and is also gentle on the paint finish. One shouldn’t rub the cloth to and fro as it may lead to scratches due to the dust particles trapped between it and the body.
Although most people use hair shampoo to scrub muck dirt off their car, it is ill-advised for regular usage as it can dull the paint quality and make it look old and faded. Some people even go to the extent of using detergents or soaps for washing their car, which is four times as harmful as hair-shampoo. Car cleaning agents are readily available at almost all automotive product and service vendors. These are generally odourless chemicals with a shampoo base and paint protective additives which prevent fading and dullness. Most car-wash centres use regular shampoo and cleaning agents to keep their cost low, however professional car cleaners know better. There are a variety of industry vendors that either manufacture or deal in mild, paint protective shampoo and can easily be found in the yellow pages.
The best way despite all operational methods for car cleaning is doing-it-yourself. It is quite a simple process and if done patiently, reaps surprisingly pleasant results. For those dedicated enough to maintaining their cars, several equipment manufacturers like Bosch, Black &Decker and Stanley, which have numerous options on small, portable car-washers are available online and in the market. The equipment includes a portable plug-in motor, with a high-pressure pipe and a trigger-enabled hose with shampoo attachment. They could cost anywhere between six to eight thousand rupees and come with a six-month warranty. It would give no less than a hundred car washes and that’s nearly three times what one gets if they were to get it done elsewhere. Here’s how washing your car can be fun and productive.
Begin with a high-pressure spray of plain water and make sure to cover all-around, front and back, sides, roof, under the bumpers and inside the wheel arches to remove all the dirt and muck clinging to the car. If the car is still dirty, spray it again and use a wet microfiber towel in small clockwise or counter swirls to release dirt from the body.
Next, fill up the shampoo dispenser attachment that fixes on to the mouth of the hose, or in case of no attachment, uses a small bucket of water with about 23 Ml of the shampoo solution thoroughly mixed in.
Spray the wheels and tyres first, and once covered, use a thick nylon-bristle brush to scrub-clean the sidewalls of the tyres. Either spray the shampoo on the car, making sure to cover every visible inch of it, or apply directly to the body using the same microfiber towel, in repetitive and uniform swirling motions of the hand. Repeat the procedure if necessary, else hose the dirty foam off the car. Once completely hose-rinsed, wipe the car with a clean and thick cotton cloth, in linear, unidirectional motion. This prevents swirl water-marks from being left behind. Once wiped, repeat with soft microfiber again to ensure a completely dry surface. For glass surfaces like windshields, mirrors, headlamps and reflective surfaces such as chrome, it is best to use old-newspapers, to ensure no water-marks are left on them.
It is also important to open all doors, pull out all floor-mats and if necessary, wash them as well. Thoroughly vacuum the interior starting with the floor, door-pockets, cup-holders, nooks and crannies, glove box, storage-compartments, under the seats, and in the seat sliding-rails. If needed, vacuum the boot as well. Use the water-rinsed microfiber towel to wipe clean all interior surfaces, including plastics, doors, switches, clusters and the entire dashboard. For hard to reach corners and surfaces, use a toothbrush.
Replace the dried floor-mats and use interior polish on the plastics, steering wheel (if not covered in leather), and panels. Use a mild car-freshener if required as it will enhance the clean-car experience.