Maintaining Your Car’s Finish

Maintaining Your Car’s FinishIs it better to wash your car by hand or by machine? Use the garden hose and some soap in your driveway or pay for a hand wash at the local car wash? What is the best way to keep your car’s finish looking good?

During this seemingly endless recession, people are trying to reduce what they spend on non-essentials. If they splurge at all, it’s on a much more limited basis. But did you realize that cutting back on the care of your automobile can be doing more harm than you imagine? Many people have decided to skip that car wash every week to save money. After all you can do just as good a job at home, in your driveway, for a fraction of the cost.

So you head to the local automotive parts store and purchase the best equipment for the job. Or perhaps you already have the cloths, sponges, a bucket, some soap and a hose at home. It can’t be that difficult, can it? After all you are saving money.

Actually, you may be harming that beautiful factory finish more than you realize in the long run. Even with good care and thorough cleaning, those sponges and towels that you use can eventually get contaminated with dirt and particles. These will scratch the paint and the clear coat, causing your car to be less shiny and allowing water and dirt in. The garden hose you use will not be powerful enough to remove all the detergent that you have used and that soap residue can actually bake into the factory finish.

Mercedes -Benz and the Technological Institute of Munich performed a study that showed that a wash at the local auto wash is by far the best way to protect the shine and luster of your cars factory finish. Two identical sedans were covered with a variety of dirt and road grime for the test. Then individuals were asked to clean the cars using whatever means they normally employed. These individuals were not informed beforehand of the purpose of this study.

Electron microscopes were used to determine the thickness of the factory finishes and after the washings noticeable scratches were visible on the surface, some of them went as deep as 10% into the finish. These scratches were attributed to the dirt and particles trapped in the rags and sponges that were used by those doing the cleaning.

Next they took the same cars to commercial car washes for a cleaning. There were no appreciable scratches or degradation of the paints surface.

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If you take good care of the exterior surface of your car, it will continue to look new for years. One caution, though. Some commercial hand car washes use dirty sponges and rags. This will have the same effect as washing it at home with dirty materials. Also, there are some automatic car washes that use plastic brushes. These can also be damaging to the paint. Look for an automatic car wash that uses sponge brushes, as they are softer or better still a touch-less car wash that uses high pressure water instead of brushes.

You also need to remember to keep your car waxed. Each time your car is washed, some of the wax will be removed. From time to time you need to replace this wax in order to protect the paint and keep your car looking its best. You may save money by washing yourself but protecting your cars finish can help you obtain more money when and if you sell or trade in your vehicle.

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