How to Wash a Car at Home

man washing tires

San Antonio luxury vehicle owners know that regular car washes are essential to keeping their prized coupe, sedan, or SUV sparkling like new, but they do far more than maintain your car’s good looks. When carried out correctly, a car wash helps to protect your vehicle’s exterior paint and can point out imperfections you might not notice otherwise, like minor surface scratches. The service team at Aston Martin Houston understands that you won’t always have time to bring your vehicle in for a professional wash, so we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on how to wash a car at home.

Determine How Thorough of a Wash You Need

Will a basic car wash suffice, or is your vehicle in need of a more in-depth wash job or even car detailing? If it’s a new car or was recently waxed and polished, you’ll probably just need a quick wash. If it’s endured harsh elements like dirt and debris over a period of a few months or more now, it’s likely time for a full package washing.

Getting Started: Rinse & Wash

Before washing with your preferred soap intended for automotive use, you should first rinse your car with water to remove any loose dirt and debris that may be sitting on the surface. Then, use a clean washing mitt to work up a lather with the soap. After rinsing the soap off, use clean, dry microfiber cloths to dry the car completely; you’ll need to move fast to avoid water spots. After washing your car’s body, move onto cleaning the windows with an ammonia-free solution made specifically for cars. Then, clean the wheels and tires with a low-strength, acid-free pH balanced aluminum cleaner.

Take Care of Minor Bumps and Blemishes

After washing your car, you may still find a pesky bit of tree sap, insects, and other contaminants that remain stuck to your car’s surface. You can buff these away fairly easily with a clay bar. If you pick up on any small surface scratches in the paint, try applying a compound with a dual-action polisher to smooth them out. Typically, you’ll need 2 – 4 coats of the compound to get the job done.

Polish Your Car (If Desired)

If you’d like to polish your car, now is the time to do so. A dual-action polisher is usually best, as the oils are what deliver that like-new glossy exterior you’re after. Applying car polish in Sugarland can be done with a clean and dry soft towel or an orbital buffer. The latter option is faster, but you’ll have a little less control over the final result. And, if a bit of debris makes its way under the pad while you’re buffing, there’s the risk of it scratching the paint.

Wax Your Car to Protect the Paint

Did you know that car wax isn’t just used to make your car look good? It also protects the paint, acting as a barrier from the sun’s UV rays. The two most common types of car wax you’ll find at most The Woodlands-area auto stores are carnauba and polymer. Carnauba has the advantage of being more cost-effective, but polymer doesn’t produce the “haze” effect you may have seen before, and there’s no need to allow a long period of time for it to set.

How Often to Wash a Car

Some Houston drivers are unsure of how often to wash a car. The answer really depends on how you drive. Do your daily drives usually entail running errands or commuting to work on paved streets and highways? A car wash every two weeks and a car wax every six months should keep your vehicle looking pristine. If you’re more adventurous and like to drive off-road in vehicles like the Aston Martin DBX SUV, you should clean your car without delay afterward.

Additional Tips for How to Wash a Car

  • Car Wash Supplies: Stick to products that are intended for automotive use only to protect the integrity of your car’s paint, glass, and other exterior surfaces. When you’re washing, use a sponge made from natural materials or a wool or microfiber mitt.
  • Washing: As you work around your car’s exterior lathering it up with soap, pause in between to clean the sponge with fresh water so you’re not transferring dirt from the car body to the windows and wheels.
  • Drying: Avoid letting your car air-dry, as this can cause swirl marks and water spots. Instead, hand-dry the exterior with a clean chamois or terry towel.

Consult Aston Martin Houston for More At-Home Car Care Tips

Have additional questions regarding how often to wash a car depending on your driving habits? Contact the service team at Aston Martin Houston anytime – we’re always happy to provide service tips you can trust, such as how to clean leather car seats and how to clean car mats!

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