Have you ever been standing in the car care aisle at a store and felt overwhelmed by all the options? With so many products on the market, how do you decide which ones are the best for your vehicle? We’ve put together a guide to everything from wax to cleaning cloths to help you know what to look for.
Believe it or not, the soap you use on your vehicle makes a huge difference. Never use common household soaps like dish soap on your car. These detergents strip the exterior of sealant and wax that it needs to protect it. Instead, look for a gentle car soap that will give you enough suds without stripping. Most of these car soaps even contain safe waxing agents, like carnauba. Some of the top-rated car soap brands include Meguiar’s, Chemical Guys and Turtle Wax.
Before you reach for a sponge to scrub your vehicle, stop! Sponges tend to absorb small rocks and grit and then scratch it back onto the paint. Unless you’re using a specialty car sponge, opt for a chenille microfiber mitt instead. For glass cleaning, use a soft towel or disposable paper towels and an ammonia-free glass cleaner like RainX or Sprayway.
Once you’ve cleaned your vehicle, it’s always a good idea to apply a coat of wax to help protect it. Whether you prefer liquid or paste wax is up to you, but brands like Turtle Wax, Aero Cosmetics and Armor All are all good options. In general, waxes are either carnauba-based or synthetic. Carnauba is a natural wax harvested from Brazilian palm trees and is a great natural option, but synthetic waxes can be more affordable.
Don’t forget to clean your tires. Though tires can be cleaned with the same car soap you use for the body of your vehicle, you may need specialty products to cut through the grease and grime that accumulates in the wheel wells and rims. Tire cleaners can also preserve tires and make them shine, but beware of petroleum and aerosol tire sprays. These can leave a greasy residue on tires and lead to premature cracking and drying over time. Additionally, spray sealants can get inside wheel wells where you don’t want them. Opt instead for water-based gel cleaners.
If you have small surface scratches and scuffs, use a clay bar or compound to gently polish away blemishes. True, you can use baking soda and toothpaste to polish headlights, but be aware of harsh ingredients like whitening agents that could do more harm than good. Try a headlight restoration kit for a guaranteed-safe method.
As the weather gets nicer and you wash your car more regularly, remember these tips for safe and effective car cleaning. From all of us here at Quick-Set Auto Glass, drive safely out there!