By guest blogger: Kimberly Devitt

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor activities, but between road trips and beach trips, it's probably time to give your car a little TLC. As the weather heats up, keep your vehicle looking good by trying these do-it-yourself tips for car washing. Find a shady spot and get cleaning!

The Best Carwash is a Hand Wash

Experts agree that washing your car by hand is the best way to clean your car. However, steer away from dishwashing detergent, as used by 60 percent of the population. It gets the car clean, but strips any protective wax coatings, exposing the vehicle to possible nicks, scratches, and stains. Instead, use a carwash solution to preserve your car's finish.

  • Bust Out the Panty House
    Brighter lights will help you stay safe on the road. Keep your headlights polished by applying window cleaner and rubbing vigorously with an old pair of panty hose. Yes, you read that right… panty hose.

  • Use Non-Acid-Based Tire Cleaners
    Pros use specially mixed acid solutions to clean dirty tires and to strip residue from new tires, as well as to get stubborn brake dust off wheels. But experts from Popular Mechanics recommend that we amateurs use a non-acid product (found at any major retail store) instead. Acid-based cleaners can cause bare alloy wheels to oxidize and pit, and they can damage wheels painted with color or clear coatings.

  • Dry By Hand
    When water evaporates, it leaves minerals and dirt on the surface of your car. So when you're done with the wash, be sure to dry the surface with a rubber-blade squeegee.

  • Protect Paint with Wax
    You car had a new clear coat when it left the factory, but that coat wears off over time and leaves the paint to fend for itself against the elements. That's where wax comes in. Wax is sacrificial and will wear off over the course of a few months, but in that time it will absorb stains and small scratches before those hazards make it to the paint. Both paste wax and liquid do the job equally well.

  • Make the Glass Shine
    Clean the glass last, because it will have grime and dirt from the other steps. Be sure to use a glass cleaner without ammonia, which most household glass cleaners contain. Ammonia can harm vinyl upholstery and the instrument panel. Plus, it stinks. Buff the glass with a microfiber towel to give your glass a sparkling shine.

  • Vacuum and Shampoo
    Your car's interior is just as important to maintain as the exterior. After vacuuming, use a stiff scrub brush and a foaming carpet shampoo that doesn't leave much moisture. When it's time to dry, keep the windows and doors open.

  • Treat the Leather
    Leather is one of the easiest materials to maintain and can significantly improve the resale value of your vehicle if cared for properly. When cleaning your vehicle's leather, use a quality leather-cleaning product. Next, treat the leather with a conditioner. Apply the conditioner with a slightly damp cloth.

  • Protect the Vinyl 
    This material is subject to the harsh effects of sunlight and pollution, especially at the top of the dash. Treatment of this material is easy, but it should be done on a regular basis. Dirty vinyl can be cleaned with a vinyl upholstery cleaner and a scrub brush. When cleaning the dash, use cotton swabs to clean around the vents. Once done cleaning, apply a vinyl protectant to keep the material pliable.?

  •  Polish the Wood 
    Whether your vehicle has real or imitation wood, never use a harsh cleaner on it. Wipe the wood with a damp, clean cloth. Apply a small amount of wax to give the wood new luster.

Other considerations:

  1. Wipe up messes as soon as they happen. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove a stain.
  2. Always use a clean sponge or cloth when cleaning. Dirty microfiber towels in the wash can be thrown in the wash to preserve for future use.
  3. Keep a grocery bag in your car for trash. Maintain a clean interior by utilizing a dedicated bag for trash and other items to be thrown away.
  4. Use dryer sheets as air freshener. Store dryer sheets under the driver and passenger seats for a fresh, clean scent.

Anderson Subaru Service Department is a great place to learn more about the best way to care for your Subaru. We offer a complimentary car wash every time we service your Subaru. Also, if you ever want help getting your Subaru back to that "new" car condition, we have all the supplies you need as well as a full-service body & detail shop.

Anderson Subaru Parts and Service Departments are focused on giving you the best customer experience every time you bring your Subaru in for service with us.
Categories: Body Shop, People, Service