Most everyone who owns a car washes it at some point. I say "most" because I sometimes wonder if some people ever wash their car. They seem to wait until it rains or the lawn sprinkler rinses it. For those who do wash their car themselves, this short article may help keep your car looking better longer.
Two things happen to car paint over time, fading and scratching. The most common ways to reduce paint fade are to keep the car protected from sunlight using a car cover, keeping it in a garage, and waxing it. As far as scratching damages goes, that requires a little more care. Aside from accidental scratching, most small scratches occur while a car is washed.
Automated mechanical car wash technology has only mildly improved since the days I used to run a full service car wash, some 30 years ago. Unless the brushes and cloth parts that touch the car are changed frequently, they will damage the paint as they collect small particles of dirt and slap against the painted surface. Spray only systems eliminate this risk but usually leave a thin film of dirt which still needs to be rubbed off somehow. Weekend driveway hand washing is most damaging. Dirt and grime on the car is added to the wash towel or mitt and acts like sandpaper, scratching the paint with every stroke.
The solution is keeping as much dirt as possible off the wash towel or mitt, especially the part that touches the car. Using a synthetic or terry cloth towel folded in a smart way is a good option. Folding it in four and switching to a clean side as often as possible, flipping and refolding the towel until all clean sides have been used. Front and back sides. This should be done each time the towel is placed in the wash bucket. Preferably after going into the bucket. Using a synthetic wash mitt may also a good choice if it is rubbed clean frequently to make sure dirt particles are removed.
The wash bucket should have a grill type insert to allow the small dirt particles to fall to the bottom of the bucket, keeping the cleaner soapier water above it. This helps ensure the towel will not pick up dirt that has just been rinsed off. A wash mitt can be rubbed against the grill to remove dirt particles as well. The Grit Guard insert and wash system does the job perfectly.
The Grit Guard system has two parts, one sits at the base and one part at an elevated angle over it. As the towel or wash mitt is rubbed against the insert's angled radial surface, particles such as dirt, grit and grime are brushed off. Most of the potentially harmful dirt settles to the bottom of the bucket, keeping it out of your mitt and off of your paint. This simple and cost effective method protects your precious painted surfaces from being damaged by swirl marks and scratches.
Caked on road grime like tar and gum may not come off with a wash towel or mitt. However, it can easily and safely be removed using a plastic scraper. Scraperite plastic razor blades are ideal to have handy during the car washing process as well. Even professional car wash staff use it when touching up the car after the mechanical system has done its part. The General Purpose Orange blades are perfect for use on the paint clear coat. The angled design of the blade lifts the dirt off the surface rather than plow it along.
Using smart tools and devices like the Grit Guard system and Scraperite razor blades, along with some basic common sense, will keep your asset looking good wash after wash. These simple tips will help your maintain good resale value and looking good in the driveway.