Preventing Paint Scratches And Swirls On Black Cars

Henry Ford was on to something when he said, “Any color you like, so long as it’s black.” No color looks as sharp on a vehicle, but keeping it that way is hard work. Black shows dirt and dust, and there’s nothing as annoying as swirl marks on a black car. You can purchase auto scratch removers to lessen the appearance of swirls, but the best approach is prevention. Car paint protection Sydney a product that protects from bird droppings, UV Rays, acid rain, road salt, bug residue is obviously worth a few dollars more to you, then one that just gives a temporary shine.

Clear-Coat Scratches

Modern cars have a layer of “clear coat” over their paint. This protects against scratches and helps keep the paint looking good. However, if you’re careless about car washing, grit particles can cut into the clear coat over time. On silver or gold cars those scratches hardly show, but on a bright day, they’ll look like white swirls against black paint.

Removing Swirl Marks

When swirls are very shallow, it’s sometimes possible to remove them by polishing. However, if that doesn’t do the job, you’ll need a black car scratch remover. This is a compound that gently removes clear coat until swirls no longer show. Scratches going into the paint won’t get completely removed this way. They’ll need touching up with black paint, followed by an application of clear coat and then buffing. Removing swirls from a black car is hard work, so let’s turn our attention to swirl prevention.

Cleaning a Black Car

Owners of black vehicles probably visit the car wash more often, and those flapping soapy strips are the chief cause of swirls. Touch-free washes are better, but they tend to use a lot of aggressive chemicals that are pretty harsh on auto-paint finishes. That leaves only hand washing!

The seven-step hand-washing process:

1. Park in shade and let the paint cool.

2. Rinse thoroughly to remove loose dust and dirt.

3. Practice two bucket washing: Fill one with car-wash solution and the other with clean rinse water. Dip a Wash Mitt (mitts hold more water and are kinder to paint than sponges) in the solution and wipe over a small area. Rinse the Wash Mitt in clean water, then reload with solution and continue. Repeat until you’ve washed every square inch. (For added protection, use a grit guard at the bottom of each bucket.)

4. Don’t use the mitt for the wheels. Instead, work a microfiber towel into the corners of your rims.

5. Rinse the bucket containing the solution with clean water.

6. Use a car specific towel, such as a synthetic chamois, that won’t harm the paint or leave swirls behind after you dry your vehicle. These cloths absorb water on impact and avoid unnecessary rubbing to prevent swirling.

7. Finish with a coat of wax. This will be easier with The Glosser. This three-layer microfiber towel is lined with cleaners and waxes for that final showroom shine. Alternatively, save time with the Drying Glosser. This microfiber cloth releases wax when it comes in contact with water to produce a brilliant shine.

Make the Change

Swirl marks on car paint are annoying. Swirls on a black paint job can show easier than any other color. Take note that there are ways of reducing their impact, but it’s always better to avoid making them. By taking the proper steps when you wash and dry your car, you are actively preventing swirls on your black paint job.

What’s the Best Kind of Car Wash?

“Wash me.” We’ve all seen this helpful hint etched into a layer of dust on a stranger’s (or maybe our own) car. When your car gets grimy, what’s your go-to routine? Do you run it through the laser wash? Swing by the gas station for an automated scrub-down? Or maybe you’re the type of vehicle owner who hand washes, waxes, and dries your masterpiece. There are pros and cons to different best car wash products. Here are a few of our observations for the best way to wash a car.

Automatic Car Wash

This type of car wash is popular at gas stations and other independent car wash facilities. You select your wash, drive up to the conveyer belt, and put your car in neutral. You’re then pulled into a tunnel. Brushes and hoses go to work for a few minutes, your car gets a nice rinse, and then you’re on your way. There might be a set of blow dryers at the end of the tunnel, or even an attendant with a chamois waiting to dry off your car.

Pros of an Automatic Car Wash

Time — If you’re in a rush, using an automatic car wash can help you save a few minutes.

Ease of Use — It’s simple. Push a few buttons, pay, and let the car wash do the work.

Cons of an Automatic Car Wash

Detail — If you’re the type who wants to make sure every detail of your car is spotless, an automatic wash might not be for you. While it’s quick, you might be left with some bugs, dirt, or water spots at the end.

Breakdowns — You always run the risk of one or more wash tunnels breaking down, which can cause traffic jams on nice days.

Damage to Paint Job — Depending on the vehicle and the type of material used in the brushes of the car wash, you may notice some scratches on your paint job after running the car through the wash.

Automatic Touchless Car Wash

This type of car wash is similar to the automatic car wash. The main difference is that your car remains stationary during the wash, and the machine uses streams of water to wash your vehicle instead of brushes. This can save you from possible dings and scratches caused by other automatic car washes. The other pros and cons of automatic touchless car washes are the same as those of automatic car washes.

Self Service Car Wash

Self service car washes allow you the room to wash your own car by hand. You typically pay to use the soap, water, and brushes available at the facility.

Pros of a Self Service Car Wash

Space — Self service car washes are great for people who don’t have a driveway of their own, such as condo or apartment dwellers.

Convenience — If you don’t have the supplies to wash your car at home, a self service car wash is a convenient solution.

Detail — Make sure your car shines exactly the way you want it to by washing it yourself.

Cons of a Self Service Car Wash

Price — Considering that you’re doing the work yourself, self service car washes are a little pricy.

Crowds — Just like other public car washes, you may run into lines and long waits on nice days.

Auto Detailing Service

Make an appointment, drive your car to the detailing shop, and the rest seems to take care of itself. When you pick up your car, it’s sparkling inside and out. Auto detailing services hand wash and dry your car’s exterior, wax it, and clean the interior meticulously.

Pros of Auto Detailing Services

Detail — Nothing beats having your vehicle hand washed and detailed by professionals.

Convenience — You get professional results without the elbow grease.

Cons of Auto Detailing Services

Price — Depending on the level of service and the reputation of the detailing service, get ready to shell out some cash for this car wash option.

Detail — Wait, this is a con too? Yep, that’s not a typo. Make sure to check reviews of detailing services and ask around before you decide where to take your car. You may end up with a subpar — but still very expensive — result if you’re not careful.

Classic Cars: Original, Restored, Restored and Modified

Not all owners of classic cars think in the same way. Some prefer to keep them original (patina and minor issues), some completely restore them and some restore them and also do modifications. All three require the love and attention to detail of a classic car collector. No matter his preference the commitment, effort and knowledge associated with this very involved hobby is admirable. Roads can wreak havoc on your vehicle like rock chips, road salt, tar, and bugs destroy a car’s paint but now we have a car paint protection Adelaide to protect our vehicle.

Original Vehicles

An original vehicle is one that has been maintained so well that it has all of its original factory specified parts. Their parts have been mostly fixed rather than replaced and if they had been replaced at one time it will have been with the original part intended for the model from the exact year of its introduction. To determine the originality of a classic, enthusiasts look for “matching numbers”, serial numbers that are stamped on parts throughout the car that match each other and the number originally associated with the car in its year.

Pros and Cons

Original vehicles are extremely hard to come by. To produce one takes the most time and money because the original parts are as rare as or more rare than the car itself. Because of the lack of availability of models and their parts, many car owner’s claiming “original” are actually restored. A true original and a restored vehicle should look the same and nearly operate the same, but because of the difference in original parts vs. re-manufactured parts, the prestige and value of a true original is significantly higher. The value of the three types of vehicles fluctuates based on the changing demand of collectors just like many consumables, but original vehicles, even in their shabbiest appearances can sell for 35% more than their perfectly restored opponent, a reason why you’ll find a lot of speculation on which route to take.

Restored Vehicles

Restored vehicles are made to look and drive like they did the day they were introduced to consumers. Their owners however, choose to replace parts with factory refurbished remakes of original parts. Using the original as inspiration, a car restorer will match the interior, parts and paint as closely to its glory days as possible.

Pros and Cons

Because restoration parts are easier to obtain and the restoration route creates more of its kind, this vehicle is less rare and often less valuable than an original. This is also the reason a collector can achieve results faster and perhaps joyride in his car sooner and for longer, a pro that’s hard to argue if you’re familiar with the work required of an original. As previously stated, the monetary value of a restored is less than an original in many cases, but there is value in having the most fun in your car and if that’s a high priority for an owner than this is a fine choice!

Resto-mod Vehicles

Resto-mod is short for restored and modified. These vehicles are the furthest from originals. They are restored and often “modernfied” if you will. Some owners choose to enhance the engine, make it more fuel efficient, or add modern luxuries like a preferred sound system or safety features.

Pros and Cons

The sky is the limit for an owner with the freedom of modifications. He can build his dream car! Resell for these cars is difficult though and the return could be even less than was put in it so this is the biggest pit fall. The reward is grand and the risk too, is grand, but for many this is the perfect fit for them. The value of a restored and modified vehicle is very unpredictable because the vehicle has been tailored to its owner’s specific tastes and he’d have to find a similar buyer, something to consider when choosing this method and while choosing each modification as well, if reselling is an area of importance at all.

The debate and judgment of this sector of cars will always be, keeping this art form alive and well, but one thing is certain; classic car owners love their cars and that’s worthy of respect. After considerable research you’ll find that each collector has to make their car collecting decisions based on his own lifestyle and what he plans to do with it, re-sell or enjoy. Learn more on how well it’s been done and cared for.

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Choosing a Car Repair Shop to Paint Your Vehicle

Car repair can be about getting your brakes fixed, your oil changed, your exhaust pipe replaced or it can be about getting a paint protection job. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident and your paint job needs work then you need to start looking for an auto paint shop that will do an excellent job for you and will also charge you a price that is fair and is in line with your budget.

You may not have been in an accident but the paint on your car is beginning to fade and it looks less than stunning. Look for a car repair service that offers paint jobs for the make, model and year of the car that you have. Or maybe you just want a change in color. A car repair in the form of brand new paint work can be very expensive which is why you need to do the right amount of research that can help you zero in on a service center that can do your car proud.

Checking online for auto paint shops is a good idea. Use the virtual encyclopedia to find what you are looking for when it comes to all different types of car repairs. To refresh the look of your car with a splash of paint you need to find a shop that hires painters who are experienced and qualified at what they do.

Before you take your automobile to any particular body shop you need to review as many that you can find over the web as possible. A review will make it possible to compare one shop to a selection of others. Consider the location of the service center to your home which has to do with convenience. You also must consider the credentials of the painters, the estimated costs and the guarantees that accompany the estimates. You need to learn as much as you can about a service shop that does paint work and looks promising to you. You need to learn about its history and its reputation. You need to find out if the facility is credible and worthy of your business or whether you should keep looking.

Every car repair business should be able to offer you the highest of quality. One way to help you in your search for such a business is to look online for customer testimonials. In this way you will get the perspective of those who have already been to the business and have experience with it.

Everyone wants to pay as low a price as possible to have their car painted. There is nothing wrong with looking for a low price but a low price should not mean that you receive low quality work. The same works for a high price and high quality — they do not necessarily go together. This is why you need to be smart about your choice. Keep cost and quality balanced in your mind as you look. Learn more to consider both elements because they are both essential ingredients when it comes to getting your motor vehicle painted.

Reasons to Use a Professional Auto Paint Shop

One of the guaranteed ways to give your car a new touch of class and elegance is having it painted by a professional. Due to the complexity of this task, it is recommendable to find an auto paint shop that is reputable and legally accredited. Here are some of the benefits of seeking professional services. New car paint protection can prevent corrosive and toxic-to-paint materials from sticking to and embedding themselves into the surface of your vehicle’s paint.

Right Tools and Equipment

Although deciding to paint your own car is a viable idea, it will take more than purchasing a can of paint and a brush. Professional auto painting experts have modern tools and equipment that they use on a daily basis. By hiring them, you will save money that you would have spent purchasing these tools. In addition, they have the skills and ability to operate the equipment. Hence, you can rest assured that your car is in safe hands.

Right Type of Paint

Nowadays, there are hundreds of varieties in the market, and this makes it quite overwhelming and tedious to choose the right one. Experts in this field know the pros and cons associated with each paint variety. Hence, they can help you choose one that suits your personal tastes and preferences as well as the model of your car.

Right Color Choice

The best auto paint shop has the equipment and skilled personnel to create and mix a wide variety of colors. Thus, you are not limited to just one specific color. If you want to conceal some scratches, the expert will give you a color mix that perfectly matches the existing color of your car.

Custom Services

Although plain solid colors are still very popular, most customers, especially the young generation, prefer customized auto paint services. Facilities that offer this service can customize the color and general appearance of the car to fit your specifications. Some of the factors that are put into consideration when choosing a design include bumper, handles, wheels, and car model.

Below are some of the factors that you should consider when looking for an auto paint facility.

Choose Accessibility

To save time and money, it is recommendable to choose a facility that is located close to your residential area or workplace.

Get Several Cost Estimates

One of the best ways to avoid overcharges is to get cost estimates from different auto shops. Take your time comparing prices to find one that best suits your budget. Needless to say, the cost should be close or directly proportional to the quality of the service.

Ask Questions

Do not walk into your preferred facility with your pocketbook open; ask questions before they start working on your car to avoid any inconveniences down the road. For instance, ask if the shop offers a written guarantee. Most facilities offer a three-year warranty for complete car paint jobs and a two-year warranty for bodywork.

Choosing the right auto paint shop is one of the best ways to take good care of your car. Make sure that you consider each of these factors to make the right decision.

To learn more about their options for an auto paint shop, South Beach, OR residents should visit http://www.mainautobody.net/about-us/.

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Interior Painting Ideas

By keeping the exterior painting to a bare necessary minimum, you can spend more time and more creativity inside. You can let your imagination run riot with all those interior painting ideas you always wanted to implement but never got around to. There’s no time like the present, and really, when are you going to paint your house again? If you stick to the drab and uninspired you can be assured that it won’t be at least for a few more generations. Car paint protection is required for new cars prone to debris and scratches nowadays.

Don’t get alarmed though, when I’m talking about out of this world interior painting ideas I’m not saying that you should go with something that might resemble a Picasso painting. I’m talking about something more along the lines of a paint job that will resemble you and reflect back who you are. So your interior painting ideas need not be anything bolder than a splash of vibrant color on one wall surrounded by soothing colors on the other walls.

This works very well in any house and the vibrant color that you pick out can be either soothing or primal depending on what you want to show of yourself. You could of course always go to extremes and paint all the walls a bright vibrant shade or even mix and match different shades to different walls. If you’re doing this then you might want to think about the effect you’ll have and whether you can actually live with the color scheme.

Wild and inspired interior painting ideas are well and good, but you should always take into account whether you’re going to be able stand the sight of your newly panted walls or not. If you have to repaint everything it kind of defeats the purpose. This doesn’t mean that you should put a hold on your creativity or stifle your interior painting ideas, all it means is that for some of the bolder ideas you have, that perhaps you should do a small test-run somewhere else.

Don’t think that painting your house should be a chore, and if you really want you can always think you’re Michelangelo or Da Vinci or any one of those great artists, and even paint a stunning mural on your walls. The only requirement here is that you turn your great interior painting ideas into reality and that you have you fun while you’re doing it.

How to Prevent Scratches, Swirls on a Black Car

Maintaining a black car’s exterior is an intimidating experience considering a single finger swiped across the paint can show a noticeable blemish. Cars.com’s long-term 2013 Subaru BRZ test car’s Crystal Silica Black looked awful after 14,000 miles of not-so-great paint care, and we vowed to never own a black car again. We didn’t have much choice when it came time to buy our 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300 long-term test car; black is the most popular C300 color in Cars.com national inventory of 2015 and 2016 models, and our car came with the right options and price. Nothing to worry for protecting your car paint as long as you rely on car paint protection in Melbourne.

Nationally, however, silver led the list in Axalta’s Global Automotive Color Popularity report for 2014, with black a close runner-up. With so many cars coming off the assembly line with fresh coats of deep, glossy black paint, we gathered tips from car-care experts on how to keep that luster looking as good as new.

Truth is, a black car doesn’t scratch more easily than any other color; the tips below will help keep any car’s paint color free of scratches and swirls. Modern cars use clear-coat paint, and what you’re actually washing and working with is the top layer of clear coat; the colored paint sits underneath this protective coating. A scratch in the clear coat appears white in all cars but contrasts with the black paint to create a more noticeable blemish, said Mike Pennington, global director of training at Meguiar’s, a manufacturer of car-care products.

Dirt Is Your Enemy

Clearly, right? Why else would you be washing your car? But what’s really happening is the fine scratches and swirls you see in a black-painted car’s reflection are typically the result of careless, preventable car-washing techniques. Cobweb-like swirls and scratches can look like a bad machine detail even though they’re inflicted by washing techniques.

“If there’s dirt, then you’re grinding it into the paint. The whole idea is to not scrub the paint. And that’s important in a black car because every scratch will show,” said Mike Phillips, director of training at Autogeek.net, a car-care vendor and enthusiast detailing forum.

Before you scrub, spray the car with a garden hose or high-pressure car-wash hose. A good rinse beforehand removes as much mud or dirt as possible.

Two-Bucket Wash Method

Separating the dirty rinse water and clean soapy water into two buckets can keep contaminants from going right back onto the paint. Using just one bucket means that all of the dirt and grime taken off the exterior with a wash mitt dumps into the wash bucket, where the mitt can then pick it up again. “The idea of two buckets is that one is your wash solution and the second is plain water. Start washing at the top of the car and work your way down, rinsing the mitt by going into to plain water bucket first to dislodge debris. Dirt going back to [the] car is a big contributor to scratches and swirls over time. You might not see it immediately, but long term, absolutely,” Pennington said.

Experts warn to avoid using dishwasher detergent to clean the car. Dish soap is a degreaser and cleaner, so it strips wax or sealant protection away from the clear coat. Instead, use a car-wash solution to keep lubricity over the paint while you clean the car, which will help minimize friction and the potential of scratching.

A Grit Guard insert, recommended by Phillips, is also something to consider for wash buckets. The vane-type plastic tray sits at the bottom of the water bucket and serves to scrub off dirt from the wash mitt; dirt and debris fall to the bottom of the bucket where the vanes’ design traps them.

Use High-Quality Wash and Dry Products

Minimizing the harshness of anything that touches the paint in the wash and dry process is key, considering even the lightest hairline scratch appears on a black exterior.

“For a black car, you really want to use the softest materials you can find. You want to use something high-quality and gentle to the paint. A high-quality microfiber towel will absorb seven times its weight in water without scratching the paint,” Phillips said.

A microfiber chenille wash mitt is soft, washable and will outlast cheaper-quality ones that fall apart after a few washes. A good practice is to have two wash mitts or sponges, one for body work and another for wheels.

Drying a black car incorrectly can be dangerous territory too, so use the right products.

“If you are going to use a towel, use a proper scratch-free microfiber drying towel, often in the form of a waffle-weave microfiber drying towel. These are nice because they have less friction points and wick away water,” said Jim Dvorak, product specialist at Mothers Polish.

Technique is important, too. Lay the microfiber towel over a spot and pat it so you’re not dragging the towel across the surface. This blotting technique prevents the towel from dragging across the paint and reduces potential scratches. It’s a technique Phillips uses for black cars.

Not everyone has the time or obsessive-compulsive nature for the blotting method, so experts suggest moving the microfiber slowly when drying, if not using the blotting method.

“Other ways to dry that can work exceptionally well include using a leaf blower, Dvorak said. “It’s especially useful if you have a lot of body panels or grilles that are intricate and leave spots where water can rest. Side-view mirrors tend to hold water in them and will drop down the side of a car, and a leaf blower takes care of this.”

An air compressor with the proper attachment also can be used to dry a car’s exterior without any physical contact.

Apply Wax

Car wax is like sunscreen for your car’s paint. Wax protects against the sun’s harsh rays while also helping the exterior shed water and stay shiny. After all, that deep, mirrorlike shine is what makes owning a clean black car so rewarding. Apply wax as soon as possible to protect the paint, but also check the owner’s manual for its recommendations.

“Find a quality brand wax you like, apply as soon as new and reapply two to three times a year,” Phillips said. “Put it on your regular maintenance plan, including once before winter and once before summer.”

Wax is one area where products designed specifically for black paint are available. The shine on these styles is formulated to create a deeper, darker reflection, like looking into a puddle of engine oil. Some also have a light polishing effect to remove light scratches.

“Modern synthetic waxes provide a wet look to make a black paint look better. Many use mild polishes to brighten finishes and remove mild defects. And the nice benefit with modern synthetics is that they’re easier to use [than carnauba waxes]. You don’t have to labor over waxing a car,” Dvorak said.

Avoid Brushed Automatic Car Washes

The ultimate goal is to keep dirt from being scrubbed into the paint and creating scratches; it’s a crapshoot whether those spinning brushes of doom at an automatic car wash are clean or filled with mud from the off-road truck that went through before your car.

Even hand-wash car washes are suspect because you don’t know how clean their washing and drying towels are or how they’ve been used. Take note of touchless car washes, which spray and rinse but don’t contact your car, are the best bet for a quick wash — though they aren’t completely safe because the harsh wash chemicals can strip wax, Dvorak said.

This may not be what you want to hear, but the most dependable way to prevent scratches and swirls on a brand-new black car is to do it yourself using the tips outlined by car-care experts above.

How to Wash a Car Like the Pros

A good, thorough car wash involves more than simply running your car through a machine. We brought a car to Mothers, the well-known manufacturer of car washing and detailing products, to learn how to wash a car the way the pros do it. This is our best car polish we have ever offered, you will not believe the results.

What You Will Need to Wash Your Car

1. Car wash soap. We used Mothers’ Carnauba Wash & Wax, which is available at retailers and online (Compare Prices).

2. A wash mitt made of sheepskin or microfiber cloth. Both materials are designed to pick up and hold dirt. Mothers prefers microfiber mitts as they have more “fingers” to scrub the car. Sponges work too, but a wash mitt makes the job easier and is kinder to your car’s finish. It’s not recommended to use towels as they merely push the dirt around rather than pick it up.

3. Two buckets.

4. A drying cloth. Chamois (natural or synthetic) is the traditional choice, but it can scratch your car’s paint. An absorbent waffle-weave drying towel makes the job faster and easier. You’ll also need a few extra microfiber detail towels.

5. A shady location. Direct sunlight will dry the car prematurely and leave spots.

6. A dirty car.

Pre-treat Stains

It’s important that for pretreating stains and washing your car you do not use dishwashing or household soap. Dish soap is hard on the rubber components of your car, plus it can remove your car’s wax coat.

To begin, if your car has bird droppings, dead bugs, sap or other hard-to-clean stains on the paintwork, apply car wash soap directly to these stains. The folks at Mothers use a spray bottle filled with undiluted car wash soap.

Products used:

Mothers Carnauba Wash & Wax

Wash the Wheels

Wash the wheels before the rest of the car. If the wheels are hot, spray them down with water to cool them, as the heat will evaporate the cleaner and cause spots to appear. You can use regular car wash soap, but a dedicated wheel cleaner makes the job easier.

Spray the cleaner directly onto the wheels and tires, then use a soft brush to scrub them down. A brush is the best way to clean wheels, but if you are going to use a mitt or a sponge, don’t use the same one you’ll be using on the rest of the car. It will pick up dirt from the wheels that can scratch the paint. Use an old, dirty wash mitt or sponge instead, and a detail brush or an old toothbrush for small openings.

After scrubbing, rinse the tires thoroughly. Once you’re done, take a step back — it’s amazing how much better a car looks with just clean wheels!

A note on cleaners: Many tire cleaners are designed for newer wheels. For older wheels, which may have scratches, weathering, or other compromises to their finish, Mothers recommends a gentler product such as their Aluminum Wheel Cleaner.

Products used:

Mothers Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner
Mothers Aluminum Wheel Cleaner
Mothers Wheel Brush
Mothers Detail Brush

Rinse down the car, starting at the roof and working your way down. Pay special attention to the area around the windshield wipers, as leaves and dirt tend to collect there.

After rinsing, open up the hood and trunk and clean out any accumulated leaves and dirt. Spraying water with the hood open is not recommended, especially if you have some place to go that day; if the engine’s electrical bits get wet the car may not start, plus the hose pressure can damage rubber seals that may have gotten brittle with age. The best way to clean these areas is to put on latex gloves and scrape out the dirt with your fingers.

Use Two Buckets

Why do you need two buckets? A separate rinse bucket will remove the dirt that your wash mitt picks up. If you use a single bucket, you’ll be depositing all that dirt into the soapy water, loading it back onto your wash mitt, and rubbing it all over your car.

Fill one bucket with car wash soap and water (mixed as per the instructions on the bottle) and the other bucket with clear water. Dip your wash mitt in the soapy-water bucket, wash a small section, then rinse your wash mitt in the clear-water bucket before reloading with suds.

Products used:

Mothers Wash Bucket
Mothers California Gold Car Wash

Scrub!

Scrub your car from the top down. Don’t press too hard on the mitt, because you want to avoid grinding in dirt that could scratch the paint. As you wash, it’s important to keep the car wet, especially when you get to difficult patches such as bird droppings and sap. Use your hose to mist the car as needed. Sap can be removed with gentle thumb-nail pressure, but be careful not to get over-zealous and scratch the car. Harder stains will require a more thorough cleaning. Take your time to remove the stains, because if they’re ignored, they can cause permanent damage to the paint.

Other places to be diligent about are small cracks and crevices, as these are spots where dirt loves to collect. The wash mitt allows you to apply finger-tip pressure to many of these spots, but some areas may require a detail brush or a bit of improvisation. Be gentle when using a detail brush — you don’t want to scratch the paint or damage old, brittle seals.

Products used:

Microfiber wash mitt
Sheepskin wash mitt

Quick Suds-over

After you’ve scrubbed down the entire car, give it a quick once-over with your sudsy wash mitt. This will help avoid water spots — most car wash soaps have an anti-spotting agent. Dish soap doesn’t have the anit-spotting agent which is another reason not to use it.

As you’re sudsing the car, remember to rinse and reload the mitt frequently and work from the top down.

Products used:

Microfiber wash mitt
Sheepskin wash mitt

Final Rinse

For your final rinse, remove the spray nozzle from your hose. Rinse from the top down, using a gentle stream of water to flood the surface of the car and allow the suds to cascade off. Keep the hose close to the car; extend your index finger or thumb just past the edge of the hose to avoid accidentally scratching the paint.

Pro tip: Rinse the ground right around your car to wash away dirt and prevent you tracking it into your car or house.

This is a perfect time to check your wax coat. If the water beads into droplets, your car’s wax coat is fine. If it doesn’t, as in the photo shown, you’ll need to wax the car after you’re done washing it.

Primary Dry

It’s important to dry the car quickly to avoid water spots. We used a special waffle-weave drying towel, which is designed to absorb ten times its weight in water. You simply spread it out on the car and drag it across the surface, and it will pick up most of the water without scratching. Take note it’s much easier than using a chamois and less likely to scratch the paint.

Products used:

Mothers Ultra-Soft Drying Towel

Detail Dry

Use microfiber detail towels to remove any excess water. Open the trunk, hood and doors and wipe out the doorjambs and other hidden areas. Neglecting these areas can cause water to drip out and leave spots.

Products used:

Microfiber detail towels

Clean Car Engine Tips

When it comes a clean car engine you may also get a window cleaner for your car, many people are scared by the thought of cleaning a car engine themselves. Due to the many electric connectors and other moving parts that make up a car engine, the thought of detailing the motor makes most of us run in the opposite direction.

The good news is that despite all the bad information repeated by misinformed people, car engine cleaning is one of the easiest jobs in the area of auto detailing in general! A few simple steps will go far when it comes to engine bay detailing and cleaning. Follow along as we dissect this area of auto detailing so you can become part of the select group of people known as the informed, and enjoy the benefits first hand that a clean engine means!

A Clean Engine is a Happy Engine!

Just look at the difference between the before and after car engine pictures just below and tell me which you would rather see when lifting the hood to your car!

Engine Cleaning and Detailing Quick Review:

The analysis of a car engine.
Why would you want to clean a car engine?
Is it as difficult as it seems?
What is the best car engine cleaner to use?
What are the safe methods for a clean car engine?

Analysis of a car engine: Car engine’s today are not the car engines of yesterday. If you look at your car engine you will start to notice a few critical factors that actually make car engine cleaning and detailing safer and easier than ever:

Much of the engine is covered in plastic shrouding.
Electric connectors are fully protected with sturdy plastic housings and assembled using moisture protecting grease.
Electronic ignitions mean the elimination of traditional distributors and carburetors.
Alternators remain as the only sensitive area with the appearance of exposed wires, etc.

The good news is that any modern day car engine (referring to any car engine within the last 20 years) is extremely protected from water, dirt, and other harmful elements of car ownership in the real world. The alternator is about the only thing any lay person can identify that would represent some form of risk, and the good news is that alternators represent no risk from direct contact with water.

Why would you want a clean car engine: Admittedly many of my detail customers from my detail business do not even look under the hood of their own cars, but for many more people, a clean car engine is as important as a clean and detailed car itself. Beside the obvious, there are numerous reasons a person would want a clean and detailed auto engine:

I believe that mechanics treat cars relative to how your car has been kept up to the point they start to work on it. A dirty engine for many mechanics is a sign of a non-particular customer.
A clean engine reveals any problem areas of an engine when leaks of any kind occur such as oil or coolant leaks.

A person forgets to install engine oil cap and creates a mess throughout engine bay.
Dirt by nature will degrade anything and everything within your engine bay.

Is it difficult to clean car engine: No! The good news is that for most of your car engine cleaning chores, it is more about superficial dirt and oil. The days of thick, heavy grease on your car engine is mostly a thing of the past, and any car detailing tasks will be mostly about day to day dirt and grime that will build up in the engine bay over time. Automotive engine cleaning is as simple as these steps:

Spray engine cleaner or degresaser over entire engine and engine bay.
Spray to remove engine cleaner and dirt from engine bay and engine with water; either from pressure washer, self-serve car wash bay pressure washer, or water nozzle attached to your own garden hose.
Blow engine and engine bay area with leaf blower, or compressed air to remove excess water from engine before starting engine.
Start engine and run for 5 minutes to completely dry all moving parts.
Follow-up with engine dressing if desired.

What engine cleaner or degreaser works best: This is an area that doesn’t need to be over thought. Let me lay out the simple points you need to understand and consider when trying to decide upon the best engine cleaner before I get into my actual engine cleaner and steps I use professionally to clean and detail my own customers car’s:
Spray engine with degreaser; a cool to warm engine is preferred. An overly hot engine is not recommended as your engine cleaner will dry too quickly.
Keep chamois or micro-fiber handy to wipe off any over-spray from car paint; or, apply a layer of car wax to painted areas surrounding engine bay prior to spraying any engine cleaner to engine.
Manually agitate excessively dirty areas of car engine and engine bay area with brush for a really clean car engine!
Wash off with water either under normal household water pressure from garden hose, electric pressure washer, gas powered pressure washer, or self-serve car wash location with pressure washer accessibility. (adjust pressure by simply moving wand tip further from engine parts; use common sense here when working around sensitive parts.)
Don’t over-saturate car engine with water pressure. Use enough to do the job and apply caution to protected areas such as fuse boxes.
If this is your first time, you will be nervous. But go easy and work into the process little by little if you remain uneasy. Once again, I have done hundreds of engines in this manner and have yet to have any problems. I have also consulted with more than one mechanic and have verified my process.

Blow excess water from engine bay with leaf blower, or pressurized air.
Start engine and allow engine to raise to normal operating temperatures for complete and thorough drying of all engine components; I also switch the AC on so compressor engages and runs while engine is running. This only takes about 5 minutes of operating time.
Apply aerosol engine dressing shown below if desired for shiny appearance after engine is allowed to cool. This is what is going to make your clean car engine really pop!
Most cleaners with some form of degreaser will work.
The more dirt, grease, oil, and grime, the more you will want what would be called a heavy-duty degreaser.
If a cleaner will cut oil or grease, then you have to remember it will remove any wax you may have on your car’s paint. Care must be taken to keep engine degreaser off car paint. (Learn more on this below)

What is the Safest Method for Cleaning a Car Engine?

Glad you finally asked, as I will show you what I do and use professionally to get perfectly cleaned and detailed car engines. Let me add a few points before we get further:

Engines are made up of hundreds of parts; it would be virtually impossible (unless your car engine was already meticulously detailed) to think you could clean every individual part by hand for fear of getting your engine wet.
I realize that no matter what I say, there will always remain skeptics who will be forever fearful of getting their car engine wet. I still have customers who forever cling to the fear of getting their engine wet.
My clean car engine tips are based on twenty-plus years of professional detail experience.

How to Clean an Engine

Is your car or truck’s engine a greasy mess? Don’t really know how to clean an engine? Follow these simple steps to make your motor as shiny and clean using our car cleaning products.

Clean up your greasy engine

If you’re a clean freak, you’ve probably been degreasing your engine for years. But if you don’t know how to clean an engine, here are two good reasons why you should. First, a clean engine is easier to work on. Second, a clean engine brings more at resale. But you can’t just spray it with degreaser and hose it down. We’ll show you how to prepare the engine to protect critical electrical connections. We’ll also give you some tips for doing the job in an environmentally safe way.

Picking a degreasing product

Degreasing products come in two types: solvent and water-based. Both types work on greasy engines. And both require special environmental handling once they’re applied—even if the label says “environmentally safe” or “biodegradable.” Because once the degreasing solution starts dissolving the grease, it’s considered hazardous waste.

We prefer solvent-based degreasers because they work faster and seem to cut through heavy grease buildup better than most water-based engine cleaner products. The downside is their strong solvent smell. If you’re sensitive to solvents, choose a concentrated water-based product instead.

To get better “cling” on vertical surfaces, choose either a foam or a gel formula (such as GUNK Heavy Duty Gel Degreaser; available at auto parts stores and through our affiliate with amazon.com).

While you’re at the auto parts store, pick up a drip pan and three 3-packs of absorbent mat. We used the inexpensive PIG Universal Medium Weight Absorbent Mat, available at NAPA auto parts stores and tooloutfitters.com.

Warm it up, wrap it up and spray away

Degreasers work best when the grease is warm and soft. So start the engine and let it run for about five minutes. Then shut it off and let it cool down until you can safely touch the exhaust manifold. Never spray engine cleaners (especially flammable solvent types) on a hot engine.

If you’re using a concentrated water-based engine cleaner product, test it on a greasy spot. If it doesn’t cut the grease fast enough, add more concentrated degreaser to the brew.

Next, seal all the electrical connections (Photo 1). Then set the absorbent mats under the engine to soak up the runoff (Photo 2). Prep the worst areas (Photo 3). Then apply the degreaser (Photo 4). Aim carefully to prevent the overspray from reaching painted areas. Rinse lightly with water and remove the plastic wrap. When you’re done, place the wet mats in sunlight to allow the water to evaporate. Then dispose of the mats following local regulations.

For extra protection, spray an engine protectant (GUNK Engine Shine is one brand; available at auto parts stores and through our affiliate with amazon.com) onto the dry engine. Know more that the spray imparts a slight shine and a protective layer of grease to make cleanup even easier next time.

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

Air compressor
Air hose
Drip pan
Flashlight
Knee pads
Nylon brush
Painters tape
Wire brush