Giving your Volkswagen the spring clean it deserves takes more than a bucket of soapy water and a sponge. So, how can you go the extra miles and have your car looking like it’s just rolled out of the showroom? Here are a few tips:
- Don’t clean in extreme heat or direct sunlight. In fairness, we’re still some way from summer so the chances of this are becoming more remote. But, should you be cleaning the car on a warm day, it’s naturally going to dry faster so you’ll have to work quicker. Heat also affects the chemicals in the products you’re using too. It’s ideal to wash a car in a shaded area or in the early morning/late afternoon. Never clean your car after a long drive either, as it will still be hot.
- Remove grime before cleaning. You can actually damage your paintwork if you’re cleaning your car incorrectly. Always clear all the muck off before washing otherwise you’ll create paint swirls and scratches. Try applying snow foam or traffic film remover first, as these will start to wash all the grit off before you wash.
- Don’t use silicone-based sprays inside the car. They’re handy to dress cables under the bonnet but don’t use them in the cabin. Some roadside car washes use them to give a shiny finish, but this isn’t always good, especially if it gets on pedals and makes them slippery. The dashboard doesn’t need to be shiny either as you’ll get reflections from the windscreen in the sunlight. Inside the cabin, just use dedicated dashboard and upholstery cleaners.
- Get a blow dryer. A lot of people will simply drive their cars to dry them off afterwards. This can lead to sticky brakes and water pooling in seals and gaps. You’ll get streaks on the bodywork too, and the left over water drains away. Using a blow dryer prevents this.
- What’s your car going to be doing? You should make your decision on what finish to apply to your car based on what it’s going to be doing over the following days. Is it going to be cooped up in a garage, or spending days out in the open?
- Dress engine and regress parts. Go that extra mile by lifting the bonnet and getting to work on the engine. A well maintained engine encourages mechanics to take more care when carrying out servicing and repairs.
- Take care with your wheels. Make sure the wheel cleaner you’re using is suitable for your particular wheels. Some aluminium surfaces will stain if the wrong cleaner is used, or if it’s too strong. Invest in a good wheel brush too, and this will allow you to clean in between the spokes and callipers which will be coated in brake dust.
- Consider a depth gauge. In order to deal with any imperfections left on your paintwork, you can either use enhancers or go down the more professional route of machine polishing. The principles behind this are to cut back the paint beneath the imperfections using a rotating pad and the heat generated.
- Use a clay bar. The car may look smooth, but by running your hand along the bodywork, you’ll be able to feel any bumpy parts where carbon deposits and other grime have bonded to the paintwork. You can remove this by using a clay bar or fallout remover. The latter can be pricy and pungent, so for the DIY detailer, clay is probably the best way to go.
- Enjoy your Volkswagen. Be proud of the car you’ve spent hours preparing! Enjoy the effort that you’ve put into it. Driving a cleaner car also makes you safer, as you’re more conscious.
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