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Want to learn how to wash luxury car properly? Here’s a step-by-step guide.
Owning a luxury car is a privilege very few people have. That warrants extra care given to luxury cars by washing regularly and detailing it to keep it looking pristine.
You don’t just wash luxury car like you would a conventional car. There are several steps you have to take to ensure that you keep your precious vehicle looking as pristine as when it rolled off the dealer’s place and into your garage.
Related Article: Do Luxury Cars Have Better Paint?
For that, you have to create a schedule for cleaning your car, detailing it, performing preventive maintenance, and preserving its condition. All of these things you’ll still do on a conventional car except you’ll have to be more stringent when you wash luxury car.
This is also the best time to invest in some Turtle Wax Car Care Kit for basic cleaning if you’re in a hurry and can’t wash luxury car.
All right, let’s get started.
Before you wash luxury car, make sure you give it a thorough inspection first. Go around the vehicle and take note of its present condition. Here’s a basic checklist that you might want to consider:
- Does it have any exterior damage that needs fixing?
- Is the paint peeling in some areas?
- Are there any components that need replacing?
- Is rust present?
- Do the light enclosures have any moisture or fogging issues?
- Are there swirl marks, scratches, and other imperfections on the surface when you park the car under the sun or bright lights?
- Are the wheel wells and splash guards in good condition?
- Is it time to bring your luxury car to the dealership yard for scheduled preventive maintenance?
These are just some of the things you need to consider before you wash luxury car. For more things to look out for, check your owner’s manual and ensure everything is taken care of before getting those buckets, sponges, and soap.
Related Article: Why Do Luxury Cars Break Down So Much?
The Basic Way To Clean Your Car
Ok, so now it’s time to wash luxury car properly. Here’s what you need to do:
Preparation To Washing Your Luxury Car
Park your car under the shade. It’s better if you can do it in an area with a controlled environment and an even temperature. Make sure there are no sudden gusts of wind that could kick up dust particles onto your car’s surface. Last but not least, make sure there is proper drainage for the water to run off when you wash luxury car.
Items You Will Need:
- 3 to 5 buckets for putting in clean water. Try Chemical Guys Detailing Buckets, they’re about the right size.
- Clean water supply
- 5 to 15 pieces of clean premium microfiber cloth
- Vacuum Cleaner with different attachments (brush and pinpoint nozzle are the most important attachments). The best we’ve found so far at the right price is the Armor All AA255 2.5 Gal Wet/Dry Vacuum With Blower Function.
- Power Washer (Optional)
- Dual Action Polisher (Optional)
- Automotive Soap
- Obenauf’s Leather Treatment Solution
- Meguiar’s Car Polish
- Meguiar’s Carnauba Gold Class Car Wax
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Clear The Cabin Out First
- Clear out the inside of your car’s cabin first. Remove all of the items inside including the ones hidden inside your dash, cup holders, cubby holes, and other storage areas where dust, dirt, and grime could collect.
- Remove the mats and place them on a hanging station. You can wash these now so it can dry off while you’re cleaning the rest of the car out. Simply rinse the mats, scrub the stubborn dirt out, and let them drip dry until you’re ready to place them back into your vehicle after you wash luxury car completely.
- Inside the cabin, use a small brush to loosen the dust and dirt that cling to the surfaces. Start with the headliner and work your way down. Make sure you pay extra attention to the console and the corners.
- Use the vacuum cleaner to suck out all the dirt and grime from every nook and cranny. Again, start from the headliner and work your way down to the floor.
- After that’s done, wipe the surfaces with a moist rag and apply some leather treatment solution to keep everything soft and supple. Make sure you use a non-silicone matte finish to any surface that might cause incoming glare from external lights.
- Use Armor-All’s Protectant Pack to clean your cabin thoroughly. You can also use this item from the same company.
- Lubricate the door seals with a silicone spray. Spray some on a clean rag and wipe it across the rubber sills to keep it from sticking to each other.
- Spritz some fluid and wipe the glass to get rid of dust accumulation. Dry it off completely with a microfiber towel to complete the process.
- You may replace the mats now or later after everything is done.
- Once the inside is clean, replace everything you removed and close the car doors.
Rinse The Exterior, Underside, And Wheel Wells
- Now it’s time to get those buckets out and fill them up with clean water. Or you can save yourself the trouble by investing in a power washer for convenience.
- Using a bucket is the more economical way to rinse your car off in terms of buying cleaning equipment; meanwhile, using a power washer is the more efficient way to wash luxury car.
- Remove as much of the dirt and grime from your car’s surface by rinsing it with clean water.
- If you’re using a power washer, try not to put it on full blast as the pressure could damage your paint. Dust, grit, and grime can also grind into the surface if you put too much pressure when you wash luxury car with a power washer on full blast.
- Wash the underside of your carriage as well. Make sure you include the wheel wells and skid pads.
- Wash the tires as well.
- Once the entire exterior has been rinsed, move on to soaping your car.
Use The Proper Automotive Soap
- Don’t use dishwashing liquid. Many people make that mistake when they wash luxury car and that can easily damage your paint by stripping your clear coat. Don’t even use it on a conventional car.
- Make sure you apply soap to the top of your car first and work your way down to the bottom.
- You can do this with sponges or with a foam blaster to make your work quicker.
- If you’re using a sponge, make sure you have at least three buckets with one containing soap and the rest, clean water. Label these buckets as one, two, and three. Make sure the third bucket is the one with soap.
- Soak your sponge in bucket one to remove the majority of the grit collected before dunking it into bucket two to clean it further. Once clean, dunk it into the soap and lather your car up. Repeat the process.
- Soap the tires and wheel wells separately. These have the most dirt and grime and should be reserved for last.
- Scrub the inside of the wheel wells first to remove as much of the dirt and grime accumulated there. After that area is clean, move on the tire rims.
- Last but not least, cover as much of the tires with soap as you possibly can and scrub out the dirt caught in between the treads.
Note: Soaping your car should be done quickly as it can leave blemishes if left too long on the car’s surface. Try to get a helper to maximize your speed and efficiency. If you’re working alone, you might have to rinse as you go.
Using A Microfiber Towel Instead Of A Sponge Is A Good Alternative
Use a microfiber towel instead of a sponge. A sponge will hold the dirt in its large pores and scratch your car’s surface like wet sandpaper. You could try to wring out the dirt and grit but you’d have to check if there are any left embedded in the porous surface.
A microfiber towel, on the other hand, will be easy to wash off and clean.
After wiping your car’s surface with the microfiber towel, dunk it into a large rinse bucket to remove the dirt and grime before soaking it into the bucket with soap.
Rinse Everything Off
- Rinse everything off. Ensure that there is no soap left on the surface. Use as much water as needed to remove all the suds and film from the soap and shampoo.
- Use a microfiber towel to remove excess moisture. Rinse into buckets one and two again before wringing it. Once dry, repeat the process of wiping off excess moisture from your luxury car’s surface.
Dry It Off
Use a dry microfiber towel to do this. Just cover as much surface as you can to sop up the moisture and lift the microfiber towel up. Wring and rinse.
Use lots of dry microfiber towel instead of reusing a semi-wet one.
You can also use a blower to complete this process. Just make sure you use one that doesn’t blow dirt directly onto your recently cleaned luxury car.
If you see any scratches:
Make sure you immediately deal with any scratches, fading, peeling, blemishes, and other slight damage on your paint’s surface. This is the best time to do it before polishing and waxing your luxury car.
If these are minor issues, you can always use a scratch removal kit and do a little touch-up. For major issues, seek the help of a professional.
Related Article: Complete Guide To Fixing Peeling Car Paint
Spit And Polish To Make It All Shine
To make your paint shine, polish use a dual action polisher. This is different from a buffer as this machine operates at a lower speed and oscillates as they rotate. This ensures that you won’t raise the temperature of the area you’re operating on and burn the paint off.
Place the polish on the pad before running it across the surface. Make sure the pad comes in contact with the car’s surface first before triggering the machine so the polish doesn’t fly off in all directions.
Remember that the outer part of the polish disc spins faster than the portion nearest to the center. Adjust your pressure to ensure you don’t press too hard and damage your paint in the process. Make sure you check the pads for any dirt or grit and clean it as you go.
Note: Polishing your car should be done in moderation. Doing it too much can damage your clearcoat. Only apply a fresh coat of polish when the old layer has completely washed off.
Use Synthetic Wax To Get That “Wet Look”
If you’re going for that “wet look”, get modern synthetic wax. Apply the wax by dabbing across the vehicle in small patches. After covering the entire vehicle, use a wax applicator sponge to spread the substance all over.
You can also use your dual action polisher to make this process go faster.
Remove Wax Haze With a Microfiber Towel
Wipe off the wax haze using circular motions. Fold the towel as you go along and use a fresh piece when it is full of wax.
Apply Tire Black And You’re Done
To complete the clean look when you wash luxury car, apply some polish on your rims and tire black on the tires. This will make your tires look brand new as the rest of the car after you’re done cleaning.
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Related Article: Caring For SUV Tires: What To Do, Why And When
That’s it! You’re done!
For an even deeper clean, you can do some detailing work after you wash luxury car.
Detailing is a more tedious process that you can do when you wash luxury car to make it look even more glorious.
To do this, perform the basic cleaning procedure but this time, we’ll include the boot and the engine bay.
Free Your Trunk From Junk
Cleaning the boot is the same as cleaning the cabin. Remove everything inside including the spare tire and tools and set it aside for further cleaning. Vacuum the entire space out to remove dust, dirt, and grime. Move from the top of the trunk cover to the bottom.
Apply polish and wax to make this area shine.
Clean Your Engine Bay
To clean the engine bay, you will need a blower. You can use your vacuum cleaner if it has this option. Remove the battery and clean the battery tray. This is also the perfect time to replace the fluids for your radiator, brakes, power steering, and others.
Check your engine if it also needs more oil. Clean up the wires by binding them together with some clamps. The objective is to make your engine bay look as organized as possible. A poorly maintained engine can lead to poor mileage. For more information on that, here’s a related article: 11 Reasons Why Luxury Cars get Bad Mileage
Clean as you go along by spraying some WD-40 and wiping the sections applied to dry. Needless to say, this is going to be the dirtiest place in your car after the wheel wells.
It’s best to have lots of rags to clean this area with. Pay attention to every nook and cranny and remove as much of the grime as you can.
Note: Try to do this before rinsing the entire car and going through all the procedures included in basic cleaning. After rinsing the car off, dry the inside of your engine bay before heading on to other portions of your vehicle.
Related Article: Why Do Luxury Cars Have Big Engines?
Make Your Headlights And Signal Lights Shine Again
Your headlights and light enclosures will receive a lot of abuse the more you drive your car. Since they’re glass, fixing the scratches on these surfaces will need a different approach.
If your headlights are fogging up or have trace evidence of moisture inside, you might need to remove it to clean it properly. Check the drainage holes to see if they’re blocked by dirt or debris. Determine if the enclosure has any damage leading to water getting inside.
If it is broken or cracked, replace the enclosure.
Open the enclosure to clean It up and replace the bulbs if needed to keep your headlights shining bright.
Use the Meguiar’s Headlight Restoration Kit to keep your headlights in good shape.
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Keep Your Windshield Glass, Rear, And Windows Spotless
Your tint is going to get damaged over time. It is going to suffer some scratches over the years. You can protect your tint with Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner and these windshield specific cleaning tools.
If your tint has major damage on it, perhaps it’s time to install a new tint. Use VVivid to have a vast selection of tint to choose from.
Related Article: Do All Luxury Cars Come With Tinted Windows?
Don’t Forget The Trim
Your trim is what differentiates your luxury car from conventional cars. Therefore, caring for them is also one thing you need to take care of. Most modern luxury cars have rubber or PVC trim lining the entire length of the vehicle. Some still have aluminum trim to give off a more elegant look.
Protect your trim with metal polish or silicone-based spray. This will protect the metal surface from oxidation or keep the rubber or PVC supple and resistant to becoming brittle. You can use the Chemical Guys Bare Bones Trim Protector for that. You can also use this for your undercarriage.
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Preserve Your Car’s Current Condition By Putting It In Storage
After you wash luxury car, make sure you store it properly. Keeping it in a temperature-controlled environment away from harmful UV rays, dust, and other harmful external factors are the keys to preserving its good looks.
At the very least, get a good car cover like the Kayme Multi-Layer Car Cover to further ensure that no dust particles settle on its surface when you enter your garage.
And that’s it. Here’s hoping you’ll use the steps we’ve listed to make sure you properly wash luxury car.
Keeping your car clean is the best way to ensure its longevity and also ensure its value increases over time instead of depreciating.
Lastly, make sure you stick to the prescribed preventive maintenance schedule imposed by your car manufacturer and log it properly. Documenting all of this will make your car’s history transparent to everyone and will definitely raise its value over the years.
Related Article: Why Sedans Depreciate Quickly
Can I Still Fix My Peeling Car Paint?
Yes. Depending on the degree of damage, you can still fix peeling car paint and bring your car back to its former glory. If it’s only minor, you can actually perform the repairs yourself, anything more than a deep gouge and you might have to call in some pros to handle the fixing and repainting of your car’s surface.
How Often Should I Detail My Car?
Once a month. This is of course, dependent on the manner in which you use your car. Since we’re talking about how to wash luxury car properly, we’ll assume you barely use your car making the detailing process less needed than you would a conventional car. If you use your luxury car several times per week, you’ll have to increase the cleaning and detailing schedule to twice or thrice a month.
How Do I Get That New Car Smell Back?
Buy a car freshener with a new car scent or deodorize your vents. Use compressed air to clear your vents from all the dust, dirt, and grime it has built up over the years. Do this regularly and you should be able to get that new car smell back within a few months. The car freshener will speed up that process.