When was the last time you washed your sports car? Last Saturday, Sunday, a free day on your own? Like most performance car owners, they adore their rides and spend as much time as they can making them gleam.
They’re worth all the love and affection – after all, they make you look good too. However, cleaning a sports vehicle means more than a bucket of soapy water and a sponge. In fact, there are more products and tools available than a lady’s cosmetics drawer for the ultimate in car cleanliness. Follow these simple steps to ensure a correct wash, without scratching or damaging the finish. Once your vehicle is clean, prepare yourself for the wide world of car detailing.
It’s a good idea to start with the wheels, as these are always the dirtiest parts, especially the fronts, which usually build up the most brake dust. Ensure they are clean using a wheel spray formula and wheel brush to get into all the nooks and crannies. This means when you come to the main body, you don’t risk any dirty overspray from the wheels. Once clean you also have the option to apply a wheel protector – when applying, ensure you don’t overspray onto the body or tyres.
Starting from the top of your vehicle, work your way down, removing any dirt and grime by spraying your car with water, using a soft cloth to remove any remaining muck. Using an auto shampoo and a bucket of warm water, hand clean your vehicle using circular motions until you are happy the vehicle is clean. Add a grit guard to the bucket – this simple device sits in the bucket and prevents the cloth from touching any excess dirt or grit that forms in the bottom. There are special hose attachments that allow you to fill a plastic bottle with shampoo, and once water passes through and exits the nozzle, a foamy concoction covers your vehicle in a blanket of white foam. Other similar attachments are available with a soft brush feature, allowing you clean as you go. Never use a sponge or a harsh brush as these can leave swirls of microscopic scratches. Finally, hose off your vehicle, ensuring no cleaning agents or dirt remain.
Compliment a gleaming body and wheels with mirror-like windows. The windows will have been cleaned during the body process, however, using a separate cloth and specialized window spray, you can achieve a higher standard of cleanliness, ensuring no streaks. Once they are spotless, and using another separate cloth, there’s the option of using an anti-mist/fog solution. This prevents any misting and helps rain droplets to bead and run off the glass without leaving marks.
Happy your vehicle is 100% clean, you’ll need to try it off as quickly as possible to avoid watermarks. Always avoid washing your vehicle in direct sunlight, as this will dry off faster than you, leaving stubborn, unsightly marks. The best products for drying are either a real chamois leather or a micro fiber towel – these micro fibre towels can swell to nine times their size once fully saturated.
You can’t own a sports vehicle and not detail or wax it. This is an arduous task compared to a simple clean, but it’s worth it – this is the final step that will more than satisfy when you see yourself and your ride reflected in a shop window. Detailing is an important process, a preparation for the wax. Once the vehicle is clean and dry, you need to apply a spray lube onto a small area of the body, and with a special bar of detailing clay, rub over the lubed surface with circular movements – this removes any sticky substances such as tar, oil and tree sap. A good tip is to work on a body panel at a time. Happy the whole vehicle is ready for wax, using either a cloth or rotary machine, apply the wax, aiming for an even coating. There are various types of waxes, ranging from the expensive carnauba waxes, to synthetic sealants and highly advanced polymers. The carnauba wax is extremely popular due to its effective natural ingredient taken from the carnauba tree. Buying a rotary machine is well worth the money, as you can attach different grades of abrasive pads to remove the dried wax, starting from a harsher pad and finishing with a polishing pad. This saves time and leaves you with a professional finish.
Just remember, the longer you leave washing your vehicle, the build up of dirt and grime will be greater, meaning you are more susceptible to leaving marks or scratches trying to remove them.