If you use your car often, you will quickly notice dirt on paint, rims or windows. To prevent damage to your vehicle exterior and also for optical improvement, wash and polish your car regularly. But at what intervals does a thorough car wash really make sense? After all, washing your car costs not only time but also money.
Car wash in spring
The right way to start spring is to remove the traces of winter. When the last snow has melted, the first thing to do is to have a thorough car wash. Remove traces of salt and grit completely. it’s best to repair minor damage to the paintwork with a touch-up pen. In addition, air your car thoroughly so that the fresh spring air dries the moisture of winter. As the days get warmer, the first pollen will fly. These stick to the paintwork. If the layer of pollen becomes too thick and the sun shines on it, damage to the paintwork can quickly occur.
Therefore, it is better to rinse with water from time to time to prevent surrounding particles sticking to the paint. Clean your car once a month to remove stubborn dirt. If you rarely use your car and park it in the garage, go to the car wash at your own discretion.
Car wash in summer
In summer, the remains of insects adorn the front of your car. In addition, the excrement of birds, the dropping of leaves and fruit from trees, such as lime trees, also occur frequently. At a minimum, when your license plate is no longer legible because of too many insects, plan a car wash.
Most problematic thing in summer: the intense heat from the sun burns the dirt into the paintwork, making it difficult to remove. Secretions and chitin from the insects can also cause unsightly marks in the paintwork if you do not remove them regularly.
A simple car wash can remove most of the dirt in summer. For more stubborn marks, there are special insect removers that will bring the shine back to the surface. Alternatively, you can place wet kitchen towels on the affected areas. After a good 15 minutes, the dirt is soaked and can be easily removed.
Also, in the summer, frequently driven cars should be washed more often. The earlier the dirt is removed, the easier it is to wash. If you run into a heavy rain shower, you can easily postpone the car wash for a few days. For those who drive little, one car wash per month is probably enough.
Car wash in autumn
Maybe there are some isolated insects on the road, which leave their traces on your car. But at this time of the year, the leaves are a real pain to your car. If they get wet, the leaves release tannic acid, which can damage the paintwork of your car. This is problematic if the paintwork already has small cracks or other damage. In addition, the foliage can obstruct water drains on your car, or even block them. Even small leaves should therefore be removed regularly. Leaves can also cause damage to the windscreen wipers. Check carefully whether the wiper blades still work cleanly or leave streaks.
Since autumn is rather rainy and wet anyway, you don’t have to wash your car as often. Depending on the weather, one car wash per month is sufficient even for frequent drivers. If you often park under trees, regularly remove leaves and other debris. This can be done particularly well with a steam jet. We should seal small cracks in the paintwork with hard wax to prevent rust.
Car wash in winter
Especially in winter, regular washing is mandatory. Salt on the roads gets into the paint and must be removed continuously. Even if the car is dirty again after a few miles in slush, regular washing ensures that the salt does not eat into the paintwork.
The degree of soiling decides whether cleaning is necessary. Frequent drivers can clean their car up to twice a week. If you don’t drive as often, one wash a month is sufficient. When winter ends, the car should be washed particularly thoroughly, so it is fit for spring.
When should I polish and wax?
Before winter approaches, we must take protective measures to prepare the paintwork for moisture and road salt. Apply car wax twice or thrice a year, especially before the onset of summer and winter. For older car models, also polish as required. This will give the paintwork optimum protection against the weather.
Before polishing, wash and dry the car exterior. After polishing, apply a layer of wax. The wax seals the paint and minimizes the risk of weathering etc. Polish your car a maximum of twice a year and never in the blazing sun. Avoid excessive polishing – otherwise you risk damaging the paintwork, as a thin layer of paint is removed during each polishing process.
Tips for do-it-yourself carwash
If you don’t want to go to the car wash, you can also wash your car by hand.
First, remove coarse dirt and grime by hand (e.g. leaves lying on the engine compartment in front of the windscreen).
Bird droppings, insects, tree resin, etc. should be removed as soon as possible, as they can corrode the paintwork in the long term. A pre-cleaner or snowfoam can be helpful here.
Then start with the actual exterior cleaning. The easiest way to remove salt, sand and coarse dirt is to use a high-pressure cleaner. This pre-treatment is important so that we do not scratch the paint with small grains of sand during the subsequent cleaning.
It is important to keep a distance of at least 30 centimeters from all vehicle parts to avoid damaging them.
Now wash the car with sponge, car shampoo and lukewarm water. Then rub the paint dry with a chamois leather or microfiber cloth. It’s best if you wash from top to bottom as most of the dirt is concentrated on the lower parts of the vehicle.
Washing wheels and rims
We can pre-treat wheels and rims easily with a high-pressure washer (not over 60 degrees centigrade warm), then clean with a sponge and shampoo.
For stubborn dirt, you can also use rim cleaner: Pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions. Rinse off the cleaner afterwards and rework with a sponge. We can clean rims on the inside only if we remove the wheels.
Cleaning plastic strips and door rubbers
After cleaning, treat plastic moldings with a plastic care product as it refreshes the colors.
Door rubbers are best treated with special rubber care pens and agents: This is especially important if you want to make your car winter proof, because this will protect the door rubbers from drying out.
Use window cleaning agents along with a microfiber cloth to clean the outer and inner panes. If tar or fly droppings stick to the windowpane, you can use special removers.
Removing toll stickers: Soften the sticker with the heat of a hair dryer. Afterwards it can be peeled off. Wipe off adhesive residue with a silicone remover.
Clean the interiors
Start by thoroughly vacuuming the interior. The vacuum cleaner nozzle can leave scratches and marks on softer materials, so do not apply too much force.
For the fittings, you can use a special brand cleaner, a bucket of water and a microfiber cloth. Seat upholstery and side panels made of fabric can also be cleaned with it.
If the dirt is deep-seated, a wet vacuum cleaner helps by spraying the areas and immediately pulling out the moisture together with the dirt.