Car Care Basic – Wax on, Wax Off

21 November 2011

Are you an unmotivated slacker who leaves your auto detailing duties to the pros? Or, a time-rich overly obsessive perfectionist who spends your Saturdays at the park with a toothbrush and a gallon of Armor All scrubbing your ride’s nooks and crannies? Either way, one thing’s certain, car care is crucial to keeping your ride looking right.

Here it is straight; neglecting your vehicle’s paint always results in serious consequences. And, we’re not just talking about the embarrassment of rolling around town in a faded and crusty ride. There’s also the extensive damage to resale value (and your reputation) that you have to deal with later. Not only is failure to wash and wax your ride the worst form of car neglect, it’s the best way to announce to fellow motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists that you’re a lazy slob.

The two most important steps to car care are washing and waxing. As a rule of thumb, you should wash your car every week and wax it every six months. And, make sure you always use quality car polishing pads, soaps, chamois and waxes; they make a difference.

Start with the basics. These simple steps form the foundation for further care and should be performed regularly to avoid any extra work in the future. Hose off the dirt. A strong stream of water removes loose dirt and crud so you don’t clog your wash mitt with mud and end up inadvertently leaving swirly scratches in your paint. Next, hit the wheels. It’s important to use a separate brush for this step since nothing gets dirtier than the wheels.

Now, wash the roof. As the dirt washes away, it flows down toward the unwashed portion of the car. Work in small areas, never letting the soap and water dry on the car. Once a portion is soaped and scrubbed, rinse it off and move on to the next. Once you’ve scrubbed the entire vehicle, hose the whole thing down for one final cleansing rinse, grab a chamois and get to drying.

Now it’s time to wax. Grab yourself some of those high-quality car polishing pads we talked about, park your ride in the shade and apply some wax. Just like when washing, work in small section and never let the wax dry on your paint. Once the wax has been applied, it’s time to buff it out. This is when the magic happens. Once finished, touch the paint and experience how smooth it feels. Now, put on your shades and hit the road with your newfound pride of ownership.

About the author

Though his ambition is handicapped by laziness, Michael Kirby manages to research and write about car polishing pads, along with all-things-automotive at

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