How to Wash a Car

man washes wheel of vehicle 

Washing your car regularly doesn't just keep it looking sharp. When done correctly, car washes will protect the exterior paint and control imperfections you can't see, like tiny scratches. Chicago Northside Toyota wants to help Chicago drivers keep their new Toyota vehicles looking their absolute best. That's why we have put together the following car washing guide.

Plan Ahead

Does your car need a quick wash or the full package? In most cases, new or recently waxed and polished cars just need a wash and a wax. However, if your vehicle has been exposed to harsh elements for a few months without any attention, it will most likely need more.

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Rinse & Wash

Before you begin washing, rinse your car and remove any loose dirt and debris. Use car washing mitts and drying cloths to thoroughly clean the car's surface. Once you've finished washing the car's body, clean the windows using an ammonia-free solution that's intended for cars only. Then, switch to a low-strength, acid-free pH balanced aluminum wheel cleaner to clean the wheels and tires.

Remove Bumps & Apply Compound

Using a clay bar, gently buff away tree sap and other contaminants attached to your car's surface. You can also apply compound with a dual-action polisher to smooth tiny scratches that are beneath the surface. The compound typically needs two to four coats.

man washes car

Apply Polish (If Needed)

Dual-action polishers work the best. The oils in the polish give your vehicle a sleek, glossy look. You can use an orbital buffer or a soft towel to apply it. Orbital buffers are faster but you don't get as much control over the finished look. Also, if debris comes between the pad and your car while it's in motion, you can end up scratching your vehicle.

Wax Your Car

Car wax does more than improve the vehicle's appearance, it also protects the paint from UV rays and helps it retain its sheen. Two of the most common types of car wax are carnauba and polymer. Polymer wax will cost a little more than carnauba, however, it doesn't haze and doesn't need to set for long periods.

How Often to Wash a Car

This will depend on how often you drive. If you just run errands or you're traveling to and from work, aim to wash your vehicle every two weeks and wax is every six months. If you're taking your Toyota 4Runner off the beaten path for off-roading adventures, clean it as soon as possible.

How to Wash a Car: Tips

  • Cleaning Supplies: Instead of hand soap, dish soap, or household glass cleaner, use solutions designed to protect your car's paint. Use a natural sponge or wool mitt to wash.
  • Washing: Lather up your car with soap and clean the sponge with fresh water as you wash the car body, windows, tires, and wheels.
    Drying: Don't air-dry your car, because this can cause swirl marks. Use a chamois or terry towel to hand-dry the surface.

Get More Car Care Tips from Chicago Northside Toyota!

Do you have more questions about how to wash a car properly? Chicago Northside Toyota is here to help! In addition to great car-washing tips, our service department can provide certified automotive care for your Toyota. Be sure to browse our service coupons and save on your next visit.


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