The key to have that smile when you look at your car. The key to have control on the expenses that take place due to undue negligence. The key to get a better price when selling. The key to an overall better ownership experience. By and large, aesthetic car care is neglected. An overall wash or wipe a day feels perfect to most people. Sadly, beauty is more than skin deep. Reading what I present here may raise a few queries and doubts. But if you use your understanding and discretion, the results will definitely be outstanding. We show you the ideal way to nurture the aesthetic beauty of your car!

Regular Washing & Cleaning:
Don’t pour buckets of water on your car. It’s of no use, and a serious offence when it comes to water conservation. Honestly speaking, you don’t need more than three buckets of water to clean your car on a normal day. Use a separate cloth for the body and for the wheels. The yellow/brown shade cloth that we get at traffic signals is useless. Instead, buy the other cloth (mostly blue) that has a typical Indian towel feel. Dip that new cloth in boiling water with detergent to get rid of unwanted starch and lint. This will also help it to become softer. Your new cloth is now ready to be used.

Soak the cloth in water (don’t squeeze) and wipe your car’s body with a light hand. Once you’re through with washing the entire car, clean the cloth in fresh water and start wiping the body dry. A good soft cloth should remove all watermarks from the body. Take one portion of the body at a time.With a separate cloth; wash inside the mudguard thoroughly (atleast twice a week), the running board (also known as the door panel) and under the bumpers (not visible to most people).

Use a vacuum cleaner to clean the floor carpet at least once a week. Wash floor mats regularly, if need be.After a long trip or the monsoons, take the car to a service station and wash the under body. Rubber coating helps (at the cost of spending INR 4,000 to INR 5,000). Additional value of the rubber treatment is its noise-deadening quality.

Few points to remember:

Don’t keep washing your car under the sun.
Pour water on your windshield to loosen dust and hard particles.
Try to avoid hard water (from the bore well) as much as possible. It’s the fastest way to make your paint fade and to invite corrosion.
Use newspaper (black & white) to clean the glass.
Remove road tar spots with diesel-soaked cloth.
Alloys (coated with brake pad dust) should be washed with detergent. Use a soft toothbrush to clean those hard-to-reach areas.
The grainy texture of door/body/bumper plastic attracts a lot of dust and grime. Use a dashboard/ plastic cleaner, as it creates a coat of oily film that prevents dust and water from settling down. There are a number of options available in the market.

Alloy Wheels:
Good alloy wheels make the aesthetic look of the car, and you probably paid through your nose for them. Add to that, those broad tyres to give the look and performance. By and large, all wheel cleaners remove brake pad residue and road grime. The operation is pretty simple. Apply the wheel cleaner onto your rims. Allow them to work for five minutes. Wash with water. Wipe clean dry. At times you may find stubborn marks on your wheel. To remove those, use a soft toothbrush. After applying the wheel cleaner, wait for few minutes for the liquid to work through. Carefully scrub the stubborn marks out with a toothbrush. Chrome alloys need extra special care. Follow the same process as mentioned above. Later, use a soft cloth or white cotton waste to wipe dry and restore that bling look.

Leather Upholstery:
Try to use the air-conditioner as much as possible. Body acid and sweat are the main culprits here. Use a moist cloth with a light detergent to remove strong stains. After that, use good quality leather cleaner to treat the leather. For the steering wheel’s leather wrapping, use the same leather cleaner but wipe it after application. Excessive cleaner usage gives out a shine and tends to become slippery. This may work out a little expensive but remember that you’ve paid through your nose for the leather.

Fabric Upholstery:
It’s fun to eat munchies with your girl, but try to avoid doing that inside the car. A vacuum cleaner and fabric protection covering is the answer here. Please take proper care. Fabric wears out faster than leather.

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If your car has not gone through a proper rubbing and polish for a long time, I suggest a visit to a professional car care centre. This will get you back the “wet look”; after which it is only a matter of maintenance. The car polish process does not mean that you need to use a rubbing compound prior to applying polish. New generation car polish come with road/ weather grime removing properties. Besides, current generation automotive paints (known as generic 2K paint) are way stronger and longer lasting than the usual NC base paints. Car polish (read waxing) means applying a coat of wax over the paint. This coating works as a protection so that water/dust does not sit on that slippery surface. Today, we have a vast range of car care products available in the market. Unfortunately they are not consistent when it comes to demand/ supply ratios. Wash your car and wipe dry before applying polish. Always wax your car under the shade. For a normal polish, use one that has swirl remover/cleaner. Do not apply polish to the whole car. Go part by part. Use applicator (comes with all tinned polish) to apply polish evenly. For polishing, use cotton waste (white). Do not use the same waste for your next polish. Do not go overboard and put wax on plastic trims. You’ll spend double the amount of time to remove it. Be careful not to choke your windshield washers with wax. Dried up wax looks ugly and sticks out like a sore thumb from those curves and trim joints. Remove dried up wax with wooden toothpicks.
Rubber Parts:
Wiper blades should be cleaned with a light shampoo. Not regularly, but once in 15 days. This process will keep the blades soft and also prevent scratch marks on the windshield.
Tyres should be scrubbed with detergent (at least once a week). Apply tyre shine after that if you wish. To remove shine and have that matte-black finish, wait for half an hour and wipe it with a dry cloth or cotton waste. If you like your tyres to shine, leave it as is after applying.

Under The Bonnet:
Service stations usually use soap/diesel to scrub out the grime from the engine bay, but they seldom use their air hose properly to dry the area completely. Insist on that (if need be, pay extra to that washing guy). Diesel soaked rubber/plastic parts have the potential to retire from their respective duties at odd hours.

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