When it comes to caring for the exterior finish on European cars like BMW, Audi, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz the devil is in the details. During the winter months most car exteriors stay dirty, at least they do in the Indianapolis area. That doesn't mean it's right. Road salt wreaks havoc on a car's finish so a once-a-week car wash should be mandatory.
Cheer up. Snow and ice covered streets won't be around forever. Summer will be here before you know it, and you can put the top down on that shiny red BMW convertible or that cute little Audi TT.
Let's talk about the basic tools of the trade for making sure the exterior on your car looks great.
Sometimes it's the most obvious things we forget about. Have a couple of buckets handy, or maybe three. One for soap, one with clean water, and one to serve as a toolbox.
Most important thing to consider when choosing what to use on your car is what it will do to the paint job. Do not use a cleaner with any abrasive quality. Check your vehicle manual or the manufacturer's website before making a purchase.
Again, the critical thing to avoid is any sort of abrasion. Start with a clean sponge. Make sure to keep it free of grit or gravel. Most any sponge will do but you might want to check out a car wash mitt. These are a great alternative to a sponge or rag.
You'll want a lot of towels. Drying the car immediately will help avoid water spots. Many kinds of "shammys" are available. They are highly absorbent and non-abrasive. Use separate towels for wiping the tire rims.
Waxing is a labor of love. A little elbow grease will make a big difference. This will protect the paint job, keep dirt and grime from clinging to the finish, and give you a shine to be proud of.
These basic items will get you through the car washing smoothly. Additionally, metal polish, tire cleaner, and bug remover might also come in handy. One bit of advice, don't rub your car the wrong way. Whenever you are cleaning, drying, or wiping use a circular motion. This will work best and help you avoid scratching the finish.
If you discover scratches in the finish don't freak out. There are electric buffers you can purchase to take care of the problem yourself. However, it might be best to go to a local repair shop that is familiar with the finishes on European cars. They will have the tools and know-how to get rid of the scratches quickly without causing any more damage.
Get these tools and get ready to make your car beautiful.
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