The Complete Guide to Keeping Your Car Clean

Jack Dreyer | Tuesday 22nd March 2022 12:00pm

Soapy car

Apart from taking pride in your vehicle, there are a range of reasons why it’s important to keep your car clean.

Namely, it improves your safety and the long-term value of your vehicle.

‘Spring cleans’ should not be confined to spring time alone — yet, for many, car cleaning is on the bottom of the priority list. In fact, one study found that only 3% of those surveyed clean their vehicle weekly, while 22% clean it every 6 months. A further 6% claim to have never cleaned their car.

Before we dive into how to keep your car clean, let’s take a look at why you should!

Why is it important to clean your car regularly?

On the exterior of your car, keeping a regular cleaning schedule is crucial not only for short-term aesthetic appeal but also to future-proof your vehicle’s paint job. Dirt, minerals, and other impurities can make marks on the paint and wear it away over time.

And when it comes to your windscreen, it goes without saying that it needs to be kept clear of mud and debris!

You should also keep vital car components and mechanisms appropriately clean to ensure your own safety and improved performance.

On the inside of your car, it’s important to ensure that the footwells remain clear of rocks and mud that could potentially get lodged and impact pedal functions. Aside from that, cleaning the inside of your car is good for long-term resale value and hygiene in the short term.

The interior of a car is a breeding ground for germs and, as we have learned through Covid-19, keeping surfaces clean can be crucial.

Cleaning the exterior of your car

While washing a car might seem simple, there are a few steps that you might overlook. For a quick and efficient wash, follow these steps:

1. Rinse the car down

Using a hose or pressure washer, shower the vehicle from the top down. This will get most of the grit and muck off.

2. Soap downwards

Use a specialised car soap or wash and start at the top with a non-abrasive sponge. Working in gentle circles, make your way down the vehicle body. If you start at the top and work down, dirt from the top won’t run down onto parts you’ve cleaned already.

3. Keep rinsing as you work

Rinsing areas once you’ve cleaned them ensures that you don’t keep pushing the same dirt around the car and helps prevent soap marks.

4. Dry down

Use a dry microfibre cloth or towel to dry all areas of the body of the car. This way, you’ll avoid streaks and water marks.

5. Use wax or polish

Finish off the job with a protective wax or polish to leave your car looking sparkling clean - and staying that way for longer.

Cleaning your tyres and under the bonnet

Give your tyres some TLC

Too often, tyres are overlooked in the cleaning process. But as crucial driving components, they deserve a good clean every now and then at the very least!

Once you’ve cleaned the bodywork of your vehicle, hose down your tyres to remove any sediment and mud that has accumulated there. Then, use a hard-bristled brush to clean between the grooves and spokes. Dry down with a microfibre cloth and wax when dry.

Read our in-depth guide to cleaning your car tyres here.

While you’re there… clean your brake discs!

Clearly, it’s of the utmost importance that your brake discs remain functional — and cleaning is a part of maintenance that can’t be skipped.

They’re a little harder to reach, so you’ll need to jack up your vehicle and remove the tyre you’re working on. Once you reach them, use a rag and brake cleaning fluid to wipe the surface gently.

If you notice any problems while there, such as serious rusting, pitting, or scoring, get in touch with your local Kwik Fit centre for assistance.

For a closer look at how to clean your brake discs, read our blog.

Wiping down your engine bay

With some simple prep and by following the same basic principles as we’ve covered before, you can clean your engine bay in mere minutes.

Ensure your car is parked and has had time to cool off, and then remove the negative battery cable to prevent any damage to the battery’s inner components in the cleaning process.

Next, cover the battery, distributor, and alternator with a waterproof sheet.

Begin by removing any debris from the engine bay, then use a degreaser and soft-bristle brush to softly wipe down the surfaces. Use a gentle hose setting to rinse and wipe dry with a microfibre cloth.

Check out our guide to cleaning your engine bay here.

Cleaning the interior of your car

Most drivers - even the ones who avoid it - will know the basics of cleaning the inside of your car. But it’s important to know what to start with.

Before wiping surfaces down, remove any mats that you can and shake them out to remove any loose dirt. Next, hoover the mats and the floor surfaces inside the car before clipping them back into place.

Taking care to avoid getting electronics wet, wipe down the surfaces to remove dust and grime.

It’s also important to clean the inside of your windscreen, and it’s best to do so with a glass cleaner rather than a standard soap that can leave streaks. Don’t forget to wipe down the rearview mirror, too.

Establish a regular maintenance routine

A regular maintenance routine will not only boost your vehicle’s resale value but help keep you safe while driving.

As well as cleaning your car, there are lots of maintenance checks you should do to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly.

If your vehicle is due a spot of maintenance beyond what you can do at home, book in for a service with Kwik Fit. Get in touch with your local centre if you have any questions or notice an issue with your car while cleaning it.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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