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08 Nov 2016 | Text by Nigel Yong, Photos by Low Fai Ming | Category: Car Maintenance Advice

As easy-as-pie washing your car may sound, there are a few ways to do it properly and not damage your precious car's paintwork. Here are five.


To many car owners such as yours truly, washing a car by hand is a therapeutic procedure as wholesome for one's state-of-mind as to a car's form.

If you're such a person, that's great, because regular washing is customary to maintain your car's spanking new finish. But as easy-as-pie as washing your car may sound, there are a couple no-nos to watch for, so that you don't end up scratching or degrading its paintwork.

Here are some simple ways to do it right.

Clean yo rims

Keeping your rims clean and free of brake dust will help your car look like it just rolled out the showroom

Many car owners tend to neglect cleaning the car's rims. Please wash your rims, too.

There are a ton of rim cleaning agents in the market. However they may contain chemicals that are not safe for your specific rim, tyre or painted surface so I prefer washing my rims simply using regular car wash soap, a rim brush and a wash mitt.

Before brushing and cleaning your rims, rinse away as much brake dust and dirt as possible, but ensure that your car has cooled down a fair bit before doing so. Otherwise, you may risk warping your brake rotors.

Hose-down like a mad man

Thorough rinsing helps ensure the removal of dust and debris

Always rinse your vehicle intensively before you begin soaping in order to remove any dust, dirt and debris. You don't want to risk leaving swirl marks on your car.

If you wash your car in an HDB estate's multi-storey carpark, invest in a garden hose (you can buy these relatively cheaply from hardware stores) and secure it onto the water dispenser outlet. Splashing water onto the car using a bucket just isn't as quick and thorough as using a hose.

Don't be stingy, ensure every bit of the car is properly hosed down, including the rims.

Use proper car wash soap

I've had friends who washed their cars using liquid detergent and even body shower gel. 
These aren't formulated for use on a car's paint and may damage the protective wax. Car wash soaps are easily available from petrol kiosks or stores like Autobacs, which are milder and specifically-designed for use on automotive paint.

Proven, proper car wash soap helps keep your vehicle's paint looking vibrant and new

Two-bucket wash

Using a single bucket means soaking your mash mitt (they're better than sponges) into dirty water and using said dirty, debris-copious soap water to wash your car. An easy and sensible fix to this is to use two buckets instead. One bucket for water only (a rinse bucket) and the other bucket for your soap mixture (a wash bucket).

Just like rinsing, start washing from the top and work your way down. Because a car is always dirtiest at its base, washing the cleaner portions from the top down prevents the dirt and grime below from making its way upward, and scratching your paintwork as a result.

The two-bucket car wash method helps to reduce damage that improper washing can cause

Rinse your drying chamois towel as you wipe

Once you're done soaping and rinsing your car, use a chamois towel to wipe it down.

Throw your chamois over flat surface areas and slowly pull it toward you across the surface of the car

Another mistake many car owners make is just twisting the towel dry and continuing onto another panel. Always have a bucket of clean water for you to rinse the towel before drying again. This ensures your towel is clean before wiping the next panel.

For more user reviews and product information on car grooming products in Singapore, you can visit our car accessories product guide.


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