Simple but perplexing!! - Phil C
What is the best way to wash a car?

I've just invested my hard earned in my first self-financed car which, as you'd expect coming from a main dealer, was very shiny indeed!!

Obviously I want to try and keep it looking like this for as long as I can. Can anybody recommend any rules I should follow or tricks of the trade?

Is there any outstanding products on the market I should use? The shelves at Halfords seem to be full of all sorts of potions!!

I'm fortunate enough to have been given a high-pressure jet washer by my old man. Is this a useful tool to be using?

As the car has alloy wheels any ideas on keeping these in tip-top condition? I am not going anywhere near kerbs when parking!! There seems to be an accumulation of stubborn brake dust appearing on them.

I'd also be interested to hear any recommendations on waxing products (preferably easy to use ie. no effort needed!!).

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.


Re: Simple but perplexing!! - Adam Going (Tune-Up Ltd)
Nothing avoids a bit of effort, Phil, but use 'MER' for the bodywork, 'WONDER WHEELS' for the wheels.

Good Luck, Adam
Re: Simple but perplexing!! - Ian Cook
HJ will tell you to use Autoglym, and it works well.

Wash it with plain water - why? Because the soaps they put in the potions take the wax off quicker. Plain water takes longer but is more envoronmentally friendly and gives you a bit of exercise too (most of us can do with it).

You'll probably need to use some special jollop on the wheels - I add a little fairy liquid for these.

Not much help, I'm afraid. But then I've always been an awkward sod!
Re: Simple but perplexing!! - Ian Cook
Oh - and what ever you do: DO NOT USE A PRESSURE WASHER. They strip paint.
Re: Simple but perplexing!! - John Slaughter

My top tip is don't use a sponge - buy a 'Flexy' brush and use that. Sponges trap the dirt and can scratch the car.

It can be fixed to a hose, but I use it by hand from a bucket of water and proper car shampoo. Don't use Fairy liquid etc as they contain salt to thicken them. Then hose it off well and leather it down.

For the alloys you'll need the occasional dose of alloy wheel cleaner to get off the brake dust, but otherwise wash them with the rest of the car.


Re: Simple but perplexing!! -- booklet and video - Roger Jones

Believe it or not, they have both a booklet (free, I think) describing, and a purchasable video demonstrating, the whole process. I have started using their products only recently, but they seem to live up to their reputation. If you care about the details -- e.g. restoring the appearance of rubber door seals -- they have a spot-on product every time.
Re: Just Simple thats me! - Stuart Bruce
Another simple question on car washing, I have always washed my motors from top down, on the basis that the muckiest bit is at the bottom and water/suds running down helps to soften and swill away the grime before the brush gets there. But I saw a tip allegedly (that word again!) from a "professional chauffer" who insisted the best way was bottom up. What do the rest think!

Power washers! OK for the patio & rabbit hutch, car no way!
Wonder wheels, name says it all.
Re: Just Simple thats me! - Michael Thomas
It's got to be Autoglym.

Just use water to rinse the car down with a good brush attached to a hose to get the dirt off. A half-decent brush attachment will have a regulator on it to limit the water it uses.

Any tar spots can be removed with either white spirit but I find a dab of wd-40 on a cloth gets it off.

If you have a really mucky car then use a little car shampoo but it will take the wax off a bit.

When it comes to chammying the car, I used to use a leather but they rot and they can't be washed easily. I use a synthetic one from Halfords now, it cost a tenner but is machine washable and just as good. What's more I've had it three years now and it's still as good as new.

When it comes to polish, AutoGlym Super Resin Finish, it's recommended by Aston Martin so enough said. It comes off really easily. If you have the odd faint scratch use one of the colour magic ones occasionally but match the colour carefully.

Finally, if it's a fine and dry day whack on some AutoGlym special finisher. I can't remember the name but it really gets the car gleaming, it protects the paint and repels water like you wouldn't believe. You have to leave it for half an hour and you have to polish like mad but it's really worth it.

If the paint has oxidised a bit, then use a paint restorer (AutoGlym) again but sparingly and then wax etc.

Leave the pressure washer for getting the crud out of the garden patio don't use it on your car. If the rubbers aren't much cop you'll get water in the car.

For alloys, again AutoGlym do a alloy cleaner but Wonder Wheels I think is better but only just.
Re: Just Simple thats me! - Vin
Seem to recall that the Rolls Royce Chauffeur's course suggests a new sponge each wash and discard a sponge that is dropped, as it will have gathered grit from the floor. Sounds expensive, but consider that the cheapest car wash near my house is £2.99, so not too bad. (Not that I follow that particular advice, of course).

Hose the car down to get rid of the worst of the dirt, then wash top to bottom (for the reasons earlier in the thread) with TEPID water. This helps to stop you washing off the wax you used last time, as hot water will get it off in no time.

The single easiest way to get a car looking cleaner than clean (at least when you're insode it) is to get the windows sparkling. I use Amway See-Spray, available from any local Amway rep (aka sucker). I'm sure there are other glass cleaners as good. Anyway, when the windows are crystal clear the car looks clean.

There's my tuppen'orth
Re: Just Simple thats me! - honest john
Hi guys,

I have to admit that after neglecting my own motor horribly for a long time I finally gave it a six monthly wash and polish. Hose down first to loosen the dirt. Then Halfords car shampoo in a bucket of luke warm water. Sponge down top to bottom. Use a wheel brush on the sills and wheel trims. Hose the shampoo off. Chamois dry. One coat of Autoglym Super Resin Polish, buffed off. One coat of Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection (remember this takes an hour to dry before buffing off). Then another coat of Extra Gloss on the top surfaces which the birds crap on. You can leave it drying for two hours or more while you go somewhere in the car, then buff it off afterwards. Job done.

Re: Just Simple thats me! - Simon Ridgers
I'm a big fan of Autoglym polish and gloss protection. Wonder wheels is great for the alloys.

However, recently I saw an advert for Zymol. I think its from the US and seems very expensive, but the testimonials were excellent. Has anybody tried it?
No Problemo - Harry
I recently bought a Mk2 MR2 that looked absolutely mint (best vallet job I've ever seen - c/o Weybridge Toyota (thanks Lee / Leeroy)) so I was keen to maintain the gleam. The best system has to be Autoglym! It will take a bit of effort to start with, but if you wax your car properly to start with, dirt will just slide off and the paintwork will be protected too. Here's my tip for that new look shine:

1 Wash your car using Autoglym Shampoo Conditioner (never use washing up liquids / detergents - they contain salt and wetting agents) Remove all traces of dirt, bird mess etc etc.

2 Rinse with clean water and chamois dry to avoid mineral deposits. (I fully recommend the Autoglym synthetic chamois - much better than leather)

3 When BONE DRY apply Autoglym Super Resin Wax. This also removes tar deposits. Buff to a shine after 60 mins.

4 Repeat item 3 the following day.

5 Coat with Autoglym Extra Gloss Protection and buff after 60 mins.

6 Wash down as per item 1 every week.

7 Remove birdshit THE MOMENT YOU SEE IT

8 Polish your glass using a special automotive glass care product

9 I also sponge down my car after every outing (they tend to be fast and furious) to remove splatted bugs etc, but then I'm an anally retentive sad person.

The first week I had my car the neighbours thought I'd become obsessed, but now my motor is always ten times shinier than theirs and I hardly have to touch it to maintain the gloss - they can't understand how I do it, he he.

It's also pretty cool because since my car is red, most people assume it's a) brand new and b) a Ferrari

Halfords stock a very good kit for £38 that contains a wide selection of goodies that covers all eventuallities. The Extra Gloss and chamois are speperate but worth it.

ps. No I don't have shares.

pps I've even seen this stuff transform an old Citreon, so it must be good... ;-)
Re: No Problemo - Mike Jacobs
Pressure washers can evidently damage tyres too and the hoses on the lances seem to get in the way!I do admire HJ's dedication to cleaning his Mondeo. His procedure must be darn good as he does it every 6 months! Mind yu we've had all that rain.Autoglym glass cleaning spray is excellent but quite expensive but the mechanical design of their spray bottle is very good. It just gets the spray on so well.
Re: No Problemo - Mike Jacobs
Incidentally,is there a good product for removing dead bugs from the windscreen? It's a b----r of a job getting the little bleeders off.
Re: No Problemo - harry
I haven't tried it yet, but I've seen an advert for silicone wiper blades. The blurb says they deposit silicone on the glass and that bugs / water etc doesnt stick!

Has anyone got a view on this?

Value my car