Torque Tips | Vehicle cleaning and washing myths

Vehicle cleaning and washing myths

Know the truth to keeping it clean

Whether you've been driving for decades or only a few years, you will know the tiresome task of washing your vehicle every so often. In fact, you may be one of those rare individuals who actually like it. You may have come across some vehicle cleaning myths, weird advice, or interesting tips from or the internet. We are here to debunk some common vehicle cleaning myths to make it easy for you.

You can use dishwashing liquid to wash your vehicle with:
Dishwashing liquid is specially designed to remove stubborn grease, dirt, and grime from dishes. These 'grease stripping' qualities in the detergent are so strong that it will strip the polymers of the vehicle's exterior paint. It also accelerates the oxidation process of the exterior of your vehicle. So, while it seems like an easy fix, it’s best to avoid this. Buy car shampoo that is specifically designed for use on car paint.

A car wash and washing your car are the same:
A car wash can only be described as any busy woman's dream - simply pay a hundred bucks or so and have your vehicle washed in no time by drive your vehicle through the 'car wash tunnel'. The simple truth is that the exterior of your vehicle is being washed by rotating brushes, but it’s not necessarily being properly cleaned. What we're saying is that when you wash your vehicle manually using some elbow grease, the exterior and especially your rims receive much more attention, with small, out of reach places getting soap and water, too. A hand-washed car is always preferable!

Old T-shirts and flannel are ideal for cleaning cloths:
To put it simple – no, just don’t. These materials don't absorb fine particles and can cause micro-scratches when the material swirls dirt around on the exterior of your vehicle. The only way to go is by using a microfiber towel or cloth. It picks up the dirt so it won't scrape the dirt onto the exterior of your vehicle as you wipe. Think of this picture: there’s fine sand or dust on your car and your rubbing it around instead of lifting it off the paint…

Only wash your vehicle if it's visibly dirty:
We're not saying you need to wash your vehicle twice a week, but if you sweep your forefinger on the exterior of your vehicle and it comes away with any residue, it’s time. When bird droppings, tree sap, or any grime stay on your vehicle's exterior for extended periods of time, it will eventually strip your wax or exterior paint and can even stain. We believe that you should take your vehicle to a professional car wash at least once a quarter, and manually wash it at least once every two/three weeks.

You can wash your vehicle at any time of the day:
This can make life a little inconvenient if you prefer washing your vehicle on a hot Saturday afternoon. The truth is that if you wash your vehicle while it is particularly hot, or in direct sunlight, it will dry the soap and water too quickly before rinsing, not only making the actual washing unpleasant, but resulting in spots left behind. We advise that you wash your vehicle in the shade or when it is coolest, usually between four and seven pm in summer and then between two and six in winter, depending on where you are located in South-Africa. Remember that you need to rinse off your vehicle thoroughly with a hose before washing it. This will rinse off most loose dirt, grime, bird droppings, and debris.

Your engine doesn't need to be washed:
This is the furthest from the truth. You need to detect leaks and small problems beneath your bonnet, and you can't do this if its covered dust, dirt, grime, oil marks, etc. Rinse your vehicle's engine with the hose from time to time, and invest in a professional engine clean at least once a year. We know there are numerous tips and information pieces about car washing out there, but we trust this simplified version of unnecessarily complicated information will make your life easier and help you keep your car in tip-top shape.

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