Car Valeting: 7 Tips

By Owen Jones

Do you drive around in style or in a sty? Do you take pride in your automobile or are you going to wait for it to fall apart and then purchase a new one? Naturally it is your car, you do what you like but a tidy car is safer than a grubby one.

If you have cold drink cans and empty potato chip packets rolling about the floor, they could interfere with your feet. If you do not keep the outer surface clean, rust will set in and your car will become less structurally safe - less able to endure a crash.

So here are seven tips to help you valet your car. They might not all be life-savers, but they should all alleviate some frustration and make your driving experience a little more pleasant.

1] Keep your windows clean and clear. You need as much forward, rear and peripheral vision as you can. Remove anything dangling from the rear view mirror and swap big speakers on the rear shelf for low, flat ones.

Remove all stickers from the windows particularly the dopey one that says: 'Drive Safely - Baby On Board'. No one is going to drive more safely because you have a child with you, that is your job!

2] If your antenna jams, it is better to rub it with graphite powder than to squirt oil into it. The oil will merely leak out and what remains will soon have dust sticking to it, which will cause it to jam more.

3] You get better results while cleaning, waxing or polishing, if you spray the liquid onto your cloth rather than onto the car. Spraying directly onto the car causes concentrations in some patches which normally result in smears and lots of extra rubbing, meanwhile abrasive dust can be getting stuck on this surplus and the motion of your cleaning might cause scratches. You also lose less spray to the wind.

4] Whilst cleaning the glass, wipe up and down on one side of the glass and side-to-side on the other so that you can see where the smears are. It could save you half the effort.

5] Clean bird droppings from your car as soon as you can. This is because they are very acidic and will attack your paintwork each time they become wet. Never park under a tree because of this and because the rain dripping through the tree, especially in warm weather, will bring sap or oil from the tree and it is quite hard to get rid of when it is dry.

6] When cleaning the exterior with a bucket of soapy water, start on the roof, the bonnet and the boot; change the water and do one side of the car, change the water and wash the other. Never throw the left over dirty water in the bucket onto the car or its wheels. This water is filthy, but you frequently see individuals do it.

7] Wash the engine from time to time. You will be happy you did if ever you have to get under the bonnet. The same goes for the spare wheel and keep an old pair of gloves in the wheel well for if you have to change a wheel.

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