The March Make-Over For A Showroom Shine

Does winter dirt and grime make you wince when you drive off in the morning?

Car care experts eyeball their vehicles each spring the way Inspector Clouseau investigated a crime scene.

So says Jim Dvorak of Mothers Car Care Products. After inclement winter has passed through his Southern California town of Huntington Beach, Dvorak makes a point of checking all his rides for  winter damage. This is even more important in areas where there are icy roads and torrential rain.

What’s Dvorak looking for?

“Signs of corrosion. An empty windshield wiper fluid tank. Dirt build-up on the undercarriage. Grime on the wheels.

“Nothing gets your vehicle clean like a bucket of car wash fluid and a wash mitt,” Dvorak said.

Here are some basic steps Dvorak suggests as spring weather makes its way across your town:

  • Hose off the undercarriage of your vehicle and behind the wheel wells where dirt can accumulate.
  • If your vehicle is particularly filthy, take it to a drive-through car wash or do-it-yourself wash bay, and then follow up with a hand wash and wax.
  • Invest in a bucket, wash mitt and microfiber towels. A hand wash with a proper car wash soap gives your vehicle a gentle cleaning, and these remove dirt without scratching the paint.
  • At least once every three months apply a coat of protection to prevent contaminants from bonding to the surface of your vehicle and dulling its finish.
  • Use a “spray wax” or waterless wash/wax if you’re pressed for time. It can remove any remaining residue from a drive-through wash and provides a layer of protection between the vehicle paint and the environment.
  • Does the paint surface feel rough as you run your hand over it? Contaminants adhere to paint and, over time, cause discoloration. Use a clay bar to gently remove particles.