I was recently contacted by Avril who had a question that many others have asked in the past and which I thought the answer might be of interest to you. Avril’s question was:
“I have ordered my new car an Audi TT and I am planning to detail it when I get it to give the car the best possible shine and finish. My question is when I have finished how do i maintain the car, i.e. I would not expect to do this level of cleaning on a weekly basis. On a weekly basis do I just wash the car, do I wash and polish?”
In answer to Avril’s question I would first say that I would hope that having spent what is likely to be a reasonable amount of money on a new car, and I am assuming here that it is a “brand new car”, that I would not have to detail if straight from the showroom. However having visited a fair number of showrooms in the past I am sometimes horrified by the condition of the paintwork on some cars.
Now many dealers will try and flog you a “paint protection” package ranging from just a few hundred to several hundred pounds. Unfortunately many of these are not worth the amount of money charged by the dealerships, some of whom make nearly as much on the protection package as they do profit on the car!
If your new car has been “protected” you firstly need to be extremely careful and read the small print as to what after-care process and products you use, as you can find by using non-approved products you will invalidate any warranty provided with the package.
The first step…
Assuming you have not purchased one of these packages and are looking to detail you new car as soon as you get it on your driveway I would first wash your car with a good quality car shampoo and then dry it with a new microfibre drying towel. This first step will enable you to inspect your paintwork and make the decision on what to do next.
Although many new cars may still look very shiny after this first step, it is quite possible that some will have spent a considerable amount of time outside in between leaving the production line and arriving at the dealers. Much of this time may also have been in and around industrial areas where it would have been exposed to industrial fall-out that can attach itself to the paintwork, but be invisible to the eye.
If this is the case you will notice that lightly rubbing your fingers over the paintwork it will feel rougher than expected. Some detailers even recommend doing this with a thin plastic bag over your hand as it seems to highlight the roughness even more.
How to tackle rough paintwork
If you do feel some roughness in your paintwork I would recommend considering claying your car. I have previously written a full article here all about claying you car.
If however your paintwork feels smooth and looks in good shape the next step is fairly simple. You just need to look at applying a car wax or sealant. Your choice of wax or sealant may depend on the time of year you want to apply and whether you are looking to apply one, sealants tending to be-longer lasting in winter and pure carnauba waxes preferred in the summer months if you do not have much time or inclination to apply more regularly.
If you want to be absolutely sure your paintwork is fully prepared for your wax or sealant you could also consider using a product such as to remove any iron residues that may be bonded to your paint, followed by another wash/dry and then a pre-wax cleaner just to get it absolutely squeaky-clean. It would also be wise to use an Iron-X type product before claying as this will remove the chances of iron residues contaminating your clay bar as you are rubbing it across your cars paint.
Now what if having washed your car you discover that the paintwork is not as in good shape as you had hoped, with light swirls and scratches. If this is the case you will want to consider applying a p0lish or light swirl removal compound to remove these issues, before applying your wax or sealant.
On-going car cleaning regime
Now depending on the season and how you store your car will depend on your on-going regime. However what you do not need to do is both polish and wax your car each time you wash it. Indeed if you did polish each time you washed, and did this on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, it could actually damage your paintwork over-time, depending if your polish contains a degree of abrasive.
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If you are in the summer months in a not too dusty environment you should be able to simply keep on top of your shine with the use of a spray detailer and good quality microfibre towel.
If however your car does get a little dirtier then as in the very first step simply wash with a good quality car was shampoo and dry with your microfibre drying towel.
Over to you…
I hope the above has helped you decide what steps to take on delivery of your new car. Now over to you – have you got any tips for detailing a new car – please let us know using the comments section below.
If you have any detailing or car care questions you would like to see answered we would love to hear from you. Please send you question using this link and I will do my best either to answer your question with a direct reply or a future post.