Have you ever noticed how a clean car seems to drive that much better than a dirty one?
You know that nothing has changed mechanically, but there is just something special to the feel of driving in clean car, especially one that has just received a fresh coat of polish!
Keeping your Toyota clean helps it to maintain its coat of paint and its value in the long run. It also helps you to spot small scratches and dents that you can repair or restore before they lead to greater damage, such as surface rust.
So, are there any good tips when washing your car? You bet there are!
Stay away from the strong stuff!
The first important tip is to stay away from household detergents and liquid dish washing soaps. This means you should not wash your Toyota with any of the soaps and detergents that you would use to wash dishes, clean the floors and windows or wash the bath and basins.
You may protest that nothing gives your car a beautiful shine quite like your dishwashing liquid, and while that may be true, this type of soap also strips the paint of its topmost protective layer. Use this type of soap often and you may find your paint will become dull and grey over time.
The same applies to any household washing tools. That little scrubbing brush, corrosive sponge or, heaven forbid, the wire scrubbing tools, may work wonders on the dirt and grime on your dishes and floors, but they will damage your paintwork and the protective coating on your wheel rims in no time.
Be careful with the power hose
Power washing your Toyota, or any other dirty surface, can be quite rewarding. The immense pressure from the high-powered washer removes the dirt and grime much faster than hand washing can.
But there is a risk that the high-pressure jet of water can damage your Toyota when it is held too close to the surface and some industry bodies also warn that a narrow jet of high-pressure water can damage or progressively weaken your tyres’ sidewall.
You could also damage your reverse monitor on your Toyota if you spray high pressure water too close to the device, and in some cars, water may even penetrate the light housings and damage the globes and electronics inside.
With this in mind, it is a good idea to stand at least 50 cm away from your car when washing it with a high-powered hose. Also choose a nozzle or a nozzle setting that has a wide spray angle to decrease the pressure on the vehicle’s paint surface.
Keep an eye out for anything that can scratch your Toyota
Have you ever noticed the very fine scratches and circular polish marks on some cars when they are parked in bright sunlight? This is often caused by dirty cleaning cloths or even jewellery and other metal objects (such as rings and watches) on the person washing the car.
Be sure to remove any item of clothing or jewellery that could possibly scratch your Toyota’s paint surface when washing and rinse your wash cloth regularly.
If you decide to polish your Toyota, also check the polishing cloth or buffing wheel for any signs of dirt or hardened old polish that could scratch it when you buff the surface in a circular motion.
Stay out of the sun
Yes, this is good advice for any person, but it is also good practice when you wash your Toyota.
Washing a car in direct sunlight can cause the surface to heat up and the soap and water to dry too quickly. This will leave streaks on the car’s paint surface and will make it very difficult to clean the windows without leaving water marks.
You should also make sure to thoroughly dry your car after having washed it using a leather or synthetic chamois to prevent any water streaks from ruining the newly washed car’s surface.
Take special care on the inside
One of the regular mistakes that people make, is to wipe the inside of their Toyota with the same cloth that was used outside. Not only is that unhygienic, but it could transfer dirt from the exterior to the inside of the vehicle and even scratch the dashboard or some of the high-gloss surfaces inside your car or bakkie.
When washing inside the vehicle, be very careful when using off-the-shelf cleaning liquids and scented sprays that have not been approved by your manufacturer. Some of these liquids contain ingredients that can penetrate plastic materials, creating an initial shine but possibly damaging the plastic or even the electronics behind the plastic, such as switches and buttons.
Lastly, remember not to use large amounts of water when washing inside your Toyota. It may penetrate the switchgear and cause a malfunction. A simple moist cloth or dry microfibre cloth will do the trick!