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SIX common mistakes made when washing your taxi or car that could cause damage

Car experts Leasing Options have revealed six common mistakes when washing your car that could be causing damage to paintwork.

The beginning of a new season prompts many motorists to rid their car of cobwebs from the winter with some spring cleaning.

With some professional car washing and detailing costs ranging from £4.50 to £200 (according to NimbleFins), many Brits will be washing their cars at home.

Mike Thompson, Chief Operating Officer at Leasing Options, explained: “There’s no better time to rid your car of winter dirt than at the start of spring. With the cost of living crisis pushing prices up across the UK, many drivers will be opting to detail their cars at home this year.

“However, it’s important to be aware of common practices that could be either reducing the effectiveness of your cleaning or worse, damage your vehicle’s paintwork.”

With this in mind, Leasing Options have revealed common mistakes made by car owners and what to do instead:

1. Shaving foam causes discolouration on car upholstery

Leasing Options also warned against following viral car cleaning hack which includes using shaving foam to clean car upholstery. Leasing Options stated that shaving foams are not formulated to be used on materials and contain oils that could cause discoloration when coming into contact with fabric. Instead, opt for an auto upholstery cleaner instead.

2. Washing up liquid eats away at your car wax

Degreasing dishwashing products are designed to strip food and stubborn oils from your kitchen crockery to get them clean, so it’s no wonder that dishwashing products like Fairy Liquid would be perfect for washing your vehicle. However, Leasing Options warn that consistent use of dish soap when washing your car will eat away at the wax that protects the clear coat. Car wax contains oily substances in which the dish soap wears away just like it does oil and butter on kitchen utensils. After multiple uses of dish soap as a car wash solution, your car will likely no longer retain its glossy, water beading finish.

3. Automatic car washes

Automatic car washes are a quick and convenient way of making your car look presentable. However, Leasing Options warn that the fast-spinning rollers in automatic car washes hold onto grit they’ve picked up from cars before yours and could damage your paintwork. This grit can cause super fine scratches on the paint and make the colour appear duller over time.

The same can be applied to self-service jet washes at your local fuel garage, say Leasing Options. The brush can contain elements of grit and stone where they have been left on the ground, and could mark your paint as you clean it.

4. Glass cleaners can cause window tint to peel

While you may assume that regular window cleaning sprays would work for your car windows, that may not be the case. Most glass window cleaners contain ammonia which, after consistent use, can break down any window tint and cause it to peel.

These types of cleaners, if sprayed onto acrylic side mirrors, can cause the material to yellow over time. Instead, invest in a specially formulated glass cleaner.

5. Using a jet wash can damage paintwork

While jet washers are generally fine if they’re used correctly, misuse of them can cause costly damage to your car’s exterior. Spraying a pressure washer at a single spot for prolonged periods could cause marks due to the sheer force of the water.

Additionally, standing too closely with the jet wash could strip away the wax coating. A general rule is that the nozzle should always be at least a foot away from the paintwork.

6. Using the same rag again rubs grit into the car

It’s common practice to throw the rag you’ve dried your car with aside to dry and use again in the next car wash. However, grit and dust from where you’ve last washed your car may still be embedded in the fibres. Additionally some common towel material, such as tea or bath towels are abrasive, are too abrasive and can cause micro scratching on the clear coat. Instead, use a clean microfiber cloth and thoroughly wash in between uses to get the best, streak and scratch free finish.

Similarly, sponges can also hold on to any dirt, sand and grit and can rub this back into the paintwork if not removed correctly. The same can be applied to going between areas such as the wheels to your paintwork, so its best practice to use completely separate brushes for different areas of the car and change your water bucket as you switch the sponge.


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