car tuning

29 Oct 2007

Car cleaning in the rain.

I do a fair bit of motorway driving and this results in a dense film building up over the paintwork. I also have very little time to spare and rashly promised to clean the car on Sunday as there was an unusual hole in my schedule. As with any job I approach I left it and ignored it until it started to rain. A promise is a promise so I though I'd better get on with it before it gets really heavy.

Then an idea struck me! Take the car to a car park in town and pay someone to do it for me. Sadly they had all gone home! I guess you'd be mad to clean a car in the rain! I drove to the out of town hand car wash to see them all going home. It looked like I was on my own so I drove home praying for a gap in the clouds. Sadly this never came and it just rained harder and harder.
I parked on the drive, put on a waterproof jacket and hosed down the car. The dirt seemed to lift off more easily than normal, even bird strikes just rinsed away with the hose. Next step was the shampoo, and soft sponge (*we actually recommend using a sheepskin mitt as this prevents scratching and swirling of the paintwork. See the Torquecars article on car cleaning for more cleaning tips!)

This stage went well but it was difficult to keep track of where I had and hadn't done so I did it one panel at a time and worked down the car to avoid getting grit into my wash mitt. This stage went really well also and took less time than normal. A bit of alloy wheel cleaner sprayed on the wheels and quick brush over took off all the brake dust with no scrubbing required.

In a moment of madness I decided to polish the car. It took a lot of rubbing and I used more wax than normal but I got a good coating of wax on the car. I could see streaks from the wax residue when I ran the hose over the car and decided to finish it off with a chamois leather. (It was raining so I knew I wouldn't get the car dry!) This took a good hour but the car looks fantastic now. It proves that you can clean a car in the rain, and the rain can actually help make the job easier.

The only thing to remember when cleaning a car in the rain is that no matter how much you try you will never get it dry. Thankfully though rain does not spot and leave residue like tap water so the finish is faultless and I could see the water beading and running off the car. All I need now is a sunny day to inspect my handy work.

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