I was in a car accident not too long ago, I was stopped in traffic (where traffic is normally not stopped) and was rear ended by someone who just could not stop in time. There was a hill involved, and possibly a cell phone, but no one was injured so we are letting that go. The vehicle that was hit was my 200k + 2007 Envoy, and it was just the rear bumper that was damaged, well maybe a little of the plastic trim near the tail light as well.
What does all this have to do with cleaning your car? Well, when I took the Envoy for the Insurance estimate, the agent was super surprised to see that the truck had over 200k on it and said that he sees cars all the time with less than 50k look way worse. He stated that this truck was well taken care of and could not stop commenting on how clean it was.
Now, I do like a clean car, but I don’t really go crazy with
washing it all the time or anything.
What I do is to take out the trash.
I don’t leave garbage in my cars; it drives me crazy, so all of the
trash in my car is removed regularly. And
I try to run the car through the car was once a month. I do the full service so they clean the
outside and in, this keeps the car pretty clean. At least clean enough for me.
This is not enough to have a car that looks pretty much brand new after 200k. The other process that I do is to go over the car twice a year. I give it a nice coat of protective Armor all and a nice coat of wax.
This is the process that I use; it took me about three hours to do both of my SUV’s. I like to work as little as possible, but I do want my cars to look good and last a long time. A clean car is a well taken care of car and will serve you well. If you take care of it, it will take care of you.
This is the Enclave before doing my bi-yearly cleaning:
The first thing I do is take it through my friendly neighborhood
full service car wash, a place where they clean the inside and out and dry it
by hand. I usually will take the one car
and then take the other right away; this gives any residual water a chance to
I will then use Armorall Leather protectant to moisten all the leather seats in both of my cars. If you don’t have leather seats, you can obviously skip this step. However, if you have leather, you will want to keep it moist so it does not crack.
Next I will spray and wipe down all the non-leather surfaces with the original Armorall. This adds a layer of protection as well as a nice shine to all the surfaces. My main goal here is to keep the materials from wearing out and fading due to the sun or cracking due to being too dry. Twice a year seems to work, the newer materials in the two cars that I have may be part of the success as well.
After I am done wiping down all the insides, I then move onto the outside. I would normally use a good paste wax to wax the vehicles, but I have started using the Turtle Wax Ice spray wax. I used this after painting the Porsche and the beads on the paint seem to be holding up so I went for it on my other two cars. This wax is super easy to apply; you just need two terry cloth towels and the wax. Spray it on, wipe it in circles like you would any other wax, then use the other dry towel to buff it out. The results are really good and the water beads up really nice. Plus there is no white residue that you need to clean up.
The last thing I do is to Armor all the tires. Spray it on the tires and use that wet wax towel to wipe it off! The results are a beautiful looking car with minimal work. The bonus is that after years of abuse, the twice a year cleaning maintenance really pays off with a car that still looks really good!