Washing a vehicle in hot weather can ruin the vehicle’s paint job. In direct sunlight, soap dries quickly and leaves unsightly spots and streaks. Not washing, however, can cause just as much damage. Heat and sunlight also accelerate the damage from dirt, oil and other substances that build up from day to day. A few simple steps can prevent water spots and soap damage, keeping your paint job in perfect shape.
The first thing to remember is to never wash your vehicle in direct sunlight. Early in the morning or late in the evening after the sun begins to set are optimum washing times. If the vehicle must be washed during the hottest times of the day, park it in a shady area.
Before applying soap to the vehicle, spray it down generously with water. In addition to removing dirt and other abrasives from your car, this lowers the surface temperature of the vehicle and helps the soap to dry a little less quickly.
It is also a good idea to wash the vehicle in small sections. Wash a fender and headlight, then rinse it quickly; move on to a door, then rinse it. Work your way around the vehicle one small section at a time, reapplying water to each section before washing.
After the vehicle is clean, dry it off with a soft cloth or towel as soon as possible to avoid water spots. It may be necessary to spray some areas with water again before drying, if water spots have already appeared. Applying a coat of wax will also help protect your paint, but as with washing, keep the vehicle out of direct sunlight.
It is important to remember, in any type of weather, to always use a soft clean cloth, free of oil or debris when washing and drying your vehicle. Never use dish detergent or any other petroleum based soap to wash a vehicle. Over time, petroleum based soap can damage the clear coat and the paint underneath. Always use soaps specifically designed for washing automobiles.
To summarize, park the vehicle out of direct sunlight and rinse with water before beginning to wash. Use a soft clean cloth and non-petroleum based soap. Wash and rinse one small section at a time. Dry the vehicle off immediately after washing, respraying with water if necessary. Following these simple steps will protect your paint job and keep your vehicle sparkling and spotless.