|Keeping your cars bodywork in good
condition is vital if you want your car to last, and retain it's
Washing your car
It is recommended that you regularly wash your cars bodywork. Do
this using a high quality car shampoo, do not simply use washing
up liquid. In many cases washing up liquid contains salt and can
cause long term damage to your paint finish.
Use a clean soft sponge and start at the bottom of the car to
remove the worse of the road dirt from the lower parts of the
vehicle. Then start to work your way up making sure you keep the
sponge as clean and free of abrasion as possible. Dirt and grime
on the sponge can scratch the paint work if not removed.
Chamois down car
Once you have finished sponging the bodywork it is time to rinse
off using clean water. I suggest using a hose for this part,
although lots of buckets of clean fresh water will do. Continue
to rinse the car down until all residue of the detergent has
You should now chamois down the bodywork using a leather or
synthetic chamois. This will dry the bodywork and give it a nice
finish. Be sure to check the chamois periodically to make sure
it is free of grit and other contamination.
Once the bodywork is dry you should give it an inspection to
check for scratches and other minor damage. Small scratches can
usually be polished out or if they are still visible you may try
a light rubbing compound such a T-Cut. Be sure to fully read and
understand any such products instructions before use.
Polishing car bodywork
Once you have finished drying the bodywork you should let the
car sit for an hour or so to ensure there is no water remaining
in any nooks or crannies. Water that is rubbed out when
polishing the bodywork can cause extra work and make it harder
to remove the polish. Choose a high quality polish that is
suitable for your paint type. Usually metallic paint requires a
specialised polish. If in doubt consult your dealer.
The actual polishing procedure varies a lot from product to
product so please be sure to read and follow the instructions
provided with the polish you purchase. Generally you will use a
soft lint free polishing cloth to apply the polish to an area of
the bodywork, you will then use a fresh cloth to remove the
polish and buff it up to a nice high shine finish. Use one cloth
to apply and one to remove for the entire job being sure not to
get the two cloths mixed up. Try to work on one panel at a time.
Re-do the entire task if you feel the finish is not up to
Do not attempt to polish your car in direct sunlight. This can
lead to the wax drying very quickly and it can be very difficult
to remove. This can lead to wax staining that is very difficult
Areas to pay attention to
As well as the obvious areas of the bodywork that you can notice
there are many other areas that require attention but are not as
Inside doors: The area around the
door on the inside needs to be cleaned also. This can help to
prevent corrosion from forming.
Under fuel flap: The inside of the
fuel flap and the metal area within the fuel flap area also need
attention. On some cars this area can become prone to corrosion
if not maintained.
Underside of bonnet: This area can
become very dirty due to it's proximity to the engine. This area
is not generally prone to corrosion although it does make sense
to keep it fairly clean. Simple rubbing down with a damp soapy
cloth and then drying will be enough. You can polish if you
Behind number plates: This is an
area very often overlooked, but the number plate can adversely
effect the bodywork behind it by holding road grime between the
plate and bodywork. carefully remove the number plate and clean
the area every once in a while. You may want to apply wax in
this area and leave it applied without rubbing off. If your
number plate is fixed to a plastic area then this will not
really be required.
Further bodywork maintenance
You should routinely lubricate your door hinges on all
doors as well as the tailgate or boot. You can use new clean
engine oil for this or a suitable grease.
The photo above shows a door latch that should be lubricated.
You can use oil from an oil can or grease applied directly to
the moving parts of the hinge and latch assembly. The locking
mechanism should also be lubricated. (The part that is visible