Are you ready for your MOT test? Here’s a checklist!

An MOT test for your car might sound like just another annual task you need to do to fulfil legal requirements as a driver, but the MOT test can reveal car problems that you were unaware of and could potentially be dangerous.

If your MOT due date is approaching, here are a few basic vehicle checks that you can carry out yourself to avoid those annoying minor failure items.

Checks To Carry Out Before Getting An MOT

  • Are the lights and indicators working properly?
    Start your vehicle and put on all the lights, including the hazard warning indicators and check that all the bulbs are illuminated. Check especially the number plate ones, as people often miss these. Also switch between high and low beam headlights and if possible get someone to put their foot on the brakes so you can check the brake lights.
  • Do the tyres have enough tread?
    Tyre wear is a common MOT failure. Turn the steering to full lock, both ways, and check the inner section of the front tyres for wear, as you don’t always see this. Each tyre will have a wear indicator in between the treads to show if the minimum depth has been exceeded, or use the edge of a 20p coin and ensure the tread is above the raised outer edge of it.
  • Are the windscreen wipers in a good condition?
    Activate your windscreen cleaning via the stalk and check for any smearing or missed sections. Even a single line of remaining water can indicate they need changing. Also – fill the washer bottle, it’s your responsibility to fill it, not the examiner’s.
  • Shake, rattle & roll!
    A large proportion of the MOT failures are due to worn suspension components. We appreciate that it is difficult to check these yourself, but if you have noticed any knocking, rattles or undue handling, get these checked by a mechanic prior to the test as the examiner will find them.
  • Is the engine oil at the correct level?
    During the test, the examiner will need to rev your engine for a period of time to test the emissions. Before doing so, they will check the oil level and if it is low, they will stop the test and fail the vehicle. Do not overfill the oil above the max level on the dipstick, if you are unsure, have a mechanic do this for you.
  • Warning Lights
    When you switch on your ignition, an array of lights will appear. These lights need to go out once the engine is running, if they do not, then the vehicle will fail. However, the lights DO need to come on first – if they do not, then it will also fail! If you are unsure about any warning light, get a mechanic to check it over.

Unfortunately, we cannot cover every aspect in detail, but furthermore check if your car brakes work well, the handbrake works, the seatbelts click in OK and all the doors open from the inside (a rather common issue!).

We’d urge drivers due an MOT soon to book a slot timely. At ClickMechanic, we offer contactless MOTs with home collection and delivery.  You can also book your MOT for only £25 when you book a service at the same time!

Book Your MOT Today

Is Your Car Touring Ready?

After more than 3 months, lockdown restrictions will be eased on caravan and touring parks from the 4th of July in England. As the British Summer is well and truly here in its full glory, no doubt many of you will be keen to get away in your Motorhome or take your caravan somewhere to enjoy our celebrated beauty spots.

However, before doing so, especially if your vehicle hasn’t been used to any great extent recently, it is recommended to do a thorough checkup of your vehicle in advance. The last thing you’d want is a delayed or even an abandoned break.

Checks To Carry Out Before Travelling

  • Battery
    If you have had to recently “jump start” your vehicle after it was not used for a while, make sure that it is now starting up without any problems, especially if being left for a few days. A flat battery can spell disaster on a road trip.
  • Fluids
    Check the levels of your vehicle’s essential fluids thoroughly. Ensure your engine oil is in-between the minimum and maximum marks of the dipstick, top up if required using the correct oil, but do not overfill.Check that your coolant has recently been refreshed and is in between the minimum and maximum marks on the header tank, topping up if required – but please do both the check and top up when the engine is cold.It is also worthwhile to check your windscreen washer fluid reservoir and top that up too.
  • Tyres
    Make sure your tyre pressures are correct and make any adjustments required, especially if you intend to tow a caravan as the pressure requirements on the rear may be slightly different from those when unladen. Also check your spare wheel – and of course your caravan’s tyres!
  • Lights
    Do a visual check of all your lights AND those of your caravan and replace any failed bulbs or have any electrical issues resolved in towing electrical connections well in advance.
  • Brakes
    Take a moment to visually inspect your brake pads, through the wheels, where possible. Towing adds extra pressure and reliance on good brakes. You’d be surprised at the amount of call-outs for brakes that are received from holiday destinations!
  • Clutch
    Does your clutch pedal feel it has good even pressure and have you noticed any untoward noises, snatching as you change gear or even difficulty getting into gear. Now would be a good time to have that looked at.

Aside from that, don’t forget to check your cigarette lighter socket is working properly, so you can charge mobile devices, and ensure you carry your car insurance and breakdown assistance details with you.

A note from our Mechanic in Residence

Drive carefully with due consideration to other road users, know the speed limits and check the access before heading down a lane and off the main highway. You may not be in a rush, but do check your mirrors for following traffic and pull over when safe to do so to let the “locals” past you. We do appreciate it, especially down here in Devon! Happy Touring!

– Nigel, ClickMechanic’s Mechanic in Residence and Devon resident!

If you are unsure whether your vehicle is safe and ready to drive for a longer road trip, then book a FREE phone consultation  with one of our experienced in-house mechanics or place a booking online for our 28-point Vehicle Health Check.

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Con-fused? What To Do When Your Car Blows A Fuse

At some point, you’ve probably heard someone mention that their car has ‘blown a fuse’, the reasons why can often be mystifying. This week we’ll break down what fuses do in a car and how you can best deal with a blown fuse.

Fuses are an integral part of a car’s electrical system, and help protect the various electrical components fitted to your car. With cars becoming ever more complex electrically, however, the number of fuses used has also increased. With this has come more confusion over which fuse could have blown and why.

Fuses – What Do They Do And What To Do If They Fail

  • How does a fuse work?
    The main part of a fuse is a thin wire or metal strip designed to melt at an electrical current draw slightly over the standard draw of the electrical component(s) and wiring it is protecting. When this metal strip or wire melts, it does so very quickly, which is why you can see them flash and pop, hence the term ‘blown’.
  • How do I know a fuse has blown?
    The first obvious sign is that the equipment you were trying to use, no longer works. You may also find that a few other items may not work either and that is a very clear indication of a fuse being blown. Many circuits use the same fuse to protect them, so for instance, if your radio, interior light and electric mirrors no longer work, it could be the fuse that covers them.
  • How do I find out which fuse has blown?
    The best place to start is your vehicle’s handbook, if you still have it. There will be a section on the fuses and what they cover. It will also tell you the location of the fuse box and also, more importantly, which fuse it is! Most fuses will be colour coded. The most common ones are 5A orange, 10A red, 20A yellow and 30A green. When you pull out the fuse, you should be able to see if it has blown by the broken strip or even a blackened burn mark where it has burnt.
  • Do’s and Don’ts
    • Only replace a fuse when the equipment, and ideally the ignition, is switched off.
    • If there are a number of items that are protected by one fuse, only switch them on one by one. Otherwise, if it blows a second time, you will not know what item is causing it.
    • Never replace a fuse with a higher rating than the one you are replacing. Equipment may be damaged, or in the worst-case scenario, the wiring loom can melt instead which can cause a fire!

If you are unsure what is wrong with your car’s electrics or need help finding out why a fuse keeps blowing, then book a FREE phone consultation with one of our experienced in-house mechanics or place a booking online for a diagnostic inspection.

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5 Essential Car Checks To Do If You’ll Need To Start Using Your Car Again

As we’re sure you’ll be aware, the government has recently reviewed the Coronavirus restrictions and has made some changes.

For some people this may now mean you will start to use your car again after a longer period of being parked up or used a lot less than usual. If that is the case, you will likely find that your car may struggle to start or has other issues that will prevent it from performing optimally. Like humans, it needs a little stretch when it comes out of slumber!

However, there are a few checks you can do now to help ensure your car is safe and ready to set off again.

5 Essential Checks To Ensure Your Car Is Ready To Drive

  1. Battery & Electrics
    If your vehicle hasn’t been started periodically then the battery is likely to be flat. Firstly, insert the key into the ignition and switch to the first position, and if no lights come on, it’s very flat, if when you try to start the engine, the light flickers and you get either a slow turn of the engine or a rapid clicking, then the battery is too low on power.If you are not comfortable with or are unable to get help jump starting the battery, book an inspection with ClickMechanic for a technician to come out and help.
  2. Engine
    If you are fortunate and the engine starts, allow the vehicle to idle for 5 minutes before driving off. This will allow things to warm up gradually, belts to ease back into life and the cooling system time to circulate.
  3. Wheels & Tyres
    Whilst the engine is idling and warming up, it is a good time to check your tyre pressures as under-inflation will cause damage to the sidewall if you drive with low pressure in them, as well as being dangerous!
  4. Suspension
    During the tyre pressure check, take a quick look at the gap between the top of the tyres and the wheel arches and make sure it is even on both sides. If not, it could be a clear indication that a spring has broken whilst the vehicle has been stationary.
  5. Brakes
    Finally when you are ready to drive off, dab the brakes a few times and gently depress the clutch pedal a few times if it is a manual.If you haven’t driven your vehicle, inevitably your brake discs will gain a coating of rust. This is quite normal and in most cases once the car is moving and the brakes have been applied a few times, this will clean off. It may be a bit noisy to start with, but it’s ok!Hopefully, your handbrake will not have stuck on. However, if, as you drive off, the wheels drag or the car won’t move but instead rises up, it has stuck on! Do not under any circumstances simply try and keep driving it to release it as you can damage the brakes. Book a mechanic to come out and do it safely.One last word of advice, give your windscreen a wash as it’s likely to smear quite badly at the first few swipes so it’s best to do that before you set off!

If you are concerned that your vehicle may have become unsafe, unreliable or something has happened to it, book a FREE phone consultation with one of our experienced in-house mechanics or place a booking online for our contact-free mobile mechanic service.

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Why Now Could Be A Great Time To Buy A New Car

Whilst buying a new car may be pretty low down on your current lockdown to-do list, the discounts on offer currently with car dealers may actually mean that now could be a great time to buy your next car. Here’s why:

  1. The government has updated lockdown guidance for car dealers
    The government has recently announced that car dealers are allowed to sell (online) and deliver cars during lockdown providing social distancing rules are adhered to.
  2. Rules around test driving have been relaxed
    The DVLA have stated that potential buyers may now test drive vehicles on their own, providing the seller has the required trade plates and insurance. Previously, the trade plate licence holder was required to be present in the vehicle, however the DVLA has now confirmed that potential buyers will be able to test drive a car alone and therefore maintain social distance.
  3. Car dealers are offering some cracking deals
    After a period of uncertainty dealers are keen to get business moving again and will be more likely to offer discounts and do a deal. Importantly, any deals are unlikely to stay around for too long once the lockdown will be eased and demand for cars increases again. So now may be the time to snap up your next car for a great price.

All this should mean the process of buying a car during lockdown is much easier than before. However, ClickMechanic recommends that any potential purchaser should double-check with the dealer that the trade plates are up to date and the trader has the required insurance in place prior to taking the car out.

In all cases though, if buying a second hand car, but especially if you are test driving one solo without being able to ask questions at the time, it’s always best to have a professional check over the car. ClickMechanic can help with a Contact-Free Pre-Purchase Inspection, book yours here today.

Book Your Pre-Purchase Inspection Now

How The Lockdown Will Affect Diesel Cars – DPFs At Risk Of Failure

To beat the spread of Coronavirus government advice is to stay at home and only undertake journeys when absolutely necessary. However, if you have a diesel-engined car you may run into an issue with the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) during the current lockdown if you are using your car for short journeys.

How Does A DPF Work?

The DPF is part of the emissions control system on most Diesel cars and controls soot from passing into the atmosphere, making your Diesel more eco-friendly. As you drive the DPF stacks up with soot which it needs to burn off in order to ‘regenerate’ the system.

The easiest way to describe it is to consider this filter canister like a fireplace. You pile wood into it and when it gets near the top, you burn it. Well, in a similar vein, your DPF stacks up with the soot particles, but then needs to burn them out.

However, this can only occur under certain conditions. The amount collected has to be over a certain %, your engine has to be at optimum temperature and it needs to be over a certain speed for a sustained period of time.

Unfortunately, using your vehicle for short journeys prevents proper regeneration of the system. The regeneration criteria will simply not be met and the DPF will become too full and get blocked.

How Do I Know If I Have A DPF Issue?

If you have been driving short distances and not had the opportunity to give your diesel-engined car a good run, you are highly likely to see a DPF warning sign on your dashboard (see below), or something similar to it. It’s advising you that it has become blocked, and that urgent attention is needed.

DPF by BomSymbols
How Can You Fix DPF Issues?

Normally, a quick blast on the motorway can help to clear the DPF, but as government advice is to stay at home you cannot go for a jolly up the motorway to clear the system right now. It simply isn’t going to be accepted as a valid excuse for a trip out by Her Majesty’s finest boys in blue.

However, CickMechanic has a solution that can be carried out AT YOUR HOME. You don’t even need to leave your front door. It is called a ‘Forced Regeneration’ and is completed through the diagnostics system on your car by a trained mechanic with the specific equipment required to do it.

If you think you have a problem with your DPF, then book a FREE phone consultation  with one of our experienced in-house mechanics who can talk you through it in layman’s terms. Alternatively, you can use our new contact-free service to place a booking.

If you have friends with Diesel cars, please forward this onto them as the longer this lockdown goes on, the more likely DPF failures will occur.

Keeping Key Workers Moving During The Coronavirus Lockdown

As the Coronavirus has forced much of the nation into full lockdown, those keeping our key services running are faced with huge challenges to do so. Not least finding ways to get to and from work, and keeping their vehicles moving safely when many garages have closed across the UK.

For that reason, we’re committing to help keep key workers moving and are offering the following benefits to them:

  • Priority mechanic matching
    Our system and team will move quickly to ensure key and essential workers booking are assigned with priority.Just add a note on your booking stating you are a key or essential worker and who you work for. We offer same and next day bookings across the UK and work with hundreds of mechanics and garages that are still open.
  • Free & Priority phone diagnostics 
    Key and essential workers will be able to get quick and free phone diagnostics from our Mechanic in Residence team. Click here to book your call and just add a note on your request stating you are a key or essential worker and who you work for.
  • Contact-Free Servicing & Repairs
    We are offering a “contact-free” key exchange and service, to aid with the government recommended social distancing.
  • NHS and emergency service workers get 10% discount on bookings
    For NHS and emergency service workers a 10% discount on all bookings can be accessed via the Blue Light card scheme. Simply login via the Blue Light Card app or site here and claim the discount code.

Please forward this email to anyone that you know that is a key or essential worker that may need our services at this time.

From everyone at ClickMechanic, thank you for all that you do!

How To Keep Your Car Safe And Ready To Drive

As we’re sure you’ll be aware, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 the government has asked everyone to stay home for all but essential travel. That means using your car only for the most essential journeys like shopping for basic necessities, attending to medical needs or, if you cannot work from home, travelling to and from work.

As a consequence of this, your car may move a lot less than usual, or potentially not move at all. Like humans, cars do not cope well with being left alone. They seize up, go flat and will moan and groan when they do have to move again.

So we decided to pull together 5 essential tips to help keep your car in good shape and ready for when you need it.

5 Tips To Keep Your Vehicle Safe And Ready

Battery & Electrics

If your vehicle isn’t started periodically then the battery is likely to go flat. Despite being switched off, certain circuits like the alarm and immobiliser do take a trickle of power, and can drain the battery over time.

So, to keep your battery in good shape, once a week at least, start the engine and let it run up to temperature to give the battery a boost.

Engine

To prolong the life of your engine and reduce the chance of seizure start the engine on a weekly basis. By starting the engine, you will give the oil a chance to warm up and run around the internal components and lubricate them.

It also gives the drive belts a chance to move their position against pulleys, tensioners and guides. If you don’t do this, the belts can become weakened at the constant pressure points.

The engine coolant will also get to circulate and as it also includes a rust inhibitor it will dilute any condensation and refresh the system. Once started, all the other items such as your alternator and water pump will self lubricate their bearings, once again prolonging their life and reducing the chance of seizure.

Wheels & Tyres

If a vehicle is left standing for a period of time, the sidewalls of the tyre in that one position will take all the strain. Moving the car forwards or backwards by just half a wheel turn will shift the pressure point.

This is also a good time to check your tyre pressures as under-inflation will cause further damage to the sidewall and may even render the tyre dangerous.

Suspension

Just like our joints, your car’s suspension needs to be kept supple. We are not suggesting going out for a drive but a little bit of movement can make all the difference! Even just sitting in the car will move a lot of the components enough to prevent most issues. You would be surprised by the amount of springs that break when a car is left stationary for a long period!

Brakes

When you give your car its weekly warm up, dab the brakes a few times and while your feet are down there, give the clutch pedal a bit of exercise as well if it’s a manual!

If you don’t drive your vehicle, inevitably your brake discs will gain a coating of rust. This is quite normal and in most cases once the car is moving and the brakes applied a few times, this will clean off. It may be a bit noisy to start with, but it’s ok!

And finally, don’t leave the parking brake on unless really necessary!

If you leave your parking brake on for a long period, it is highly likely it will “stick on”. So although you released the handle, the brakes are still applied. You will feel the car try and move but it may drag the wheel(s) or rise up and not budge! To prevent this, leave the car in gear and release the handbrake if it is a manual, or simply leave it in P on an automatic.

If you do forget and it sticks on, do not under any circumstances simply try and keep driving it to release it as you can damage the brakes. Book a mechanic to come out and do it safely.

If you are concerned that your vehicle may have become unsafe, unreliable or something has happened to it, book a FREE phone consultation with one of our experienced in-house mechanics or you can use our new contact-free service to place a booking.

Essentials Items To Keep In Your Car

Essential items to keep in your car

A few months ago, we asked our customers which items they do carry in their car at all times. And all participants made sensible choices when it comes to items, tools and safety equipment. We take a closer look at which essential items you should carry with you in your car.

Legally required items

If you are stopped by the police, this is the paperwork, they will ask you to show:

  • Driving license
  • MOT certificate
  • Insurance certificate.

You don’t need to have them with you but you will have to take them to your local police as proof within 7 days. If you fail to do this, there is a hefty fine waiting for you.

Safety equipment to keep in your car

There are a number of items, that are key for your safety, should your car break down. Even though they are no legal requirement for UK drivers, they are in some EU countries. Drivers should check which items are mandatory when planning a road trip on the continent. It is also worth checking rental cars for these.

High-visibility vest

They are not the most fashionable item to wear, but they can save lives. These bright and reflecting orange or yellow vests ensure you are seen early when you are waiting for a recovery vehicle. or while you are putting up your warning triangle.

Warning triangle

The purpose of the warning triangle is to alert other drivers of obstruction ahead. It is recommended to place it at least 147 feet or 45 metres away from your vehicle. This distance is about the way a car travels when it slows down from 50mph to a full stop.

Make sure you are wearing your high-visibility vest when you are placing or retrieving the warning device.

Never use them on motorways!

First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit in your car can save lives. The key purpose of carrying a stocked first aid kit is not to help you but to provide fast assistance in any case of emergency. You might be the first responder to an accident and will need to provide emergency treatment until medical services arrive. Knowing that there is this small box with all things needed sitting in your glove box or boot, provides peace of mind for drivers.

Items that belong in a first aid kit:

  • Sterile cleansing wipes and/or saline solution for wound cleansing
  • Adherent dressing or sterile gauze
  • Burn dressing
  • Trauma dressing
  • Sterile dressing in various large sizes
  • Regular plasters
  • Disposable gloves
  • Adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandage
  • Bandages in several sizes
  • Tweezers and scissors
  • Resuscitation device
  • Foil blanket
  • Hand Sanitiser

Some items in your first aid kit have an expiry date, so it is worth checking it regularly and replace any items that are out of date.

Fire extinguisher

In 2018/19 over 10000 vehicle fires have been reported. Vehicle fires start small and are usually caused by faulty electricals. Therefore, a car fire extinguisher comes in handy to act fast, contain the fire or keep it away from the fuel tank, lowering the risk of explosions and more serious damage to your car.

Maintenance and repair essentials to keep in your car

Spare tyre

Spare tyres are designed to bring you home or the next garage. Some cars, however, are now sold without one, so check again before you go on a long drive.

Car or Tyre Jack

Keeping a spare tyre without a car jack does not make much sense. Best keep both items together in case you will need to change your tyre.

Spare bulbs

In some European countries, drivers are legally required to carry spare bulbs in their car to be able to replace a blown one straight away. Driving without a fully working set of lights is putting you and other drivers in danger.

Jump leads

Imagine you plan on going home from work and suddenly have to find out your battery is flat. Jump leads can help you get your car started with the help of another driver so you can at least get to back home or the nearest garage to the battery checked.

Basic tool kit (hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, various sockets, wrenches)

Keeping a basic toolkit allows you to do small repairs by yourself instead of waiting for a mechanic to arrive and to spend 2 minutes to fix your car

Empty fuel can

This is for the unlikely event that you’ll run out of fuel faster than the fuel gauge on your dashboard tells you. In these cases, grab your fuel can, get a lift to the next gas station and fill it up.

Duct tape

This is an unusual one, but duct tape allows for quick and temporary fixes like a broken side window, or a boot that won’t close. While this sounds easy, avoid driving around with these quick fixes, especially if you think your car is unsafe to drive and seek a mechanic as fast as possible. Driving around with a car kept together using tape will impact your insurance.

Other useful items to keep in your car

Torch

Think about breaking down in the dark, and having to find out what is going on under the bonnet. Of course, you will be in dire need of some source of lighting in this situation and keeping a torch (wind up is fine) in your car comes in extremely handy then.

Blanket and/or warm jacket

Being stranded in cold, wet or windy weather is not a nice thought. Keep a woolly blanket or thick jacket to throw over and keep you warm while you wait for your recovery vehicle to arrive.

Water and Snacks

No one likes being stuck in traffic, so plan ahead and keep some water and non-perishable snacks ready, for days when your journey takes longer than anticipated and you’ll need to hydrate and keep up those energy levels.

Save driving!

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A Guide To Spring Cleaning Your Car

two bucket methodimg source:cargroom.co.nz

Why should I clean my car?

A lot happens when you park your car. Birds, trees and even the weather work against you. Even while driving, you are subject to other car exhaust particulates that give you a black soot dusting, not to mention all the muck they kick up as well. This dirt can strip away your wax, paint and then start to rust your car. Additionally, it isn’t that fashionable to have a tree stuck to your roof. This is a great reason to regularly clean your car as paint jobs alone can be extremely costly.

Does cleaning your car improve your MPG?

According to Mythbusters, there is a 10% saving on MPG if you have a clean car. They test a clean car, then muck it up for a second run, both over 65 miles. A dirty car does about 24 MPG while a clean car does 26.4 MPG, which looks like a pretty clean win. What does that 10% mean for you?

A saving of £120 per year (based on UK average mileage, mpg, the average cost of petrol). That’s about 50kg of yorkshire puddings, but who’s counting…

Here’s what Karl from UK Hypermiler had to say:

“These types of tests are very subjective – fuel efficiency figures can can vary wildly depending on all types of environment conditions including wind direction / speed, altitude and ambient temperature. They make great telly but are little use for the “average” motorists who will see guaranteed gains through changing their driving style rather than running a wet cloth over the car. The drag coefficient of the vehicle can be improved through modification but it’s the overall design of the body and under-pan that will have a great effect. This type of experiment is much more suited to a wind tunnel for greater consistency. Very questionable”

So should you clean your car? Yes. While the wins for MPG may be small or even negligible for most of us, it is also important to look good. Remembering your car is also a part of your personal brand; nobody looks good stepping out of a grime covered car.

When should I be cleaning my car?

Keeping off the daily grime is a challenge for the likes of Tim Westwood, not your average driver. There are plenty of reasons to put off a car wash, some people wait until a delightful finger painter has left their work on the car. To avoid that embarrassing display you have to regularly wash your car. The timing of the wash depends on your location and driving habits. A general rule of thumb is once a fortnight, which should keep it pristine. This will prolong the life of your paint job and make your car feel brand new even on its last legs.

How do I clean my car?

Put down the squirty bottle of Fairy Liquid™. Here is a guide right from getting equipment for cleaning your car, to how you dry your car.

The problem with sponge washing a car

People across the country use sponges, what’s so wrong with a cheap sponge? A sponge might be common practice but it isn’t recommended. It all comes down to the flat face of the sponge:

Washing gets rid of grime and grit, but some of this grit may be small and sharp, like stones or chips. Washing with a sponge, the grit becomes trapped between the paint and flat sponge. This embeds the sharp bits into your sponge. Now, wipe with the sponge and you will be creating tiny hairline scratches. These micro-scratches will add up and look horrible under the light but there is a solution.

Why should I use a Wash Mitt?

Wool or synthetic wash mitts are miles better than a typical sponge and will last longer. If you run your fingers through one of these mitts, you can feel the deep soft pile of fabric that is great for your car.

They are important as when heavily compressing the grit, it will not embed into the surface. The grit gets lost in the fabric layers so there is a lower chance to scratch. While not a perfect solution, these mitts will prevent a lot more costly work to your car.

Shampoo for your car got you scratching your head?

There are plenty of different shampoos out there, but only a few that will be good for you and your car. Here are the top two things to keep in mind when buying shampoo:

Lubricant washing solution – You might lose out on bubbles but you’ll get an easy clean. Lubricating the grit will allow it to slide right off. This means less leg work, and also less pressure on the sponge or mitt, so you’ll have fewer swirls too.
No harsh detergents – Using detergents will strip away polish and wax, leaving you a dull car. This is a particular problem with your paint. As anyone who does the dishes with bare hands will know, the soap can dry your skin, with similar effects on the paint. Dry paint will scratch off and leave unprotected metals, which can cause rust damage.

One bucket? Why not two? The two bucket method

As you may have guessed, this involves two buckets. Fill one bucket with your cleaning solution, a mix of shampoo and water, and the other with water.

  • Soak the mitt in the cleaning solution
  • Brush it along
  • Dunk it in the water bucket
  • Slosh it back into the cleaning solution

This will remove dirt off the sponge, so you aren’t wiping muddy water back onto your vehicle. The two bucket method is particularly useful when you are doing the wash with children.

How to wash your car

Start with the Wheels, Rims, Arches and Door Jabs.

Using a more disposable brush and water. These bits are usually clogged with dirt so will splash that muck around if done later. A serious build up of dirt in these areas may lead to faults later. You will want to beware of getting water into the electrical systems, such as the locks. Use some tape to come key components but otherwise, you can hack at it with your brush.

Pre-Rinsing your car

Like any bath or shower, you rinse before applying shampoo. Rinse your car by gently spraying directly at the car, to loosen up any dirt and wet the paint so things slide off. Blasting the vehicle with a hose may cause a lot of damage, or a lot of micro scratches across your cars. A watering can could suffice in place of a hose, provided you can keep the water warm.

Shampooing your car

Now the real work begins, this is the most important part of the wash. This will cleanse your car of any mess on paintwork such as dust, grit, mud, etc… I’d say use warm water, to keep your hands warm and kick off the muck.

Use two buckets and two mitts. One mitt for the top areas of the car, roof, bonnet, upper sides above the wheel arch line. The other mitt for the lower areas, below the wheel arch line, front and rear bumpers. This top down approach means cleaning solution will drip down, instead of dirt later. Remember not to wipe too fast or too hard as you can cause a lot of those dreaded scratches. Practice your karate, Daniel San.

Avoid letting the paint dry in the sun, as you will find there are water spots left by residue. This may mean rinsing your car again, or a light drizzle.

Rinsing your car

This rinse is to wash away all those bubbles from the shampoo, most will glide straight off. The best way to start is a light pressure, to let bubbles run, then increase the pressure as it clears. Make sure to rinse from the top, and leave the car beading water instead of hosting a new lake.

Drying your car off

Drying is a critical part of a wash that most forget. The best tool is usually a microfiber towel which can pick up a lot more water than you think. Proper care when drying will prevent water streaks, which are being stubborn to remove. Their streaks come from particulate residue in the water. All water has it, be it hard, soft, or straight from the heavens. The water evaporates, even if it isn’t too warm out, and leaves behind a residue trail of a droplet. The best way to dry, while intensive, is patting the vehicle dry, as this prevents any stray grit ruining your car.

Alternatively, you could just go to a car wash.

If you’ve got any car problems that a wash won’t fix then we can help.

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