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Wheels & Paint | Autoblog Details | Complete Detail ep 4

Autoblog Staff

Of all the cleaning that can be done to your car, washing is by far the most popular because it's the part you see, instant gratification, and a growing number of people describe it as therapeutic or relaxing. So for step 4 in our series of 10, we'll be exploring the step-by-step process for properly washing your wheels and paint in sequential order.

Watch all of our Autoblog Details videos for more tips on car cleaning and maintenance by professional detailer Larry Kosilla. While you're at it, check out Larry's other video series on how to diagnose, fix, and modify cars, Autoblog Wrenched!

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[00:00:00] Of all the cleaning that can be done to your car, washing is by far the most popular because it's the part you see, instant gratification, and a growing number of people describe it as therapeutic or relaxing, me being one of those believers. So for step four in our series of 10 we'll be exploring the step-by-step process for properly washing your wheels and paint in sequential order. Coming up today on Auto Blog Details. Before rinsing your paint or wheels, first fill your three buckets: the wash bucket with car soap, the wheel bucket with wheel soap, and the rinse bucket with only water.


[00:00:30] If you were to rinse the car first and then get your supplies and fill your buckets, the water that's on the paint may have time to dry and cause water spots as you're getting prepared for the wash. Be sure to add a grit guard in a washboard to each bucket to keep the dirt from sloshing around and traveling back up into the wash mitt as you're dunking, which will increase the chances of love marks or scratches during your next swipe.


[00:01:00] As you prepare your wheel bucket, it should contain four to five tools that are never used on the paint: first is a cheap wash mitt that can be thrown away after dozens of wheel washes. These mitts were originally paint-washing mitts, but as they become excessively dirty and too dangerous for the paint, they get demoted down to wheel-cleaning duty. One of the golden rules of washing your car is never clean your wheels and your paint with the same mitt at the same time.


[00:01:30] Next is the wheel wooly. They come in different shapes and bristles but are primarily designed to clean the backside of the rim, and they come in smaller sizes for tight spots on the caliper. A lug nut brush is perfect for cleaning around the air valve, the lug nuts, and where the rim meets the rubber. Likewise, be sure to use specific wheel soap in this bucket with these tools. Now that your buckets are full and ready to go, always start with the wheels first, and specifically one wheel at a time.


[00:02:00] Do your best to avoid over-spraying water on the paint as you pre-rinse the wheel to prevent potential water spotting as we mentioned earlier. Now with the rim wet, add wheel cleaner evenly across the face of the wheel and immediately begin with the wheel woolie from top to bottom on the inside of the rim. Once the back of the wheel is clean, then use your lug nut brush to agitate the brake dust from the tight areas on the front of the rim. The next step in this process is to use the wheel wash mitt to clean the front of the wheel face.


[00:02:30] Be sure to re-dunk your mitt in the wheel bucket only as it becomes dirty. Afterwards, brush the rubber if necessary and then scrub the wheel wells with a long-handled wheel woolie if you have access. Finally, with everything clean and soapy, rinse the wheel and the wheel well, then repeat the process from start to finish on the next wheel. Now with all four wheels clean, rinsed, but not dried, it's now time to pre-rinse the paint from top to bottom.


[00:03:00] Keep in mind it's best to do this out of direct sunlight to avoid premature evaporation; morning or later afternoon is usually ideal. With much of the heavy dirt washed away with our pre-rinse, use a soapy wash mitt from top to bottom in straight lines. Be sure to dunk your wash mitt into the rinse bucket every few swipes or if you encounter heavy dirt in a particular area of the car. However, having two mitts in your wash bucket can be extra helpful: one for the top half of the car and another for the bottom half, which tends to be extra filthy.


[00:03:30] On really dirty cars or soft black paint using a foam cannon attached to your hose is another great method for pre-soaping your paint prior to washing with a mitt to help minimize scratching. During the wash it could be helpful to have a soft long-haired brush to agitate the emblems, to release trapped dirt that is not removed from a simple wash.


[00:04:00] Window frames, door locks, gas doors, and door jambs are great places to use this brush during the wash, but remember to be gentle to avoid scratching. Finally, rinse the paint from top to bottom, preferably out of direct sunlight. In our next episode we'll be discussing what to do with your rinsed or wet car as there are many unique time-saving tips that take advantage of lubricated paint. To see episode four visit autoblog.com/details. I'm Larry Kosilla from AMMOnyc.com, we'll see you in the next video.