How to Wash Your Truck, Car or…Tractor

May 29, 2020

Washing a truck, car, tractor or piece of equipment seems simple, but there are some key tips that can make sure you get the most out of your time and effort. Proper wash and waxing can prolong the paint and keep your vehicle and equipment looking newer longer. Good washing practices are why many people with tractors, trucks and cars that are 10 years old, or older, still look shiny and new.

How to Wash Your Truck, Car or…Tractor

Is it Too Hot, too hot to Wash?
Seriously, you should keep on eye on the temperature of the car, truck, tractor or piece of equipment before you wash it. Adding cold water to hot brake rotors could cause them to warp and while extremely rare cold water on a super hot windshield could cause it to crack. Also, when you’re washing and applying soap if it’s too warm out the soap could dry before you’re able to rinse it off; trapping dirt and causing problems if you wax.

Does dirt damage my ride?
A common problem washing a vehicle is dropping the rag, wash mitt, or wash brush while washing the car or truck. Dropping your wash tool collects dirt from the ground that can scratch your paint or damage the finish coat. If you drop your wash tool, the best option is to use another clean one; at a minimum, be sure to thoroughly wash it and remove all the dirt.

Car wash gurus may have three different wash tools to be prepared. The primary wash mitt or brush for the body of the vehicle and a backup mitt or wash tool in case the brush gets too dirty. The third wash mitt is only used for the tires. Tires get gunky and dirty quick, and the wash mitt picks up nasty stuff when cleaning wheels and tires. If you don’t have multiple brushes or mitts, at least be sure the tires are done last.

A final note on dirt, have two wash buckets if you’re vehicle has a delicate paint job. One bucket with your soap, and another “rinse” bucket. This prevents your soapy clean water from getting as dirty and helps make sure dirt and grit don’t get on your brush from the soap bucket that could damage the finish coat. Another tip is to wash your truck or car on the grass if allowed. It tends to be cooler and if you drop tools the grass is usually cleaner than a driveway.

Is there a right way to wash the car?
Unlike the movie, washing in circular patterns is not suggested. That can create fine, but visible scratches called swirl marks. Instead, move your wash tool lengthwise across the car. This risk can be reduced substantially if you use a soft fiber brush or mitt designed to use on car paints.

Start at the front or back, there really is not a suggested order except to go from the top down when rinsing the soap off the truck or car, starting with the roof. This helps reduce your time and avoids dirty soap dripping down over already rinsed areas. Be sure to rinse heavily and with light pressure.

Is it needed to dry a car after it’s washed?
To be safe and keep that shiny new truck look, you should use a chamois or soft terry towel to dry your car or equipment after washing it. If you let a car air dry it can leave watermarks caused by the minerals in some hard water supplies.

How to Wash Your Truck, Car or…Tractor

  • Here are some key supplies to get the perfect truck or car wash:
  • Wash Bucket
    • Step it up and add a Rinse Bucket too
  • Wash Brush
    • Amp it up with a spare wash mitt in case you drop the brush or to use on the tires
  • Car Wash Soap
    • DO NOT use household cleaners like hand soap or dishwashing detergents. They are not made for washing car paint and can strip off protective waxes and finishes and damage the longevity of your car’s new look.
    • BE SURE TO USE a labeled car wash soap that are more mild and designed just to use on vehicle’s paint to clean but not damage it.
  • Supplies to go the Extra Mile
    • Use a Tire Foam to clean and restore the new look
    • Armor All wipes are great for the interior to make the inside shiny and smelling new
    • Windex or glass cleaner are good for the inside of your windows
    • Applying a Wax not only gives the car a mirror-like finish but also prevents fading and discoloring over time being exposed to the sun



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