Other than automobile scribes and journalists, there are the other clan namely the Parsis who care about their cars the more. Moreover most of the Parsis are doctors and this makes a strong case for themselves. However have you ever wondered as to how they clean this cars and make them look as if they just stepped out of the production line, even after years and years of use. Hindi movies are rife with scenes of Bawas ferociously protecting their cars and even giving up their lives in instances. Hmm! that is fodder for thought. So I got one of my Parsi friends, Firoz Engineer who owns a Maruti Alto from the 2003 batch but it looks as new as it was when it must have just got off the assembly line. Not a scratch or peeling paint can be found anywhere on this car. This prompted me on asking him as to how they keep their cars so squeaky clean. At first he rattled off that this was in their blood and all sorts of stuff. But those weren’t making any sense since I wanted to extract the real secret behind this and finally with some coaxing he told me the recipe. Couldn’t resist sharing with you guys. I got them out in points here.
I would start with the exteriors first as they guarantee you the maximum attention. Use your weekend or atleast a day in the week to hose down your car. Shampoo it twice in a month. Reputed manufacturers have got sponges and shampoos for washing cars however if you are one of the types of Bawas who is stingy (mind you, there are many, Firoz himself is one) then you can use a mild hair shampoo. The reason for selecting a mild shampoo is because it wouldn’t harm the car’s paint job and at the same time give it a squeaking clean look. Use pressure water cleaning for removing all the grime and dirt from the exteriors.
Keeping the tyre rims clean also project a lot about the overall looks of the car. Avoid shampoos here, even the mild ones. Go for soap water instead first of all, pour water on the wheels and then apply the soap water liberally. Then use a washing scrub or even an old toothbrush to clean the difficult to see areas. The reason behind cleaning the difficult to spot areas is because once the car is rolling along, the water dripping from those areas would eventually come down to the tyres and make them look dirty again. Use a pressure wash system to wash away the dirt.
Open the hood of the car and give it a light dusting with a soft cloth. Remember to disconnect the battery from its terminal. After the initial dusting is done, wipe the engine bay with a wet cloth and some soap water. Pressure washes be better avoided inside the engine bay. Water sprayed on spark plugs or even in some of the ECU components would result in a clean car but one which wouldn’t start. Here as well, you can dip the old toothbrush in soap water and clean the difficult to reach areas. Once the cleaning job has been down, remember to remove the excess water by either using pressurized air or even a vacuum cleaner. After all the cleaning wiping has been done, apply some plastic polish over the engine bay and other plastic bits.
Now, your tyres and the rims also need some attention. Not just cleaning and hosing them would bring back the factory look. If you car has the steel wheels, then apply some rim polish on them whereas if they are of the alloy types, then spray and alloy wheel polish on them. This would make the alloys look new and very much clean. Wheel polishes are also available and this would give the tyres a fresh new look. An option called as extreme wheel polish is available in the market and this gives a better texture to the overall wheel look. However it is very expensive but still is worth the extra bucks. A caution here though. Don’t use wheel polish too often or it would reduce the tyre life over time. Applying on tread pattern would also result in some of the tyre grip loss.
External panel gaps, mud flaps, front grille or even the body mouldings need to be cleaned as well. Using ear buds, muslin cloth or toothpicks would be a nice option to clean the difficult to reach areas. After that is done, use plastic polish to give them an overall shiny look that comes from a new car. I am sure that most of you don’t want clean cars with dull plastics.
Now comes the time to “wax” the entire car. By “wax”, I meant polishing the car to protect the factory paint job. Carnauba wax is a favorite thing with car polishers. Many reputed brands like Formula1, Armor All, Autoglym and Soft 99 have Carnauba wax as their base element in polishes and give that new car look. However before applying the wax, ensure that your car is totally dry. The wax should be applied in a circular motion and and in shade. It should be applied using a sponge. Having a buffer system or even a buffing wheel helps as it gives a smooth finish to the waxing job done. However don’t apply wax every time you wash the car. Instead do it once every three months. Moreover every alternate week, while washing your car, add zip wax to the water. If you are adding zip wax, then there is no need to use soap in that water.
As they say “Prevention is better than cure”, stands true to caring for your cars as well. While driving on the road avoid picking up scratches or even holing your car into gaps that don’t really exist. In the interests of your car and your safety, it is better to wait till the road clears up rather than trading up the paint of the car with fellow road users. Many would counter this by saying that they can go for after-market touch ups. Remember folks, the original paint job cannot be fixed up. After market jobs tend to botch it up. Moreover the latter also doesn’t guarantee a good gloss. Like discussed earlier, Firoz’s Maruti Alto doesn’t have a single scratch on it. This is because he is a very patient driver. Also try not going over puddles of water or even the roads which are extremely dusty. Check out for some other route if possible.
A clean car but with a blacked out head lamp or even a broken outside rear view mirror doesn’t look good. So it is better to replace all those turn indicators, head lamps, ORVMs, wheel caps or tail lamps which you know are going to fail very soon, if they already haven’t. Speakers on parcel tray is a strict no-no as is attaching those navigation kits or speaker phone gadgets on the dashboard. The dashboard in addition to looking cluttered also is bored and drilled. When after sometime you would want to remove those extra fitments, it would leave scars worth a battlefield on the dashboard. It would also lower the resale value of the car.
Since I am already on the interiors of a car, then the interiors also need to be cleaned. A nice looking car from outside but dirty all inside doesn’t look inviting. It would be more like “Judging a book by its cover”. First of all before cleaning a car make sure that you don’t make it dirty in the first place. Bawas have this habit of not allowing anyone inside a car unless they have clean shoes. Avoid bringing pets into the car or even eatables. If you are married with kids, then avoid getting the kids to have their food inside the car. Left overs would attract insects inside the car. In traffic or on dusty roads, using the air conditioner helps in keeping the car interiors clean. Cleaning the car carpets or upholstery with vacuum cleaner is a good option. Moreover, turning over the car for an interior shampoo job is also worth it. Apply the same plastic polish which you have used for the exterior plastic parts for the dashboard and other parts which are plastic. This would help stop the fade in the plastic color.
Well, these are just some of the tips that a Bawa will give you but mind you wrenching the details out from him or her is a mean task as I found out. I had to treat Firoz to a vegetarian fare at the Gupshup corner. Actually burnt a hole in my pocket. Well, it is worth it, I would say.