How to clean your car in a proper way

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Cleaning often involves  washing either with bare hands

Cleaning often involves washing either with bare hands or using a jet spray. Whichever way, caution should be exercised to avoid damaging some parts. File photo 

By Jonathan Adengo

Posted  Thursday, December 5  2013 at  02:00

Sheila, a 29-year-old banker, has just acquired a Toyota Raum, a car she is so proud of. Her love for her car is often demonstrated by how she cleans it. However, there is a problem when she only cleans the exterior and ignores the interior of the car. The challenge was experienced one day when the cables in the engine were damaged and she could not easily identify that because they were covered in oil and dirt.

Many car owners do not usually bother removing the dirt in the car. The accumulated dust affects the functionality of the car, especially when it comes to the sensitive parts like the engine. Paul Kaganzi, a mechanic, says washing a car depends on the owner’s level of cleanliness and also convenience.

With the advent of washing bays which are a located in most suburbs, cleaning cars has been simplified. Most washing bays have different types of washes they offer depending on what the car owner wants them to do. David Sentumbwe a car cleaner at Auto spa washing bay in Kiswa says a car should be washed every after three days to keep the shine in the colour.

He also says most car owners only care about the exterior and forget to clean the interior. Dust accumulates and this leads to formation of dirty spots in the car.

Mark Semukaya, a car owner, attests to treating his Toyota Mark II as one of his “babies.” He makes sure he does a general wash of the car at least once a week. For the other days, he just does the normal exterior washing.
For those who drive through dusty roads, the dust can also clog the air conditioning system of the car. But the increased costs charged by washing bays every day make many people shun cleaning their cars and only make the sacrifice when the car is begging for a wash.

Depending on the size of your car, washing bays have different packages for all car owners. Sentumbwe says they have the ordinary car wash for the normal wash up and the executive car wash for the in depth and thorough cleaning of the car.
All these average from between Shs7, 000 for the small cars and Shs10, 000 for the big cars for the ordinary wash, and Shs20, 000 to Shs25,000 for the executive wash. However, precaution still needs to be taken. Kaganzi says there are technically three areas of the car that require cleaning in order to achieve the best performance of the car and also increase its life span.

The exterior
This is basically on top of the car, on the sides and under. When washing the body of the car, the type of soap used also matters. Some soap brands used are corrosive and as such affect the body of the car. “Use non strong detergents like Wash and work which is usually available in most supermarkets from as low as Shs13,000,” he suggests.

Kaganzi also cautions car owners against using jet sprays all over the car. He says jet sprays can only be used on top and under the car. However, they should never be used on the front because it contains the engine and electrical fan of the car.
“Don’t use high pressure water around the lower fan system. Jet sprays when directed to the rubber seals, around windows damage the sealing they are supposed to provide. Rather than use a jet spray people should use their hands,” he advises.

The interior
Many car owners usually just pour water inside the interior of the car when washing. Car cleaners at washing bays also have a habit of removing upholstery and drowning the carpets with water which is not good. Water can easily cause corrosion and short circuits in the car. The best way to clean the interior is by using sprays or a damp cloth – usually something that will dry quickly without wetting the electrical wiring.
There are many options for cleaning interiors like sprays. The most common are usually the Turtleneck sprays which also range from Shs13,000 to Shs18,000. Kaganzi adds that you can also use local solutions like soap mixed with vinegar. “This leaves the car fresh,” he says. He adds that pouring water in a car causes it to smell in case it does not dry well.

The engine
When doing a general car wash and cleaning which involves cleaning even the engine, Kaganzi cautions car owners against pouring water on the engine because it damages the electrical parts of the engine. He says the engine is the most sensitive part of the car as it has the power generator – the carburetor and also the computer system for most common cars of today that are heavy on electronics. The engine also has fuse boxes and junction points which all need to be protected from having contact with the water.

Rather, it is advisable for the car cleaners to use compressed air to clean off the dirt off the engine. The bits of dirty oil and dirt can be cleaned using detergent soap. But when doing so, make sure to cover the electrical components with a cloth to avoid contact with water.