Rainy Season Starts - What to do to protect car?
I've received a couple of PMs regarding this and I thought about making a thread about this.
Of course, this is assuming that the car has no covered storage, otherwise, maintenance wouldn't be that difficult.
I'll start off with the "detailing" side of things that you can do and mix it up with some common-sense things that you can do as well to help the process.
Understand that these are not fool-proof solutions but are merely "lesser of evils" solutions that has worked well for me for over a decade... Works for any exterior hard surfaces.
If you have additional ideas, feel free to add.
Typical Manila weather of being sunny and warm in the morning, heavy downpour in afternoons and hot weather again until nightfall.
First things first.
It's quite basic, this applies to EVERYTHING that gets dirty, doesn't it? I wonder why people don't treat their expensive cars the same way.
You wash yourself more often if you sweat or get dirty more often, right? Why are people not cleaning the car if it's raining often?
The justification of "bah, it'll get dirty again" is rather silly and short-sighted.
Will you stop taking care of yourself since you'll die anyway?
Cleaning the car often prevents contaminants, dirt, and residues from permeating the paint causing damage that requires drastic restoration.
Also, if you clean the car, always use a good car shampoo. Washing the car without any form of lubricating surfactant will just scratch your paint since there's no buffer between the dirt you are scrubbing and the soft paint.
Again, logic comes into play here. Have you ever washed your dirty hands without soap? Doesn't work very well, does it?
Get your car protected by a wax or sealant.
It really doesn't matter whether you use the most expensive stuff or off-the-shelf cheapo stuff, as long as you have a protective, sacrificial layer on top of the paint.
Better brands and products will protect better and last longer while cheap stuff won't. But at the end of the day, even the worse of waxes can last at least 2-5 days of torture.
In general, polymers and acrylics are much less affected by heat and moisture.
Protect Flat Surfaces More
Water pools on flat surfaces more than vertical surfaces, nothing new here. The hood, roof, trunk (if available) will pool water blobs more than the doors, fenders and quarterpanels.
These flat surfaces also will absorb more direct heat when the sun is out therefore contributing to rapid water evaporation, causing water to spot and acid etches to form.
So as much as you can, wax the flat panels more often than the vertical if all you're after is surface protection.
Nobody ever said that you NEED to wax the whole car every session.
The hood receives double heat source (engine and sun) so expect wax to wear off sooner on this surface.
Neutralize acidity immediately
If you have just arrived home and it just rained, you'd need to neutralize the acidity of rain water as soon as possible by hosing down the car if you don't plan to wash the car.
NOTE: If you live in a place where water is especially hard and leaves a lot of residue, this is counter-productive, wash the car with shampoo and dry it.
As mentioned above, flat surfaces has the tendency to pool liquids and slow evaporation allows the acids and contaminants to slowly damage the paint.
Large water droplets also act as a magnifying glass when the sun hits it causing the paint to burn quicker on that spot (hence the etch).
Reduce this phenomenon by simply leaving the hood and trunk open for several minutes (assuming you have a somewhat covered parking or if it has stopped raining) to allow water to drip off and the heat from the engine bay to escape. This also prevents sunlight from hitting the panels directly.
(This also helps prevent animals from seeking warmth and shelter in your engine bay hehe)
I personally do this after I wash my car as well (before when I still had means to wash my car, ngayon wala na akong garage and hose kasi), after washing the car, I open all doors and trunk to let water drip off by itself and I end up having less water to dry off.
If you have a smooth paint (if you've seen my old Corolla, you'll get the drift), utilize the hose-drying technique, you'll end up with less than a cup of water or so to dry off from the body panels hehe.
Clean the wheels often
Brake dust + water + days of non-cleaning = corrosion of wheels.
I'll add if I think of anything else.
Hope this is helpful for y'all
- Dave of Big Bert's Professional Detailers