Tag Archive | "car cleaning"

Cars vs. Nature

Looking out of the window at my car I have noticed how dirty it is. I only washed it the other day. Or to be more precise a bloke at the supermarket washed it, but all it needs is to be stuck behind a lorry on a dirty, wet road and all that good work is undone.

For most people cleaning the motor is a necessary chore if for no other reason than to help retain value. Some people really like doing it and some are even obsessive about it, but everybody, once the job is done, likes to stand back and admire their handiwork. There are few things more pleasing than a nice clean car.

The trouble is – it’s a never-ending task because car bodywork is constantly under attack. Scratches and minor dents are an ongoing concern and the car owner neglects them at their peril. A deep scratch could go down through the paint and the primer and reach bare metal. Give our British weather half a chance and find out how corrosion begins. There are plenty of suitable products on the market that make these little jobs straightforward or, if it’s too much, there’s an army of mobile specialists willing to come to the house.

Our feathered friends are another menace. Everybody like birds and birdsong but few people can tolerate great dollops of dung on the paintwork. Sometimes it is easy to believe that a full grown albatross with a fondness for curry must have flown overhead, such is the mess. It isn’t just unsightly, it is also acidic. It eats into the paint. Look at any city centre statue for the evidence. Clean off that guano as soon as possible – there are products and wipes available. Remember also that birds eat seeds which could make the mess abrasive, so wipe with care. I know you think you’re doing them a favour with the bird-feeders but all you are really doing is providing ammunition.

There’s nothing like a pleasant drive out during the summer. The roads are clear, the sun is shining and, sadly, many bugs are flying straight into the front of your car: their aim, as they give themselves up to a tonne of rushing metal, is to damage your paintwork in revenge. As a matter of course we clean them of the windscreen but we tend to leave them stuck to the front of the vehicle until the next wash. The result is that, just like the avian doo-doo, their remains are acidic and cause damage to paint. The answer is to carry a bug remover spray and get the worst off until the car can be properly washed.

In that brief period that we amusingly call Summer, it is good to remember that the golden orb fades paint, as anyone with a red motor can attest. A good polish – as opposed to wax – can revive paintwork or in desperate cases there are stronger preparations that can freshen the bodywork and bring the colour back up.

Because of the sun some drivers like to park under trees to make the most of shade. This is not necessarily a good idea. If you remember, birds live in trees. Also, trees emit sap. In ancient times our ancestors used tree sap as glue; imagine then what it does to car paint. Just wiping it will simply spread it out over a bigger area. If it is allowed to dry a proprietary product will be needed. Mineral salts will dissolve it.

Now, as Winter flexes her icy fingers and gets into your bones, the cleaning and repairing car bodywork is just as essential and remember – any work will more than likely clean off your faithfully applied wax which means that car cleaning time has come around again. Such is the circle of life.

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Birds Hate Cars

Remember an old Hitchcock film called The Birds? If not, it concerned the massed ranks of assorted feathered fiends menacing a community. OK, look out of the window. Is your car outside? If so, look around at the trees and buildings and see if any of the avian enemy are lurking nearby, because they cannot be trusted.

Obviously life is not a movie and these birds are probably not going to try and peck your eyes out or pinch your kebab. No. It’s much worse. They are planning to poop on your beloved motor. It’s a fact; and now it appears that the colour of your car may well dictate the extent by which your bodywork is soiled.

Red paintwork is, to a bird, like a red rag to a bull, apparently. They just can’t stand it and owners of such cars are the most likely to complain. Not that other colours fare much better. In order of preference to these winged marauders blue is next, closely followed black, white, silver and grey with green rounding out the most popular hues. Presumably they think that green cars are just grass and they can do that anytime.

Of course, this is just based on motorists’ responses and there is no actual proof as such that birds are that vindictive. It may be that they just like admiring themselves in reflective surfaces or prefer cars that are parked under trees. Whatever, seed-eating birds (and that’s pretty much all of them) deliver grainy poo which is worse than, say, that belonging to meat eating raptors or seagulls.

As if the offence wasn’t enough, leaving their deposits on your precious paintwork can cause damage that could cost money. Bird droppings contain acids but it is the softening effect on paintwork that causes the real problems because moisture mixes in and forms a mould.

The solution is in preventative cleaning and quick action when assaulted. Always make sure you’ve got a goodly coating of wax which helps protect the lacquer layer of your paintwork. A couple of branded wipes designed for the job should be in every glove box – but remember, these will take off not just bird droppings but also protective waxes so replace it ASAP.

If all else fails then a good polish should put the shine back. Car polish almost infinitesimally removes a layer which is why wax is best for everyday shining. As a last resort a stronger product is needed that removes blemishes, swirl marks and surface scratches (one’s that are so light you can’t feel them when a finger is run across). Again, the car must be re-waxed.

Birds are like politicians. They do things we don’t like and they make a mess. Mass destruction is out of the question as old ladies will come to your house and fire-bomb your ride. As with politicians, you’ll just have to live with it.

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