How To Wash Your Classic Car?


Along with the high cost, classic cars come with deep sentiments attached to them. For a few people, they are a symbol of nostalgia and good times, while others keep and protect it for the love of the machine. Hence, everything about classic cars is a big deal. Be it, maintenance, repairs or even something as basic as washing. 

Classic cars need that extra bit of care and attention. The washing mechanism for such cars is slightly different from other cars and involves a lot of consideration.

Here’s how you should wash your classic car the right way:

Classic Car Wash Tips

1. Hand wash your car 

The biggest issue with machine wash is that it fails to reach all the crucial spots and often leaves some parts wet. This, in turn, leads to corrosion.

You could neglect this if you have a new car, but classic cars are highly susceptible to corrosion. So you best be careful. Moreover, considering the financial baggage that they carry, they should absolutely not be left with a machine washer.

Pro Tip: There are over 5 types of classic car restorations. So if you’re planning for one anytime soon, this guide will help you with that! 

2. Use the right kit

Avoid sponge and abrasives at all costs. They leave scratches on the surface and if you’re lucky enough to have the original paint on your classic car, it can be damaged within a couple of such washes. Use microfibre cloths instead.

But use separate microfiber cloths for different car components. For instance, you can use a single cloth for the wheel and undercarriage but a different one for the glass. 

The dust settled on a single cloth will scratch and spread the dirt. And, you’ll end up scratching the surface more than actually cleaning it.

Pro Tip: Here’s how you can protect your car paint!

3. Start from the top

This step has nothing to do with the car. Starting from the top is the fundamental practice of washing any material or a machine as it obeys the law of gravity.

Starting from the bottom will involve multiple washing sessions as the newly washed top surface will thrust and enforce dirt towards the bottom.

Before starting with your hand wash, make sure your vehicle is prewashed. A prewash usually involves pressure wash. This lite washing mechanism removes loose dirt and helps you reduce the possibility of scratching your car. 

Pro Tip: Sometimes, even after all the precautions, your car might get a few scratches here and there. But that can be resolved. All you need to do is follow these steps. These 4 simple steps to remove scratches can save you thousands of dollars!

4. Clean the wheels in the end

Since wheels have tons of accumulated dust and grease, they are often the dirtiest components of a vehicle. No surprise! Hence, after cleaning all other parts, they should be taken care of with a separate microfiber cloth.

Pro Tip: You may need to use a pressure washer a couple of times to get rid of all the accumulated dirt.

5. Clean the inside of the car

After you’re done cleaning the outside surface, get to the most crucial components of the car - the inside!

Start with the glass material - Use a specialized glass cleaner for this purpose, microfibre cloths are not much effective on these glass surfaces.

Clean the carpet and leather materials - After cleaning the glass, get rid of all the dirt and dust from the carpet and leather materials. They have the most germs.

Remove stain from fabrics - Use a combination of vacuum cleaner and car fabric cleaner to get the job done.

Clean the rest of the cabinet - Now, you can get the rest of the cabinet cleaned with ease. Here, you can use soap and detergent water to clean. They do not harm the polyurethane materials. Also, they can be quite effective and easy to use.

Things To Avoid With Classic Car Wash

1. Sunlight

Washing a car in direct sunlight increases the evaporation rate. This will lead to corrosion and fading of the car paint.

And if you have original paint on your classic car by any chances, then you do not want to take any risk. So, always wash your car in a shade or in the night. 

2. Using regular/dishwashing soap/liquid

Along with creating scratched and swirls, regular dishwashing soaps give a dull effect to car paint. They also create unusual circular spots that often degrades the look and feel of the vehicle.

Hence, they should be avoided at all costs.

3. Using strong chemicals

Strong chemicals carry the same risks as soap. And on top of that, their strong chemical properties can also expose the metal surface of the car by completely removing the car paint. Although these harsh chemicals remove the stain and dirt easily, they do much more damage to the car than a naked eye can perceive.

4. Using One Bucket

Using a single bucket creates a high chance of scratching on the surface with the dirt accumulated in the bucket.

So, it is recommended to use the 2 bucket method. One for rinsing and the other for cleaning. This will help you avoid dirt from getting accumulated in the bucket.

5. Drip dry

Drip dry creates an imperfect drying state. So, if left in sunlight, the varying chemical compositions of the minerals can leave fragmented spots. 

Thus a soft microfiber towel should be used to dry the car off. Otherwise, a small spot can make the entire car washing process a big failure.

Need Expert Solutions?

A&G Customs has been widely known for its disciplined automotive repair in Doylestown, PA. Whether you need towing, maintenance & repairs services or a classic car restoration and wash, we do it all.

Just call us at 215 669 3072 and we’ll take care of all the automotive repair issues for your classic, antique or vintage car.