You know how the government hates us? We, the great, unwashed populace are seen as just a nuisance, getting in the way of the smooth running of the country with our incessant demands for fairness, equality, decent roads, a proper day’s pay for a day’s work, world peace and that sort of thing. They don’t care for us. Well, unfortunately the news gets worse because nature hates us too; so, just out of spite, all year round it attacks our vehicles which means more grinding work for us. This is why car care is so important.
For most people cleaning the car is a necessary chore if for no other reason than to help retain the all-important resale value. Some people apparently 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, as mentioned, 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 learn the hard way how corrosion begins, galvanising notwithstanding.
Fortunately there are plenty of suitable products on the market that make these little jobs straightforward or, if it’s too much and you can afford it, 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, dyspeptic, vindaloo-mad albatross must have passed 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. Who’d be a dead dignitary? Clean off that glutinous 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 brighter, drier months. The roads are clear, the sun is shining – sometimes – and, sadly, many bugs are flying straight into the front of your car. Their sole aim, as they give themselves up to a tonne or so of rushing metal, is to damage your paintwork out of spite.
As a matter of course we clean them off 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 larger area. If it is allowed to dry a proprietary product will be needed. Mineral salts will dissolve it.
Right now, as the last of Winter digs her icy fingers into your bones and nether regions, the cleaning and repairing of car bodywork is just as essential and remember – any work will more than likely clean off your faithfully applied pre-winter wax which means that car care time has come around again. It’s like living with government. The pain is never ending. Geoff Maxted