Why You Need a Pre-Wash
The most often overlooked stage of a car wash is the pre-rinse and pre-wash process. It might seem unnecessary to take the time to wash and rinse a vehicle you already planned on washing in the first place, but this stage is important in making sure your car’s exterior doesn’t undergo further damages.
The Pre-Rinse Stage
Dirt, silt, and other pieces of debris get kicked up from roadways and paths to cover many different parts of a car’s exterior. A car wash is the fastest way to get rid of this dirt, but you can’t just start scrubbing and expect a perfect shine.
If you allow the dirt to remain during the wash cycle, you could risk scratching or scraping at the paint. Even the smallest dirt particles have rough texture, and when you jump right into the car wash, you might end up rubbing these dirt particles directly into the paint. Making this a regular practice is even worse, since you’re essentially becoming a part of car’s regular wear and tear—a kind of human erosion that’s 100 percent preventable.
The pre-rinse is your chance to dislodge the dirt and debris in all your car’s hidden nooks and crannies. By starting at the top and working your way carefully down, you can spray away the worst offenders. This will prevent you from getting dirt caught in the washing mitt or brush later and only making the scraping worse.
The Pre-Wash Stage
Once you have everything rinsed away, it’s time for the pre-wash stage. Once again, the point here is not to put a perfect finish on your car, but to provide a safe and clean foundation for the rest of your wash. This is especially important if you want to avoid those unsightly swirls that sometimes get left behind and appear once you drive your car out into the sun.
The pre-wash allows you to get rid of deep grime, bug splatter, and other sticky substances (like tar or tree sap) that need a little extra time to dissolve. By loosening them up ahead of time, you can avoid them coming off during your wash cycle, when they can rub against your paint and leave watermarks and swirls behind.
The areas where pre-wash matter the most are the front of your car (where bugs collect), your tire wells, and the lower half of the body (where dirt kicks up). Pay special attention to these areas during your pre-wash to get the most out of this stage.
Perform Your Regular Clean
Overall, doing a pre-rinse and pre-wash cycle is a lot like brushing your teeth before you go to the dentist. By giving yourself a clean, blank canvas to work with, you can avoid additional damage and missing areas that are buried under dirt, debris, and bugs.