Your ride rolls out clean and shiny, as the sun shines onto the paint job drying what’s left of the moisture. Clean chrome bits glimmer to a sparkly shine and mirrors reflect at its very best. As you pull away, you imagine bystanders whispering to others – is this a new car? How does he do it? If the car’s that clean, what’s the owner like? You revel in those self-fantasies and drive yourself to a cendol outlet to cool off all that steam. Car is parked, locked and you coolly walk across the street to relish your dessert.
You slurp the cendol to the last green noodle, relieved of thirst and head back to your car – from afar, you notice something is amiss. There appears to be something which isn’t the color of your paint, and it’s on your shiny, newly washed ride. You haphazardly sprint over, dodging cars and bikes, to find out those birds are at it again – leaving white drippy splotches on the surface. You cringe, and swear vengeance to those winged critters who wronged you; there will be no rest, for they will pay the price, blood for blood.
Exempting the vengeance part, the above situation pretty much applies to each Malaysian who owns a car. Most drivers give up at the thought of an uphill battle; there’s so much that can get a car dirty and the effort of getting a car decently clean never seems to be worth it. As for myself, my car is personally washed, cleaned and maintained to my own standards, and while it is certainly difficult to uphold those standards it is at times necessary for some shortcuts to be made. Below are my top 5 quick and simple tips I’ve learnt throughout the journey.
#1 Tissues are handy for cars too
Tissue rolls can do more than just those emergency trips to the public toilet – it can be used to clean up bird poo as well. If the poo is still moist, dampen the tissue with your sprayer and wipe off the mess. If it has dried, lay two or more layers of tissue covering the dropping and saturate the tissue with water. Allow 2-3 minutes to moisten the droppings, then finally wipe it away with more tissue.
#2 Avoid using the wipers
This might be tricky, risky even but how the problem begins is that dirt accumulates at the blades when your wipers are set at their horizontal positions. Dirt, bits of tree and bird are swept across your windscreen, scratching and smearing the glass surface as you flick the wiper switch without a second thought. I would suggest not to use them during light drizzles or rain unless your vision of the road is severely impaired. However, it is fine to use them while being in a heavy downpour as the rainwater will have dislodged the dirt (and you will probably need to use them in such a situation).
#3 In the middle of it all
After a 3 hour cleaning ritual you set out to drive off to fetch your date but before you do so, the skies cackle and rain starts to pour. What do you do? Just wait. Rain, as it first begins is much more dirtier than the rain after a period of time as it initially gets into contact with dust and particles in the air. However, after an extended downpour the rain is much cleaner after a while due to – yes you guessed right – cleaner air. So when it happens, run back in and wait it out for bit to not waste that 3 hour effort – and be sure to give your date a good excuse.
#4. Let it flow
You hurriedly drive back home, to bring your vehicle to the safety of your roofed car porch as the dark grey clouds start to roll in. Alas, some other driver who doesn’t care about their car impedes your way and you get caught in the dirtiest of rain. To avoid those dust rings and watermarks, simply get a 1.5 liter bottle filled with clean water and pour it over the car to let the rainwater (and dirt contained in it) flow off the paint. After all, less watermarks are better than more watermarks.
#5 Hit the gas, slam the brakes
This tip has some science backing to it – if you have just turned into an mall’s parking lot to escape the storm, take advantage of Newton’s First Law for your own benefit and do some rapid acceleration and braking to ‘shake’ off the rainwater still clinging on to your car. Be absolutely sure that the coast is clear and do not scare or harm any pedestrians in the process!
Cheers to a clean ride!