Still have salt from last winter on that filthy set of wheels of yours? It may be time to take some notes from Sterling Bud Kassoff, who's been washing cars at his full-service Mr. Magic Car Wash & Detail Center on Carnegie and East 36th Street for 42 years.
It's not just you. Kassoff says there's a culture of dirty cars in Ohio. "You go to places like California and people there wash their cars sometimes twice a week," he says. "Cars going into a California car wash sometimes look better than cars coming out of an Ohio car wash," he adds with a laugh.
Ready to reform?
Start by parking your car in the shade, hosing it down and cleaning it with car shampoo (found at automotive stores). The best scrubbing device is an ordinary bath towel "as long as it's damp," stresses Kassoff. "Just wet the towel in the soapy bucket and go to town." A towel should also be used to soak up excess moisture when washing is complete.
Twice a year, finish the perfect wash with a clear-coat sealer rather than wax. Kassoff says that while wax can be used over the sealer, it's not necessary.
Drink coffee or eat fast food in your car? Tote cracker-munching kids in the back seat? If so, your interior will need a good cleaning, too. Vacuum your floors, upholstered seats and your trunk and use glass cleaner on your windows.
The No. 1 mistake people make is not reading the labels of their cleaning products. This can be result in a damaged interior. "A lot of leathers are dyed and if you use the wrong product, it can pull the color right off," says Kassoff, who suggests products by Blue Coral or Meguiar's.
But perhaps the best advice is to use caution. Don't put gas for your mower in the backseat. Kassoff's seen it happen too many times: the fast corner and the subsequent spill. "It'll take six months to get the smell out of the car," he notes. Milk, too, is another terrible thing, he says. Unless you like "that sour smell."
Finally, Kassoff warns car owners of the harmful effects of the sun all year round. "The sun does more damage to cars than salt or snow, even in the harsh winter weather we have here."