Washing your car might seem like a simple task. Just get the dirt off and you are done. How hard can that be? But it’s a lot more complicated than that.
One question that often comes up is whether or not a pre-wash is worth it for cars. The answer is, yes! A pre-wash can be highly beneficial for keeping your car’s paint protected and maintaining its shine.
Have you ever noticed that brand-new cars look amazing and that most cars lose that perfect shine very quickly? Well, you can keep that new car shining for a lot longer if you use a pre-wash.
What is a Pre-Wash?
If you want to safely wash your black car without scratching it, a pre-wash is the first step in the safe car washing process. It involves rinsing the car with water, chemicals, or snow foam and removing any loose dirt, grime, and debris that might scratch the surface of the vehicle during the main wash. This step is important because it helps to prevent damage to the paint and ensure that the main wash is as effective as possible.
Why is a Pre-Wash Important?
When you drive your car, it accumulates dirt on its surface. This debris can contain rocks, gravel, and other hard particles that can scratch the paint if they’re not removed before the main wash. It’s like washing your car with sandpaper. A pre-wash helps to remove these particles and keep the paint protected.
What are the Best Methods for Pre-Washing a Car?
There are several methods for pre-washing a car, including using a foam gun, a pressure washer, or a bucket and a hose. It is recommended to use a gentle pre-wash method, such as a foam gun or a pressure washer, to avoid damaging the car’s finish. If you opt for a pressure washer, be sure to use the right setting and keep the nozzle at least a few feet away from the surface of the car to avoid causing damage.
Which pre-wash method do I use?
I use a pressure washer and foam cannon to pre-wash my car. I sometimes apply bug remover to the front bumper or brake dust remover to the wheels before applying the foam. Once the foam has had 5 to 10 minutes to dwell on the paint, I remove it with a pressure washer. The foam will have dissolved the dirt and grime making it much easier to remove with the pressure washer. I then continue the contact wash as normal.
Reasons NOT to do a pre-wash
If you already have scratched and faded paint it’s probably not worth going to the trouble.
Snow Foam: Alkaline snow foams are getting more popular for use as a pre-wash. I used to think that having a high PH level would cause wax and sealant to break down, but tests have shown that this is not the case.
Bilt Hamber Touchless and Bilt Hamber Auto-Foam are probably the most famous pre-wash
snow foams. They have a Ph level of between 12 and 13. Try not to let these high ph products dry on your paint as they can stain. That’s less of a problem with ph-neutral soaps.
Koch Chemie GSF is a pH-neutral pre-wash snow foam. You can add Koch Kemie Green Star APC to the solution to boost the ph level and cleaning power. Koch Chemie GSF can also be used as a main wash shampoo. It feels super slick so great for black cars.
Carpro Lift is another pre-wash snow foam. It’s recommended for use if you have a ceramic coating. But it’s a great product for any car. It has some very positive reviews. It is extremely concentrated so you only use a very small amount in your foam cannon.
APC. An all-purpose cleaner can be applied with a trigger spray bottle or pump sprayer. Some are applied with a foam cannon. This is the old way of doing things but it’s still effective. An APC is more likely to break down wax and sealant. So don’t use it if you’re trying to protect an existing coating. But if you are detailing a car that hasn’t had a coat of wax in a while this is a great way to get rid of dirt without using too much elbow grease.
Citrus pre-wash. Some citrus pre-wash products are actually types of APCs. So the same advice applies. Follow the instructions for whatever product you chose carefully and make sure you use the correct dilution ratio.
Traffic Film Remover: These products are similar to APCs but can be bought pre-diluted.
If you want to keep your car looking good a pre-wash is definitely worth it. Use a pressure washer and some snow foam and blast most of that dirt off before you continue with the two-bucket method.