How to Wash a Car


Sure, washing your car regularly helps keep it looking great, but that’s not all. When they’re done correctly, car washes protect the exterior paint and control imperfections you can’t see, such as tiny scratches. Birdnow Dealerships wants to help Prairie du Chien drivers keep their new Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, Lincoln vehicles looking their best. That’s why we’ve put together the following car washing guide. Learn how to wash a car below!

Plan Ahead 

Does your car need a quick wash or the full package? Usually, new or recently waxed and polished cars need just a wash and wax. If your vehicle has been exposed to the elements for a few months without attention, it’ll likely need more. 

Rinse & Wash 

Before you start washing, rinse your car to remove loose dirt and debris. Use car washing mitts and drying cloths to clean your car’s surface more thoroughly. Once you’ve finished washing the car’s body, clean the windows with an ammonia-free solution that’s intended for use on cars only. Then, switch to a low-strength, acid-free pH balanced aluminum wheel cleaner and clean the wheels and tires. 

Remove Bumps & Apply Compound 

Using a clay bar, gently buff away tree sap and other contaminants attached to your car’s surface. You can also apply compound with a dual-action polisher to smooth tiny scratches beneath the surface. The compound usually needs 2-4 coats. 

Apply Polish (If Needed)

Dual-action polishers work best. The oils in the polish will give your car a sleek, glossy look. You can use an orbital buffer or a soft towel to apply it. Orbital buffers are faster but give you less control over the finished look. Also, if debris comes between the pad and your car while it’s in motion, you can end up scratching your car. 

Wax Your Car

Car wax does more than improve the appearance of your vehicle; it protects the paint from UV rays and helps it retain its sheen. Carnauba and polymer are the two most common types of car wax. Polymer wax costs a bit more than carnauba, however, it doesn’t haze and doesn’t need to set for long periods.

How Often to Wash a Car

How often you should wash your car depends on how you drive. Do you just run errands or are you more adventurous? If you’re traveling from Decorah to West Union for work, for example, aim to wash your car every two weeks and wax it every six months. If you’re taking your [VEHICLE NAME] off the beaten path for off-roading adventures, clean it as soon as you can afterward. 

How to Wash a Car: Tips

  • Cleaning Supplies: Instead of hand soap, dishwashing soap, or household glass cleaner, use solutions that are designed to protect your car’s paint. Use a natural sponge or wool mitt to wash. 
  • Washing: Lather up your car with soap and clean the sponge with fresh water as you wash the car body, windows, tires, and wheels. 
  • Drying: Don’t air-dry your car, as this can cause swirl marks. Use a chamois or terry towel to hand-dry the surface. 

Get More Car Care Tips from Birdnow Dealerships! 

Do you have additional questions about how to wash a car properly? Birdnow Dealerships in Oelwein is happy to assist! In addition to great car-washing tips, our service department can provide certified auto care for your Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, Lincoln. While you’re here, take a moment to browse our current service specials!

More from Birdnow Dealerships

  • 2021 Chevy Silverado Special Editions

      Are you looking for a new pickup truck that is truly unique and will turn the heads of Oelwein drivers? Whatever truck you’ve been dreaming of, there is a Special Edition Chevrolet Silverado for you. Learn more about the 2021 Silverado Special Edition models here, and then head into Birdnow Dealerships for a test drive…

  • What is the 2021 Chevy Equinox Gas Mileage?

      Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly SUV or an adventure-ready dynamo, the Chevy Equinox is ready for anything on your schedule. And thanks to the terrific 2021 Chevy Equinox gas mileage, you can take the scenic route without worrying about fueling costs. The latest model generates an impressive 26 city/31 highway MPG, along with…

  • What is the 2020 Ford Edge Towing Capacity?

      Are you curious about the new Ford Edge towing capabilities? The 2020 Ford Edge offers a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds to help you with family vacations and light towing jobs. Thanks to its impressive cargo features, you can take your camper or outdoor gear along for your Prairie du Chien adventures without sacrificing convenience…

Saved Vehicles


You don't have any saved vehicles!

Look for this link on your favorites:


Once you've saved some vehicles, you can view them here at any time.

Contact Us


Call Now

1440 S Frederick Ave • Oelwein, IA 50662

Get Directions
Birdnow Dealerships 42.6588181, -91.9144935.