Dear Web Guest:

Keeping with our mission that this reflections section is about anything and everything I have decided to go way out in left field and write about how to keep a great finish on a black [or other dark color] car.

First off, this is a very touchy subject – no pun intended. Many people have different opinions about how to keep their vehicle looking like new, even when climatic conditions are tenuous. The problem is aggravated in the case of a dark-finished vehicle. I have owned a number of black or otherwise dark-finished vehicles over the years. At one time or another, I experienced problems with swirl marks on virtually all of them.

One item high on the list is to avoid any automatic car washes that use brushes or cloths. For one thing, the brushes and cloths must hold up to repeated vehicle washings, so they can be somewhat abrasive to the vehicle’s finish. Although the minor scratches often go unnoticed in the case of light-colored vehicles, this is simply not the case when it comes to dark painted surfaces.

Additionally, debris can collect on the brushes or cloths, causing further damage to the vehicle’s finish. Ask any car aficionado if he or she stops by the local automatic car wash on the way home from a cruising event with his or her vintage corvette. You already know the answer.

Since automatic washers are a no-no then hand washing is the only answer. If you want to shell out $60-$100 there are many professional care care companies that will do it for you. I prefer doing it myself and enjoy all the attendant therapeutic benefits (exercise, fresh air, being outside, satisfaction of a job well done, etc).

A few things I have learned over the years include starting out with a clean wash bucket that is free from any sand, dirt or other debris. Always rinse the bucket when you finish washing the vehicle. You also should get into the habit of rinsing the bucket with plain water before starting to wash the vehicle the next time. This is to remove any dirt or debris that may have found its way into the bucket since the last washing.

As far as the products go, use only car soap not ordinary dishwashing liquid. Wash the vehicle in the shade, if possible. Rinse the various body panels of the vehicle with water to remove dirt and debris before soaping up. A clean wash mitt works best. Use light pressure and scrub as little as possible. Rinse the various sections promptly, before the soap dries on the surface. Use plenty of water.

Finally dry the vehicle with a clean, soft chamois. I prefer to rinse the chamois fully before using it to dry the vehicle. Depending upon the amount of wax on the vehicle, you may need to use the chamois more than one time on a body panel.

When you are done stand back, inspect your work and enjoy that moment of satisfaction when you see your reflection from your labor of love.

Getting back to business I’d love to talk to you about our Accounting Services and can be reached at 770-257-0457. Why don’t you give me a call to see what we can do for you.

Mike Kaufman, CFO
September 25, 2005