Your car looked after you through this winter’s wind, rain, snow and ice. Now it’s time to repay the favour and drag that bucket out of the back of your garage and give your motor the spring clean it deserves.
After an unpredictable winter, the sun is making more of a regular appearance in our skies, with temperatures rising fast. Now that the days are longer and warmer, it’s time to show your car some love.
We gave our long-term Range Rover Evoque a well-deserved wash inside and out, to give you the lowdown on how to restore that showroom shine to your car.
It departs back to Land Rover shortly, so rather than sending it back in a ‘lived-in’ state, we’re giving it a good brush up to return it to a similar state to when it arrived.
Wake up the wheels
We’re starting with the distinctive and difficult to clean 19-inch alloy wheels.
They shouldn’t be hot, so if yours are, hose them down or pour a bucket of water over them to cool then down.
Dodo Juice’s impressive Mello Yellow Wheel Cleaner (£12.95, 550ml); it removed the toughest brake dust after a couple of sprays and a brush, yet it was still kind to the lacquer.
Now on to the curvy bodywork; if you have access to a power wash, use it to blast off the worst of the winter salt and loose muck.
A hose works just as well, but if you don’t have access to either, move straight on to the bucket stage.
Two buckets are better than one
We’re using a two bucket method to wash the Evoque.
One filled with shampoo, the other with water to clean the sponge and keep any grit away from the paintwork.
Always wash from the roof downwards.
Poseidon gives plenty of suds
Valet PRO Poseidon Car Wash (£26.95, 5l), which needs just 10 to 20 millilitres per 5 litres of water, was used on the Evoque’s bodywork and a little goes a long way.
There were plenty of suds and with the use of a sponge it glided on to the paintwork easily, cutting through the dirt with ease.
It gave off a nice aroma too!
Open the doors?
Don’t forget the door shuts!
It might seem odd to open the doors of a wet car, but the result adds to that ‘new car feel’ and should be done at every wash.
Just watch you don’t get any water in the interior.
Plus, make sure you dry them off well afterwards.
Time to dry it off
After rinsing off the suds with the power washer, it’s time to dry the Land Rover.
We’re using a microfibre cloth, but you could also use a chamois.
Don’t forget the windows; glass smears will stand out against any polished bodywork and we’d recommend a good glass polish, or if you don’t have that to hand, screwed up newspaper works very well, too.
Vacuum and duster time
Inside, start by removing any rubbish. We’ve got the vacuum cleaner out to remove dirt and dust from the carpets and mats.
If your carpets are really dirty we’d suggest using a stiff brush to loosen any muck before hoovering.
Attention to detail is key; use a cloth or small paint brush to remove dust from difficult to reach areas and air vents.
It’s Greased Lightning
Greased Lightning, Lovely Leather cleaner (£4.99, 250ml) was sprayed on the seats and other areas of leather trim then worked into the hide.
On top of cleaning the leather, this product conditions it and the surface will feel noticeably softer afterwards.
You also only need a little, so the large 250ml bottle will last for ages.
Polish and beautify
Outside, next steps would be to move on to the claying stage, where we would use a penny-sized piece of clay, along with some rapid detailer to lubricate the surface and remove hidden contaminants, such as tree sap on the paintwork.
However, we reckon the paintwork on our car is clean enough to move straight on to the polishing stage.
We’re using another product here from the new Valet PRO range, the Classic Gloss Protection Wax (250ml £19.99). Despite being a solid wax, it scores points for being surprisingly easy to spread and buff off the paintwork, with a microfibre cloth.
This product took over three years to develop, and it shows, as the shine on the Orkney Grey Evoque with this wax is impressive; it beads well when wet and to cap it all Valet Pro claim it lasts 3 months.
We could have gone further, by polishing again with an extra gloss paint sealant. Dodo Juices’ recently launched Iron Gloss (100ml £19.95) is recommended and should last for up to six months. Great, if you don’t like to wax your car too often.
Cleaning under the bonnet is difficult, but would have been a worthwhile job while we were working on the rest of the Range Rover. If you’re going to clean the engine bay, make sure you cover all electric components with cling film, then carefully apply engine cleaner and agitate any muck with a brush.
Then, after leaving it for a short while, wash the engine compartment carefully down with water. Keep a jet wash away from any electronics to avoid any expensive damage.
Interior all clean and pristine
Although the interior wasn’t too dirty in the first place, with a clean and spruce up, it all adds up to a more enjoyable driving experience.
Okay, it has taken us a couple of hours to get here, with damp feet from the power washer and several buckets of water, our arms are aching too and fingers black with ingrained muck.
The satisfaction of seeing your motor spruced up and stunningly clean is reward enough. Plus, now we’ve put in all this effort, regular cleaning is all that will be needed to keep it continuing to look this good.
So what’s our favourite part of this cleaning mission? It has to be the wheels – the sparkling silver 19-inch alloys have come up a treat, and thanks to all those spokes, it’s always difficult to keep clean.