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Dear Start My Car,
With the end of this week being a holiday, I wanted to send you the newsletter a little earlier. I hope that the Lockdown is treating you kindly. It is not without its challenges for anyone and my thoughts are with you and your families at this time.
We have been busy at Start My Car. Although we are all working remotely, we have taken this time to add products and features to the site. Please would do me a favour and have a look at the site and let us have feedback. As you know, we are constantly working to provide a better service to you. Please also remember that you can place orders which will be delivered the moment we are able to. Orders will be delivered on a 1st order in basis, so the sooner that you do that, the better.
I have again included an article written by a friend, Howard Feldman. He, like the rest of us is dealing with the Lockdown. His is a lighthearted look at the situation.
Be safe and be healthy,
As we head towards the two-week “Lockdown” mark, I am starting to become increasingly concerned: I am still yet to complete half the iron man on my patio, have not read even a single page of War and Peace, and have only managed to upgrade my Zoom skills to being able to click on an invitation link and to hit the mute button at the appropriate times.
I have also not learned to write code and suspect that even if the lockdown were to be extended to August 2021, it is unlikely that I would have achieved this.
Contrary to global Lockdown rules (posted repeatedly to Facebook), I have successfully managed to avoid spending extra time with my children. We are no more “connected” than we were 10 days ago. And I am yet to discover anything delightful about them that I had not known prior to being locked in a house with them. I don’t have a singly anecdote that I can tweet about and find them just as I always did. Although I am slightly shocked (read: appalled) at how much teenage boys are capable of eating.
I am also at risk for becoming a diabetic alcoholic who will need to be removed from the house facilitated by a portable crane. They will need to block off the road and divert traffic, assuming the lockdown will be over, and that that cars are once again allowed to drive without a permit.
Past Sunday, a bunch of people that I know ran marathon around their driveways, swam Midmars in their plunge pools and completed Ironman’s on Instagram. All before I had finished brunch. It was embarrassing and made me contemplate some of my own life choices. In response, I have resolved that next week to have breakfast earlier so that I don’t find myself in this type of embarrassing position again. It might not be easy, but very little that is worthwhile, comes without a struggle.
This is not to say that I hadn’t planned it differently. My bookshelf is bursting with books I mean to read, my exercise equipment (read: Google videos) lies waiting, shimmering in anticipation and my Nutribullet, still in the wrapper, eyes me with genuine disappointment. Thankfully my children seem relieved that I have not focused on them and my sense is that if they are able to exit the lockdown without having spent too much time bonding with me, they will have considered the experience a success.
With all this, lockdown is not without complexity. It might be less of a challenge for some because of a larger and more pleasant physical environment, it might be easier for others with job security and still more manageable for those who are fond of their fellow “inmates.” But none of us are designed to live in one space, with the same people for weeks on end. None of us are above the anxiety that accompanies a failing economy and an uncertain future and few of us will be able to snugly put the worry of a circling and often deadly virus away without impact.
These are scary and uncertain times. And that means that although we might want to write the next bestselling novel, lose 10kg and grow back our hair, the reality is that if we get through this with our sanity, our family and relationships intact, then we have something to pat ourselves on the back about. That is if we have been doing our stretches and are able to manage that without hurting ourselves.
Last week, we spoke about the 5 steps to giving your car the valet. In this weeks article, we look at specific areas of your car and how best to care for them. We also look at what products to use and which to avoid.
Detecting surface defects and contaminants
Your eyes will pick up most defects, especially if you view the car at varying angles and in different lights, such as natural sunlight, fluorescent and any other artificial lights. A magnifying glass will come in handy, but keep in mind that a visual inspection will sometimes give a false impression.
Your hands, and especially your fingers, are very sensitive. After you wash and dry the car, wash and dry your hands as well. Feel the top surfaces of the car with the insides of your hands, allowing the fingertips to tell you the condition of the paint finish. The paint should feel as smooth as glass, and if it doesn't, the surface needs further maintenance.
Before you use any of the following car care products, read the instructions carefully and follow them. Use appropriate eye and skin protection if required.
• Always use the least aggressive method or product available.
• Work one section at a time, and work evenly, letting the product do the work.
• If you're not satisfied with the results, try more than one application.
• Use separate 100 per cent cotton microfibre cloth towels to wipe off paint cleaners, as these create the most mess.
Waxes and polishes
• Apply uniform coats. Two thin coats are better than one thick coat.
• In winter, apply two coats to the lower panels that pick up most of the dirt. Apply two coats to the top surfaces, which get most of the sun, in summer.
• Use microfibre cloth to remove the wax. When the wax is wiped off, use a detailer to remove any remaining streaks.
• Be careful around mouldings. Tape off if necessary.
• An orbital or dual action polisher will ease the task.
• Allow sufficient time for the wax to settle before removing.
• Apply the squeak test to determine if re-waxing is needed. To do this, roll a clean dry microfibre cloth into a wad, and rub it on the clean upper surface of the car. If it squeaks, its time to apply another coat of wax.
• Always apply on a cool surface, and only use microfibre cloth.
• When the detailer becomes slow to wipe off, it's a sign that re-waxing is needed.
• Check the tyre pressure before you start.
• Begin by cleaning the tyres thoroughly.
• Be careful not to overspray onto the rims, because some products can stain them.
• Protect the whitewalls or letters when applying the dressing.
• Some wheel alloys can be damaged by certain wheel cleaners. Read the instructions and ask the dealer's advice before buying a cleaner.
• The wheel must be cool to prevent staining.
• Check for staining by spot testing any cleaner on the inside of the wheel before applying.
• The safest way to remove brake dust is to use a less aggressive cleaner and a wheel brush, or toothbrush.
• Be aware that plastic centre caps on wheels can react with some cleaners.
• Always spray from the bottom up to prevent staining.
• Do not apply a wheel dressing to tyres, because it may cause a stain.
Cleaning the interior
• Use specific products for specific applications. This means leather cleaner for leather, vinyl cleaner for vinyl, and so on.
• Cotton buds or small brushes work fine on vents.
• Do not apply any dressing to the steering wheel or pedals.
• Apply vinyl/leather cleaner to a towel, and then wipe the surface. Do NOT apply/spray directly onto the surface.
• Use a good all-purpose cleaner on fabrics and carpets. Be careful when reaching under seats to clean them as you may dislodge wires or hurt your hands on sharp objects.
• Do not over-saturate carpets or upholstery, because they dry very slowly, especially the foam seat pads.
• When you've finished the interior, leave the doors open so that the carpets and seat coverings can dry.
Chrome, rubber and plastics
• Glass cleaner works well on chrome.
• Pre-clean rubber and plastic before dressing it.
• Use an all-purpose cleaner and brush to remove any wax build-up.
• Do not use a window cleaner on instrument panel plastics.
• Keep a supply of odd-shaped brushes. They come in very handy for cleaning awkward corners.
• Keep wash materials, such as foam pads and cloths, clean and stored in a place where they can't collect dust.
• Rinse buckets thoroughly before using them.
• Wear an apron, because it will keep buttons and buckles away from the car, and some of them have handy pockets.
• Use safety glasses and gloves when working with dangerous chemicals such as de-greasers and wheel cleaners.
Start My Car Recommended products Shield Autoglass Cleaner,
• The best way to quickly demist a windscreen is to use the heater with the blower fan. When it is clear, switch to cold air, to keep it clear. Do not use the recirculate setting because that will allow water vapour to build up in the car.
• The windscreen and other glass can be cleaned with soap and water, but if there are spots that will not come off, then they're most likely oily or greasy. Such spots should be rubbed with methylated spirits diluted 1:1 with water. Another way is to buy a special windscreen wash. It can either be used in its undiluted form where contamination is stubborn, or added to your windscreen washer reservoir.
• Never use ammoniated windscreen cleaner on tinted windows.
• Carefully scrape off old decals before cleaning glass.
• Wipe in one direction for interior surfaces, and in the opposite direction for the exterior surfaces. This makes it easier to see the streaks.
• Use one towel for an initial wipe and another for the final wipe.
• It is not safe to drive with a cracked windscreen, because modern windscreens are designed to be a stress-bearing member of the body. A cracked windscreen will not provide the structural integrity your car's original design called for. It is also not safe to repair such a windscreen, because the repair will not restore the windscreen's strength.
• Chips in the windscreen may be repaired as long as they have not developed into cracks, and are not in the driver's field of direct vision. They should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent them from turning into cracks, and the repair should be done by a reputable fitment centre, because they are likely to have received the proper training. Do not go to the nearest roadside "repairer".
• Pitting is an inevitable consequence of driving and can never be entirely avoided. It occurs when your vehicle travels through an area where sand or other hard particles have been made airborne by the wind, and collide with your windscreen at high speed leaving microscopic pit marks. The only answer is to replace the windscreen, but make sure that the job is done by a quality replacement centre.
• Windscreen wipers often cause scratches due to the rubber being worn away, exposing the glass to the bare metal of the wiper. Using wipers on a dry windscreen and allowing dirt to collect on the wiper blades also cause scratches. The only way to prevent this is to replace or clean the wipers on a regular basis. It is not advisable to attempt to remove the scratch marks on windscreens because this tends to remove material from the windscreen, resulting in distorted vision.
These are just a few of the extensive range of cleaning and care products that is readily available on Start My Car. Have a look at our website and feel free to contact us for any further info regarding our products.
Stay Safe !
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