Part of owning a car is the maintenance. This entails washing or cleaning the vehicle to minimize the likelihood of worn-off paint, rust and scratches.

People, however, become get busy. They’re unable to treat their car with a good wash or even bring their vehicle to a service center near their area. If you see your car covered in dirt or dust, there are some things that you shouldn’t do to this expensive asset.

When your vehicle isn’t clean, refrain from doing the following:

1. Cleaning the Car Using Only Water

You’ll need more than water to thoroughly get rid of the debris and make your car look new again. You have to use the right materials to properly wash your vehicle.

If you don’t have the basic skills and knowledge to clean your car, take your vehicle to a car wash center. This facility has technicians who can effectively eliminate the debris on your vehicle exterior. They’ll use state-of-the-art cleaning equipment, such as a self-contained wash bay, to remove the dirt on your auto.

2. Writing on Dirty or Dusty Car Windows and Panels

One of the things that people do whenever they come across a dusty car parked along the street is to run their fingers on the filthy exterior. They would also sometimes run their hands giddily along the trunk or the hood just for fun.

As tempting as this may sound, you’re not supposed to do this to your car – or on anybody else’s vehicle. First of all, you’ll get your digits and hands dirty. Second, this can negatively affect the clear coating of your vehicle.

What’s worse, you can scratch your car or chip off some paint if you run your digits with long and pointy fingernails. A scratched auto can be a nightmare. If you’re renting a car, for instance, you’ll be liable for any insurance excess in line with the rental agreement.

3. Moving the Sponge in Circles

Wax on. Wax off. Breathe in. Breathe out. Although these pieces of advice from Mr. Miyagi are valuable to the Karate Kid, you shouldn’t do this when washing and cleaning your car.

Using circular motions to clean your vehicle will result in noticeable swirl marks on your exterior. Instead of rubbing your car in a circle like what the Karate Kid did in the movie, do the old-fashioned back-and-forth motion.

4. Using Household Cleaning Liquids to Wash Your Car

The liquid dish soap you have in your kitchen may be effective in knocking out stains on the plates, but they’re not great at cleaning your car. As a matter of fact, using household cleaning products on your vehicle may do more harm than good. The ingredients or chemical formulas present in cleaning liquids could damage your car paint.

So make sure that you use car wash products that will keep your paint intact.

5. Wiping Your Car with a Rag or a Shirt

If you plan to clean your vehicle, you shouldn’t simply grab an old shirt or a used rag to wipe your entire car. Even if this is convenient and free, you could end up scratching your exterior.

The best tool for wiping your car, therefore, is a clean, microfiber cloth, which you can easily buy in stores. This product will temporarily make your vehicle exterior clean.

6. Allowing Your Car to Air Dry

If you’re going to clean your car on a hot, summer day, you may be tempted to leave your car out to dry after a good washing. Air drying your vehicle, however, is not advisable.

Here’s why: water contains natural minerals that do not evaporate during an air-drying session. Although the liquid will eventually vanish, it will leave unsightly deposits, streaks or spots that will make your auto look worse than it did before you washed it.

These deposits could also harm the paint job of your car. Some water compounds left behind on your car exterior can degrade the paint quality over time. You’re unlikely to begin seeing damages immediately after just one car wash. A lifetime of air drying, however, could leave behind calcium and other minerals that will ruin the surface of your auto.

So don’t be lazy in drying your car. As soon as you finish washing it, spend a few minutes drying your vehicle. Use a clean microfiber cloth to get the job done.

7. Forcing to Lift the Windshield Wiper

Sometimes, the dust and other debris can reach your windshield wiper. If this is the case with your vehicle, avoid forcefully lifting your wipers to get them clean. They may break, which can force you to shell out cash to get a replacement.

Remember that your car is a prized possession. Treat your vehicle with respect by washing and cleaning it properly.