Auto Repair For Dummies, 2nd Edition
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You can get your car windows crystal clear and your mirrors and chrome sparklingly reflective without a lot of extra hassle. Because they have characteristics that the rest of the car's body doesn't — namely transparency and reflectiveness — the soap you use on the rest of the car isn't going to cut if you want invisible windows, gleaming mirrors, and sparkling chrome.

Keep the following in mind when cleaning windows and mirrors:
  • Employ the same products you use to clean glass in your home to clean your car’s glass windows and mirrors. Many of these products simply spray on and wipe off without rinsing.

  • Be sure to use a lint-free soft rag or sturdy paper towels to avoid scratching the glass: Newspaper also does a pretty good job.

  • Wait to clean the inside surfaces of the windows and sunroof until you do the interior of the car.

  • Use vertical strokes on the outside of the windows and sunroof, and horizontal strokes on the inside, so that you can see at a glance which side the streaks are on when you’re wiping off the cleaner.

  • Lift your windshield wipers away from the glass to clean under them, and don’t forget to wipe the wipers, too. A dirty blade can streak or scratch the glass. Handle the wipers gently to avoid bending the mechanism. Remove dead leaves that may have accumulated in the well under the wipers.

  • Carry a package of pre-moistened glass cleaner wipes and a clean soft rag in your car to spruce up the windshield when visibility gets cloudy.

Consider your car's shining trim to be its jewelry and keep it protected and looking good. Several excellent polishes are designed specifically to clean chrome without scratching the delicate layer of plating. These preparations also retard rust and leave the surface bright and shining. You can use chrome polish on other metal surfaces, too.

Here are some tips for polishing metal trim and chrome:
  • Try not to get the polish on the surrounding paint: The polish can discolor it.

  • Be sure to do the inside surfaces of a metal bumper, too, if you can reach it: And don’t forget the metal frames around the lights and side mirrors.

  • Use a special glaze on black metal or plastic trim around the windows, on bumpers, or on side-protector strips: The glaze, usually liquid, restores some luster to the blacked-out trim. As with metal polishes, avoid getting the glaze on the vehicle’s paint.

  • After you clean metal surfaces, wax them to prevent rust from forming: Use a special wax designed for chrome bumpers and metal surfaces because these areas require more protection than painted surfaces do. Other types of wax may prevent the chrome from getting the oxygen it needs to preserve its shine.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Deanna Sclar is an acclaimed auto repair expert. She has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including NBC's Today show and the NBCNightly News. Sclar lectures internationally on the ecological impact of vehicles and is active in promoting residential solar energy programs. Sclar is also the author of Buying a Car For Dummies.

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