One of the best car care tips you can receive is to keep your cars exterior clean. Washing your car often can remove harmful debris and reduce the chance of your car rusting. Choose a shady spot in which to work. It’s usually best to wash your car in the morning or evening when the sun isn't as intense, but if you have a spot in the shade to do the job, it doesn’t matter what time of day you start. Let the car exterior cool down if it has been in the sun for an extended period of time.
Fill a bucket with a couple capfuls of concentrated car cleaning solution and water (check manufacturer's directions for exact amount of cleaner to use). Wet down the entire surface of the car using a garden hose with a spray nozzle. Dip a sponge or washing mitt into the bucket and start on the roof of the car.
Always start at the top of the car so dirty water and grime aren't washed down over an area you've already cleaned.
Don't use dishwashing detergent for your cleaner because it can strip away car wax.
Stay away from using old rags to wash your car. They often can cause hairline scratches on the finish.
Using the sponge or washing mitt, wash the roof of the car and clean the windows. Stop there and rinse. You want to wash and rinse the car in sections to avoid the soap's drying on the surface before you spray it off. Choose either the hood or trunk of the car, clean it and rinse it. Continue working by washing either the front or back (depending on where you chose to continue) and then rinsing. Then proceed down one side of the car, one panel at a time, washing and rinsing. Repeat these steps on the opposite side. Don't forget to wash the rearview mirrors.
Wheels and tires should be cleaned last. Since they make contact with the road and collect the most oil, dirt and grime, it makes more sense to clean the rest of the car first so you don't transfer dirt from them to the rest of the car. Grit from the tires and lower panels of the car can also stick to your sponge and then scratch your car's paint elsewhere. Wet the wheels with your hose and then spray a wheel and tire cleaner onto them. Let the solution sit for a minute or two and then wash them with the washing mitt and soap. Rinse them off.
Scrub tires with wheel and tire cleaner and a stiff brush. Only clean the rubber though; be careful that you don't use the brush on your rims as the brush might scratch them.
Use a bug and tar remover to remove caked on bugs and any tree sap or road tar that may have collected on the car's finish. Simply apply a bit of cleaner to a soft rag and wipe debris away. Stubborn debris may require a couple of applications. Rinse the cleaned area with your hose. WD-40® is a good home remedy for removing caked-on bugs and debris if used sparingly. It should only be used on small, tough-to-clean areas. Simply spray it on the desired area, let it sit for 30 seconds and then wipe it and the offending debris away with a rag.