You take care of the obvious stuff… Paint, interior, glass, wheels and tires. But what about your wheel wells, suspension parts, frame rails, and all the other bits tucked away on the underside of your vehicle? Big or small, high or low… any car will benefit from giving the undercarriage some attention. Here’s how.
I’m always surprised by how much of the undercarriage can actually be seen when simply walking around a car. Sure, trucks and SUVs are almost designed to show off their suspension and frame, but even sedans and sports cars show a little inner fender. With a few tricks you can easily bring these often faded and dirty areas to life!
Quick Tips for the Weekly Wash
If time is of the essence, Undercarriage Spray is your best friend. Some refer to it as their “clean little secret” but I just call it smart. It’s a dressing that clings to all the various surfaces in your wheel wells and along the underside of your vehicle; even if they are dirty. Just a light mist and all the dirty, discolored and faded areas turn to a nice, rich, even black.
Even though the surface doesn’t need to be clean before applying Undercarriage Spray, it never hurts to do a little clean-up to remove some of the dirt and grime, giving it a better surface to enhance. The easiest trick is to simply blast these areas with water when rinsing the car. This removes all the loose build up of mud and rocks that get caught up in the various crevices of the wheel wells. If you want to take this one step further, mist the area with a little Rubber Cleaner to break down the various dirt and oils, then give it a quick scrub with our Wheel Well Brush and rinse clean.
If you’re on your way to earning a Car Care Perfectionist merit badge, here are a few tricks that’ll get you a few steps closer. I try to do this on each of my cars once a year to prevent long-term build up, plus it gives me a chance to check my car for leaks and wear items that may need to be addressed.
Start by getting your car off the ground and removing all four wheels (always be safe here, use a good set of jack stands or, if you’re lucky enough, a lift) This will give you better access to reaching up into the wheel wells and behind the brake rotors. From here, the actual cleaning process is pretty simple.
As talked about above, the general cleaning can be knocked out with Rubber Cleaner and the Wheel Well Brush, but it’s likely that you’ll run into a little more build up and might want to do more focused cleaning. I’d use Oil & Grease Cleaner to attack any build up that doesn’t come loose, as it is specially-formulated to soften things like road oils and other greases. 3M Specialty Adhesive Remover is another handy product for stubborn residue.
Wheel Cleaning Tools are the real secret to detailing your undercarriage. With all the intricacies in the engineering of suspension and brake components, reaching every inch can be tough, but the vast array of products for cleaning wheels should have your covered. They are sturdy enough to adequately loosen the dirt while still being gently enough for the various surfaces. A few of my favorites are the Lug Nut Cleaning Brush, Foam Swabs, and Lambskin Mitt, but you may find some of your own favorites for your car.
Once everything has been cleaned, rinse thoroughly, dry, and dress with a light misting of Undercarriage Spray. You can allow it to air dry, but you can speed up the process by towel drying or using a blower.
Now you’ve got the knowledge to keep your undercarriage looking great… daily driver or garage queen. Did I miss something? Got a secret of your own? Share it in the comments!
Have fun in your garage!