Black cars account for about 23% of all the cars sold around the world. Most of us agree that a black car looks much more classy and sleek compared to any other color.
It enhances the details and accentuates the curves and lines to make them more prominent. On top of that, black cars retain their value much better compared to other colors.
A well-polished black car will turn a lot of heads. But is it as hard to maintain as people say? Read on to find out.
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Are Black Cars Hard to Keep Clean?
Black cars are as hard as any other colored car to keep clean. But we presume that black cars are hard to keep clean because even the tiniest speck of dust will stand out on the black color more than any other color. It is not the case for dust alone, even the most minor scratch is easily spotted on a black panel.
A lot of people assume white cars should be the toughest to keep clean, but that is simply not the case. Although white cars are relatively harder to keep clean, it does not take half as much effort required to keep a black car clean and shiny.
It is very hard to achieve that mirror-like finish on a black car. It is certainly not impossible, but it takes a lot of time and effort to detail the car to obtain that perfect finish.
Even if you manage to keep a black car clean, a few drops of rain can easily undo all your work in no time. Once it rains, the dirt sticks onto the body, and once it dries, it forms a brownish layer and removes the shine.
Why is Dirt More Visible on a Black Car?
It’s because of contrast. Black color tends to act as a backdrop and amplifies all the colors in the foreground. Most dust and watermarks are usually of lighter colors. Being from the opposite end of the color spectrum, the black body panels emphasize the dust particles on them.
What Type of Dirt is More Visible on a Black Car?
If you have taken a good look at a black car, especially under direct sunlight, you would be able to observe numerous really fine scratches. These scratches can be circular called swirl marks, or they can be shaped like spider webs.
These scratches are mostly caused due to improper washing techniques. But some amount of these scratches is inevitable for any car.
Even though these scratches are present in almost all cars, it is significantly more noticeable on black cars. It is because the sunlight reflects off the scratch, and we see them as white marks on the black background.
Water spots are another nuisance that affects black cars especially. The water spots are usually white and chalky, which stands out on the black panels.
Black paint is more prone to water spots as black-colored panels tend to get much hotter when exposed to sunlight, accelerating the evaporation of water. It leaves the white residue behind, causing white spots.
Most importantly, these white spots can permanently damage the car’s paintwork, if it is left unattended for a long time. The residue that remains on the paintwork is the chemical impurities in the water. These impurities are oftentimes corrosive, and after some time, it wears away the clear coat causing permanent damage to the paintwork.
How to Keep a Black Car Clean so it Can Look Like Brand-New?
The only working solution for this problem is to wash your car every 1-2 weeks. It will not only keep the car clean but also prevent it from corroding over time.
But make sure to follow the best practices while washing the car. Otherwise, it can do more harm than good.
How to Properly Wash Your Car:
The first step is to remove all the loose dust and debris on the body. The most effective method for removing surface dust is a foam wash. It is a contactless pre-cleaning method used by almost every professional detailer.
To foam wash a car, you will need a pressure washer with a snow foam attachment. It is quite cheap and easily accessible. You will also need the foam-washing compound, and there are mainly three types of compounds:
- Cleaning Foam: It is the most common and cheapest option. Cleaning foam should be enough if you are washing your car regularly. It loosens the dirt and grime but does not affect the wax, sealant, or other protective layers.
- Decontaminating Foam: It is used to remove tar or iron fallout, which can be difficult to remove with cleaning foam.
- Deep Cleaning foam: It is stronger than the other foams. It removes all contaminants in the paint, but it can remove the wax and sealants as well. Therefore, it is very important to use the correct foam.
After choosing the foam, pour the correct amount of it into the foam-wash attachment. Refer to the documentation on the foam compound to find the ideal ratio of water for that particular compound.
Now spray the foam onto the car and make sure to cover every part. You should cover the wheels, tires, underbody, and every other part.
After application, wait for the foam to do its job. You will have to leave the foam on for a few minutes before washing it off (refer to the documentation on the compound to find the time it requires).
Now that you have prepped the surface, the next step is washing the car. The two-bucket method is probably the best method to wash your car without scratching it.
You will need two large buckets. One is the rinse bucket with clean water, and the other is for the soapy water.
Grit guards are also essential. Try to find one with a grit guard/washboard combo for the rinse bucket.
The next important thing is a good quality wash mitt. Always use a microfiber mitt. It helps to trap the contaminants deep inside its stringy surface and easily washes off in the rinse bucket.
Dunk your mitt in the soapy water made using a quality car shampoo, and start washing from the top of the car and work your way down. Remember to rub the mitt in a straight pattern while washing. Never rub the mitt in a circular pattern as it will cause swirl marks.
After washing each panel, dip the mitt in the rinse bucket and wash off all the dirt that has built up in the mitt. It helps if you have multiple mitts because it reduces cross-contamination between panels.
The bottom panels contain the most amount of contaminants. So, when washing the bottom panels, rinse the mitt more frequently to avoid scratching the surface.
Before washing the wheels with shampoo, use a wheel-cleaning compound and a brush to agitate all the iron fallout and brake dust. Scrub every nook and cranny with the brush. After that, wash it with the shampoo to remove the chemicals.
The last step of washing is to use a pressure washer to remove all the shampoo and contaminants from the body.
Drying the car also requires some attention. Do not let the water evaporate under the sun (never wash the car under direct sunlight or if the car is hot). If the water is even slightly alkaline, it can cause white spots. Dry the car using a microfiber cloth, chamois, or air dryer.
Finally, you should wax the car to enhance its shine and protect the paintwork. Waxes come in various forms:
- Spray Wax: It takes significantly less time and effort to apply.
- Liquid Wax: It is a bit harder to apply compared to spray wax but provides a better result and lasts longer.
- Paste Wax: It is relatively hard, and as a result, it takes longer to apply. But it lasts longer and provides the best result.
To apply the wax, take the required amount and rub the wax on the panels repeatedly using a damp microfiber cloth until the desired shine is obtained. It is a lot easier if you use an orbital polisher, but you can also do it by hand. It just takes a bit longer and requires some more effort.
Some more tips to avoid scratches and keep the car shining:
- Use a wax/detailer that has anti-static properties. It will reduce the amount of dust sticking to the body, and the shine lasts longer.
- Several waxes and sealants are made specifically for black cars. Always use them if available.
- Invest in a good quality ceramic coating. It protects from minor scratches while repelling dust and water.
- Detail the car at least twice a year. Make sure to use a compound and polish to retain that brand new look.
- If you go to a car wash, make sure that they do a 100% manual car wash. Automatic car washes use nylon brushes, and they will most certainly cause swirl marks to appear.
- When the car acquires some dust, do not be tempted to wipe it with a towel or any other cloth. It will cause visible scratches that will have to be removed by polishing.
What Color of a Car is the Easiest to Keep Clean?
Silver cars are probably the easiest to keep clean. They can hide the dust easily compared to darker colored cars, while at the same hides some mud stains better than light-colored cars.
Also, they do not heat up as quickly as black cars. So you can wash them without fearing the formation of water spots.
Another easy option is grey. It does a great job of hiding the dust and scratches.
It is a nice middle ground if you want a dark-colored car, but you do not want to commit to the maintenance required for black cars.
In general, lighter cars are easier to keep clean than darker colors. Light colors such as yellow, orange, and green are also pretty good at hiding dust and scratches, requiring much less maintenance compared to black cars.