Keeping your BMW in pristine condition is something essential to keep the value of your investment. When washing and detailing your BMW, there are a few steps you can take to thoroughly clean the car while protecting the paint, rims, tires, and brakes. Follow our step-by-step guide below on the best way to give your BMW a car wash.
Tip: Start the Car Wash from Bottom to Top
Many experts advise washing the car from the bottom to the top because cleaning the wheels before the car wash saves you more time by avoiding washing and drying the vehicle’s body twice. When you wash the body of the car first, wet spots can dry up while you are working on the wheels and can create unsightly watermarks. If you dry the car body before moving onto the wheels, you may need to wash or dry the body again due to the inevitable splashing while cleaning the wheels.
How to Wash Your BMW in 5 Steps
- Step 1: Wash the Wheels and Tires First
- Step 2: Rinse Well and Apply Car Shampoo
- Step 3: Dry Off the Car and Wheels
- Step 4: Use a Car Window Cleaner
- Step 5: Apply Car Wax and Sealant
Step 1: Wash the Wheels and Tires First
So, the best advice is to wash each wheel of your BMW one at a time before washing the body of the vehicle. If your BMW comes with the M Carbon Ceramic Brakes or the M Compound brakes, it is important to clean both brake discs and calipers with a steam jet or high-pressure cleaner. Doing so prevents the formation of encrustations or deposits of salt crystals when the car is parked after cleaning.
See our complete step-by-step guide on BMW Wheel Cleaning and Care.
Step 2: Rinse Well and Apply Car Shampoo
After you have cleaned your BMW wheels, rinse the rest of your car thoroughly to remove surface dirt or particles that can potentially scratch your vehicle during the wash.
Next, apply car shampoo or car wash solution. Choose a brand of mild car shampoo that is PH-balanced and does not contain detergent which can harm your car paint and accelerate oxidation. A good car shampoo should be gentle enough to protect your car’s paint, but works effectively to remove dirt and hardened grease. Use a soft, lint-free, scratch-free microfiber car wash mitt to apply the car shampoo evenly throughout the body of your BMW. Avoid using cleaning clothes with materials such as heavy polyester thread because it can scratch your paint. Then, rinse the car clean with water.
Step 3: Dry Off the Car and Wheels
Dry your BMW with a soft, non-scratch microfiber cloth that can wick the water off your BMW’s paint without leaving water marks. Use two microfiber towels at once so one can soak up most of the water while the other one can wipe dry the residual wetness on the paint. Invest in quality microfiber cloth that does not shed or scratch up the surface of your car. Keep a few of the microfiber towels handy, so you can use different ones to dry the different parts of your BMW like the paint, the window, and the wheels.
Step 4: Use a Car Window Cleaner
You can go one step further by using a car window cleaner that does not contain streaky soap, dye, and additives that leaves behind residues. Choose a car window cleaner that delivers sprays in mist for even application. Use a high-quality, non-scratch microfiber cloth to apply the solution to the car window. A quality car window cleaner should easily remove tough dirt, fingerprints, smoke haze, and grease without scrubbing. Dry the car windows thoroughly to finish.
Step 5: Apply Car Wax and Sealant
Give your BMW a good wax or sealant for protection after the car wash. Waxing your car is not only for cosmetic reasons, other than making the paint look brand-new and shiny, waxing and using a sealant on your BMW can prevent the paint from dust, dirt buildup, erosion, and UV.
How to Choose a Good Car Wax
Make sure to choose a wax brand that is safe for your BMW’s paint. Always check with the vendor if you are not sure. A Hybrid wax sealant can be used interchangeably as car wax, although they are not entirely the same in their properties. Sealant usually requires less frequent application than wax and is described as more robust and has higher wear resistance. Most reputable brands of hybrid wax sealant with UV protection can effectively prevent harmful buildup and corrosion. Many of these wax sealant products can be used throughout the car body, including paint work and car wheels. If you are using a wax and a sealant product together, experts advise applying sealant first since it takes longer to break down than wax. Always check the product descriptions to make sure that the sealant and wax you are using can be safely used together.
How to Apply Car Wax
During application, park your BMW in the shade to avoid direct sun exposure, so the wax does not dry off quickly and make buffing difficult. Use a soft microfiber cloth to apply a thin coat of the car wax or sealant thoroughly onto the paint. Pick up another clean microfiber towel to buff away the residue and make your car shiny. Each wax or sealant works differently, so read the instructions carefully to check how long the product will last before re-applying.
Also, see our complete guide on How to Repair Paint Chip with BMW Touch-Up Paint.