Inspect Your Paint
First, go over your entire vehicle to find any trouble spots, e.g., contaminants like bird droppings, tar, and tree sap, as well as scratches, swirls, and chips. Pretreat any soft contaminants with detailing spray; use Motorcraft Bug and Tar Remover on hardened tar or bugs.
Hand Wash Tips
Park your vehicle in the shade, and then wash it with a bucket of Motorcraft Detail Wash and a lambswool wash mitt. Always wash from the top of the vehicle down. A nylon or natural-bristle brush will help get dirt out of tire sidewalls.
Rinse and Dry
Next, rinse the vehicle by flooding it with a garden hose from the top down—this “pulls” the water off in large sheets. Dry the vehicle from the top down with microfiber drying towels. Dry the windows first, then move on to the paint. Always dry the vehicle in the shade, and be sure to get it dry before water spots form.
Remove Contaminants with Clay
Place your hand on the vehicle’s hood, and gently slide your fingers up and down the hood. You’ll be able to “feel” the contaminants on your fingertips — they feel like little bumps on the surface. If your paint is new, and the surface feels completely smooth, you can skip to the next part.
If you feel contaminants, use a clay bar to remove them. Flatten the clay bar so that it fits in your hand, and grab your detailing spray in the other hand. Then, spray detailer on a panel to lubricate the clay, and gently rub the flattened clay back and forth over the entire paint surface. Treat one panel at a time. When dry, repeat the fingertip test—the paint should now be clean.
You should always wax the vehicle after using a clay bar. There are two ways to wax: If your paint has lots of swirls and scratches, it will need a multistage system that uses separate applications of scratch remover, cleaners, and a glaze, in addition to wax. If your paint is new and/or in good shape, you’ll need only wax.
Put a small amount of wax onto a microfiber or foam applicator pad. Use the applicator to apply the wax on a top panel, like the roof or hood, using a circular motion across a couple of panels at a time. Dried wax should show only a light haze—bright white means you’re using too much.
Remove the dried wax using microfiber or all-cotton cloths. Be sure to turn the cloths over often, so that the wax doesn’t load up on them. When you are done, use a clean cloth to do a final pass over the paint, and remove any wax lodged in tight areas like emblems and spaces between body panels.
Clear Up Windows and Mirrors
Clean your exterior and interior windows and mirrors by spraying an ammonia-free cleaner onto a lint-free or microfiber towel. Ammonia-free cleaners smell better, and won’t streak, damage window tint or damage your interior if you overspray. If you see any hard water spots on your windows or windshield, a good chrome polish can remove them.