A simple squeegee rinse every two weeks when you fill up for gas is not enough to keep your car looking its best. To keep a car's exterior sparkling, you must have a combination of the right equipment, product, hard work, and patience to do the process correctly.
The most important thing to start with is a cool rinse of water. Rinsing removes dirt and grime without the help of soap and scrubbing, and can help the soap clean more effectively.
The next step is to slowly soap and wash your car, preferably by hand, in sections around the exterior of the car. Go slowly to ensure all the nooks and crannies are covered —some of the hardest spots are inside the wheel spokes, the very bottom trim and underneath it, and the top parts of the car that are hard to reach.
Once your car has a layer of soap on it, it is time for another rinse. Take your time and be sure to get all the soap off because any remaining soap can stain and ruin your car's finish. Since you will be circling and getting up close with your car during this process, this is a great time to look for any scratches or marks. You can also take the opportunity to remove old bumper stickers, parking passes, national park stickers, and anything else that is no longer needed.
Drying should be done, again, preferably by hand. Avoid letting your car air dry completely, as the water can pool and cause rust or create water stains on your car's finish. A high quality water absorbing shammy is preferable to a regular towel, due to the amount of moisture that will be absorbed throughout the process. The shammy will also last longer and be easier to ring out when you are finished.
Waxing is optional, but highly encouraged. Find a high quality wax that will last several months and be sure to follow the instructions on the bottle or package to the T. Failure to apply wax correctly can ruin the exterior of your car and its paint job.
Follow these simple best practices and tips and you will have a great looking car rolling down the road for years to come!