Living in cities our vehicles tend to get exposed to various kinds of damages – scratches, dents, chipping, rusting, windscreen scratches etc. But there is another kind of damage our vehicles suffer especially when our residences undergo redevelopment – cement. Yes, with the plastering of buildings cement travels far and wide and causes much damage to your vehicles than meets the eye. I was unfortunately a victim of this recently and trust me when I say this, this is one problem you NEVER want to get involved with. At first it may seem like a harmless dust which you think can be blown away with a blower or wiped away with a cloth. But if you’ve ignored this so called miniscule dust for even as little as two days, it’s pretty much game over for your machine, especially if you live in area where there is occurrence of morning dew. Didn’t get it? Well, as we all know cement in itself is very light weight, what weighs it down is water. Dew is pretty much water and when it settles on cement and then dries up you have a hardened layer of concrete glued onto the surface of your car. And as we all learnt in school, hardened cement doesn’t leave the attached surface without damaging it; in this case the surface being your car.
So how do you undo this damage? Since I’ve been at the receiving end of this with not just one but two cars, here are a few tips that you can keep in mind and implement to prevent cement damage to your car’s surface, and also to undo it if you’ve already bared the brunt.
There are only two things you need to do in order to prevent damage:
(A). Keep your car covered. Ensure the car cover is well placed and doesn’t fly off as it is easy for the cement particles to settle in the most inaccessible places as well. Investing in a good quality cover of a slightly thicker material is a good idea and will not cost you more than Rs 1000. (B). If you don’t want to invest in a cover, then the only other option is to park your car away from the cementing area. Another good idea if you have the car cover is to the park the car away and cover it. This is the only foolproof way to prevent the cement damage on your car.
If you’ve already been a victim to the damage, here’s what you can do
1. Go to the professional guys, these guys have the buffing machines, washing equipment etc to removed the cement and restore your car’s exterior. However these are expensive, with regular restoration costing around Rs 5000, so work on a damaged car may cost you a bit more.
2. In case you don’t have the finances to go to the professionals, then these are the things that you can do to get rid of the concrete cover and have your car looking as close to normal as possible.
(A). Blow away the cement with a blower. This will ensure that most of the cement gets off the surface without scratching it. Any strong electrical blower or vacuum cleaner will do the job, (definitely not a hair dryer as it will make matters worse)
(B). Give the car a pressure wash – the pressure wash ensures a good layer of the cement is scrapped off without scratching the surface. The strong water jet not only helps in removing the cement, but also acts as lubricant. Post this let the car dry naturally, do NOT wipe it with a cloth or any other material. Once the car is dried you then know how much of the cement is left on the surface and what course of action you need to take next.
(C). Take a sponge (the softest quality meant for use on human skin) or a micro fibre cloth and the strongest grade of car shampoo you can get your hands on. Give the car one wash with the shampoo diluted in a litre of water (or as per instructions on the bottle); make sure you scrub gently in circular motion ensuring plenty of lather is present between the car’s surface and your choice of cleaning material. The lather acts as a lubricant, and lighter the pressure the lesser the damage to the car surface. Let the car dry.
(D). After the first car shampoo cycle, repeat again. This time around try diluting some of the hair shampoo also with the car shampoo. This may sound odd, but hair shampoos do a pretty neat job of washing away the grime and dirt from your cars surface. Post this access the condition of your car, most of the cement should have worn out by now but be assured you car’s surface will seem a little rough.
(E). The next step is polishing. Although you can wax and polish your car, it is a grueling process which may take the entire day, so if you’re up for a work out then get on to polishing your car with a zest. Ensure you use wax polish since it works better than liquid polish and use only a micro fibre cloth for polishing; anything else may just further add to the damage
(F). So now you’ve invested quite a few precious hours trying to restore your car to its former glory but you still aren’t happy with the way it looks. You want it to shine like a bride just out of the parlour, but with all the efforts you’ve made it’s managed to look more like a middle aged missus trying her best to look like a bride! So what do you do? Well in this case you can resort to you local painter. These guys have a process called rubbing and polishing which will help remove the minute scratches without damaging the car, and restore its glow as well. Depending on what type of a car you have they may charge you anything between Rs 1200 – 2600.
Now you may ask if I had to eventually give my car to the painter for rubbing and polishing, then why put all that effort in washing, cleaning and polishing? Well, if you’re going to take your car in its concrete laden condition to any painter or say a professional car surface restoration service provider, they’ll first scare the living day lights out of you by saying this damage is irreparable, and then when they finally agree to work on your car they’ll give you a bill which will leave you recuperating for a few months! Either case steps a – e is exactly what they will be doing as well, so you might as well save the money.
Once the car is back from the painter, ensure you keep it clean and covered. Once more rubbing- polishing session in another month will have your car looking as good as new.
The difference between giving your car to a local painter for rubbing polishing and giving it to the professionals is the use of equipment and chemicals. Yes, the professional guys use a lot of fancy sounding machines and lotions to beautify your car, but in the process you car looses a coat of paint as well, which in a way is like losing a layer of protection. We’ve seen it ourselves and know for a fact that this isn’t a very good thing if you do it often in the long run. Repeated polishing and surface restoration treatments will do more bad than good for your car. Manual labour of the local painters wins hands down!
So we hope you never encounter cement, concrete damage on your cars and God forbid just in case you do, we hope these tips turn out to be beneficial for you. Happy revving.