With spring (hopefully) right around the corner, many will be eager to give their ride a proper bath before the year's first big cruise. However, merely running to the local car wash could introduce scratches and swirls into the paint, leaving unsightly damage. But there are ways to avoid it. A new video from the Chicago Auto Pros YouTube channel provides a quick rundown of how to wash your car while minimizing any potential paint damage.

The first step is to find a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. That'll keep water spots from forming. Those without a proper location can head to a self-service car wash bay, bringing your own equipment – buckets, towels, soaps, and cleaners – though Chicago Auto Pros recommended never using the self-service bay brush. Once set up, you can begin by pressure washing the car, removing sand, dirt, grime, and grit – stuff that can get lodged in the wash mitt and introduce scratches into the paint.

Next is to begin foaming the car, though those who don't have a pressure washer could spray a degreaser to help break down the grime before adding the foam, further breaking down the dirt. After that, it's time to wash the car, starting at the top. The channel recommends using a two-bucket system – one to soap the mitt and the other to rinse it – or use one wash mitt per body panel. The goal is to remove as much dirt and grime that could cause scratches before using the mitt.

The final step is to dry the car, though even that can damage the car if it's done improperly. It's recommended that you use a soft microfiber towel paired with a quick detailing spray to help provide lubrication between the towel and the paint, as water is an insufficient lubricant. Oh, and don't use your standard bath towel. It can also damage the paint. Ultimately, an at-home car wash's goal is to avoid rubbing against the car's paint as much as possible.

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