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Your First Black Car: Something To Consider Before Purchasing


I just polished out most of your defects.  Black (the color) looks good doesn’t it, but are you going to keep it this way?


This is a question I want you to seriously consider if you are purchasing your first black car.

Most of the time making an honest effort to improve wash habits (just moderate improvements) will leave many people a visually appealing car for a while.  Just adding a grit guard to your wash bucket or purchasing actual car supplies (not household) is a major step in the right direction.  That is not enough to maintain a black car.

You can’t half hazardly wash your car, grinding on your paint in a race to finish in under 15 minutes anymore.


What I hear when people complain about keeping a black car looking good;  “Well I still see swirls.  Of the 10 things you said I should not do (that are REALLY bad), I don’t do 6 of them anymore.  I just don’t understand what the problem is?”

Black Car Problems

Some say caring for a black car is an occupation within itself.  I say the color may be more suited for enthusiasts.  You may be attracted by what we see after polishing.  But a lack of care and or careless car habits can turn black into a ugly color.

“I’ve never had water spots this bad.”  The words of someone who just bought her first black car.

It is not that this (black) color is some fragile pigmentation on your car at all. The color aesthetically reveals everything good or bad.  Consequentially the good and bad in your cosmetic care equally rewards and punishes you.


That $100 detail is going to look more like a $100 detail when you compare it to a $300 detail.  That $200 paint correction is going to look exponentially inferior compared to a $800 paint correction service.

What you considered good wash technique with a white car may produce significantly more NOTICEABLE consequences.  What you may not notice as easily in silver, white, or grey becomes an eyesore in black.

It is okay to say ‘black is not for me’.  But if you are up for the challenge here are a list of suggestions and resources you may find helpful below.

Common Mistakes & Practical Recommendations

Don’t adopt any cheap microfiber is’just as good’ mentality.  Just because a $1 towel is classified as microfiber doesn’t mean it is of the same quality as a $6 towel.

Don’t let having a plush microfiber towel give you a license to dry clean debris off of your car.  That will definitely swirl and scratch up your paint.

Having the softest microfiber, greatest soap, thickest foam is not a license to grind/scrub your wash mitt on your paint.  You are literally defeating the purpose of everything you have done.

Recommendations for Enthusiasts

If considering protecting your car with a ceramic coating,  I might consider using a shorter durability coating.  The reason being if some micro marring accumulates that you would like polished away, you don’t have the investment of a longer-term coating to worry about.

Article Suggestions – How To Properly Wash A Car And What To Avoid

Rodney Tatum
Mirror Reflections Auto Spa
Gainesville, Florida
YouTube | Facebook

3 comments on Your First Black Car: Something To Consider Before Purchasing

  1. Thomas says:

    Rodney, I do like reading your articles….they are great common sense style and something that everyone of us can relate too. I have been driving black trucks for many years now and still find it very hard to keep water spots from showing up. Yep, like most people, I wash the truck in direct sunlight and keep water on it until I am ready to dry it off and use a detailing as a drying aid. Could you provide some additional tips on what the DIY can do better to keep them from appearing? As you know, they just look terrible on black for sure. thanks, Tom

    • Rodney Tatum says:

      1 and most significantly, stop maintenance washing your car in direct sunlight. That may exponentially reduce the problem or eliminate problem. Very early morning, early evening, or in a shaded area from the sun is the best place to wash a car.

      I personally do not worry about the sun because usually washing my clients’ cars is the 1st step of a detail (claybar, polisher, etc). But if it just a car wash I have to be conscious of where the sun is.

      If that is a real problem getting a deionized water system is out of the budget, one trick I can recommend that can help some is to purchase several gallons of distilled water. Fill your wash buckets up with distilled water.

    • David Wayne McElroy says:

      You need filter water. I had a mobile detail business in Austin, Texas. Super hot, washed vehicles outside. I used reverse osmosis water. I washed black cars in 100-degree heat. Never had any water spots. Even the water that dripped out of the side mirrors wiped off spot-free.
      If you don’t have access to filter water, you must pull into your garage immediately after you wash your vehicle.
      Also, wash the side that the sun is not shining on first. This will give you more time for the water to not spot. When you wash the sun side, this will dry the fastest, so you wash it last. Buys you some time.
      Hope this helps.

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