How to Clean Plastic Chrome

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Sep 062012

Here at Padula’s Auto Body in Pompano Beach,Florida we believe you will be more satisfied with your car if it looks great. To that end we are educating you on how to care for it.  This month we will discuss how to take care of plastic chrome.
Plastic chrome is a vacuum-metalized chrome finish applied to many auto parts to look like real chrome. You can tell if the chrome is plastic by lightly tapping your fingernail on the surface.  Metal chrome will make a ringing sound, but plastic will have a dull sound. Do not clean plastic chrome with cleaning products used for real chrome because it will destroy the finish. Use a cleanser designed specifically for cleaning plastic chrome. These products usually contain a pore-filling wax to help protect the plastic chrome from dirt and debris.

What You’ll Need

  1. Plastic chrome cleanser
  2. Soft rag
  3. Soft-bristle brush


How to Do It

Wash your car to keep dirt and debris to a minimum. Use only a soft mitt and gentle automotive soap to wash all the plastic surfaces. Rinse well before applying your plastic chrome-specific cleaner.

Spray the plastic cleaner product directly onto your plastic chrome. Then scrub the surface lightly with a soft-bristle brush to loosen any dirt stuck to the plastic. Be careful not to scrub too hard as this might cause scratch marks.

There is no need to buff with these products.  Use a soft rag and wipe in one direction since swirling motions may leave marks on the surface.

Jun 222012

Padula’s Auto Body Pompano Beach, Florida recommends that you wash your car using the following method.



What You’ll Need

  • Shady work-area
  • Hose
  • Car wash soap.  Never wash your car with dish soap. It’ll strip off the wax.
  • 2 Large buckets
  • 2 Thick wash mitts.  Mitts with long dangling strands on them are less likely to scratch.  Mitts, unlike sponges, can be washed well in washing machines to remove all the grit.
  • Wheel brush
  • A chamois or cotton microfiber towels. Microfiber towels work the best on all of a car’s surfaces. When you’re done using them, just toss them in the washing machine. Don’t use fabric softener. It can leach out of the towels and leave a residue on the surface.


What To Do

Park the car in the shade. This will keep the car from premature drying which can leave splotches on the paint.

Put all the supplies that you will need near the car.

Using two buckets fill one with water and car wash soap. Use the amount of soap recommended on its bottle. Fill the other bucket with plain water.

Retract the antenna and check that all windows are closed. Pull the windshield wipers away from the windshield until they lock into their propped position, away from the glass.

Use a hose wet the car to loosen the dirt and soften bird droppings. Don’t use a strong stream, as this might push grit over the paint and scratch it. Try to direct the flow downwards on all surfaces. Shooting the stream upwards around windows may cause water to leak into the car if there are flaws in the seals.

Do not use a brush on the car body — this will leave little scratches, instead soak a large wash mitt in the soapy water, being certain to wash out any dirt in it, and begin applying it to the car.

Starting at the top starting at the top, wash the car section by section. Leave the soap on the car for a few minutes… let the soap do the work of loosening the grime.  Go around the car several times, washing lower areas with each round. Rinse the dirt out of the wash mitt in the bucket with plain water frequently.  You don’t want the soap to dry on the paint and stain it.  So after one section is washed, rinse it with the hose before moving on.

As you go, make sure that you keep the entire car wet, this will prevent droplets from drying on the paint and leaving water-spots. You want to be able to dry the car with towels before it air-dries.

The lower body and the wheels are the dirtiest parts so clean them last. Use a separate wash mitt for them.

Use dedicated cleaning tools for the wheels and tires. They pick up a lot of road grit and abrasive particles from your brakes, which could scratch your paint.

If the wheels are very glossy, use a sponge or a mitt to clean them just as you would the car body after hosing off as much of the extra dirt.

Use a plastic brush to clean the tire sidewalls.

It is important to rinse the bottom of the car thoroughly with a spray nozzle especially if the car has been exposed to salt.

Dry the vehicle with clean fresh towels or chamois.



May 152012

How can you tell if the new tires that you are purchasing were really manufactured recently?

To identify when a tire was manufactured read its Tire Identification Number and you can determine the week and year the tire was produced.

The  Tire Identification Numbers are a combination of the letters DOT, followed by ten, eleven or twelve letters and/or numbers that identify the manufacturing location, tire size and manufacturer’s code, along with the week and year the tire was manufactured.

Since 2000, the  last four digits of the Tire Identification Number provide week and year the tire was manufactured with the 2 digits being used to identify the week immediately preceding the 2 digits used to identify the year.

Example of a tire manufactured since 2000 with the current Tire Identification Number format:

In the example above the tire was manufactured during the 51st. week of 2007.


Tires produced prior to 2000 were labeled based on the assumption that tires would not be in service for ten years.  So while the The Tire Identification Number  provided the same information as today’s tires, the week and year the tire was produced was contained in the last three digits. The 2 digits used to identify the week a tire was manufactured immediately preceded a single digit used to identify the year.

Example of a tire manufactured before 2000:

In the example above:
40 Manufactured during the 40th week of the year
8 Manufactured during the 8th year of the decade

The Tire Identification Number format identifies that the tire was built in the 8th year of a decade, there was no identifier that confirmed which decade.

A word about tire warranties,  most tire manufacturer’s warranties cover their tires for four years from the date of purchase or five years from the week the tires were manufactured.  Let say you purchase new tires that were manufactured exactly two years earlier. They will be covered for four years from the date of purchase  or a total of six years from the date of manufacture as long as you have your receipt. If you lose your receipt, your tires’ warranty coverage will end five years from the week the tire was produced resulting in the tire manufacturer’s warranty coverage ending only three years from the date of purchase in this example.  So hold on to your sales receipt!

What should you do if you are involved in an accident?

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Apr 232012

You are driving down the road when out of nowhere you are involved in an accident.  What should you do?


Be Safe! Prevent further injuries. If there are no serious injuries move the vehicles off the right-of-way.  If the cars can’t be moved all passengers should remain in the vehicle with their safety belts on.  Turn on your flashers, put out traffic cones, triangles, or flares. Call 911 and report the accident.  Render first aid.


You should keep an emergency kit.  This kit should include paper and pen to record information, a disposable or cheap digital camera, a card with emergency medical information that includes allergies or medical conditions of people that regularly ride in the vehicle and finally a list of contacts with phone numbers of people to be notified for law enforcement. You should also keep a flashlight, traffic cones, triangles, and (or) flares.


Exchange information; get the name, address, phone number, insurance company, policy number, drivers’ license number, and license plate number of the other driver involved.


If the driver’s name is not the same as the name on the insurance policy establish what the relationship is to the policy owner.  Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all passengers.  Make a written description of each car involved including the make, model, year, and color.


Write down the exact location of the collision and how it happened.  Be polite to police and all involved but do not tell anyone that the accident was your fault even if you believe that it was!


Take pictures, as many as you can, they may be used in court or by an adjustor. If any witnesses are available try to get their contact information.  You may need them if the other driver doesn’t agree with you on how the accident happened.


File an accident report.  Many times if the accident is minor with no injuries the police may not come.  File with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Forms are usually available from the police or on line at the DMV Web Site as a download file.


You should know what your insurance covers.  Does it include towing or car rental?  When you have an accident is not the time to guess how and what is covered.


If you have a minor accident you and the other driver might be temped to handle the damages yourselves and not involve the insurance companies.


This is probably not a good idea.  When the bills come in the other driver might change his mind.  Or the other driver might report the accident to his insurance company and might even claim injuries that were not apparent at the time of the accident.  This could mean that your insurance company might end up paying a large settlement or worse you could be taken to court.  So make sure that your insurance company has a copy of your version of what happened.


Check you policy, sometimes if the payout is below a certain amount the accident might not be considered chargeable, so you would avoid a penalty of a premium hike.

Chances are high that at some point in time you will be involved in a collision. Remember to keep your head and make safety your number one concern.  You will have lots of time later to deal with the consequences.  Remember that Padula’s Auto Body & Repair can make your damaged car look like new.

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