A good-looking car is one of the best things a person can own. In fact, very few feelings are better than the euphoria of driving your new car home for the first time. It can, however, be tough to keep your vehicle looking as good as it did the day you drove it off the dealership’s lot.
It looks and feels great with a fresh car smell, wheels shining brightly, and paint gleaming. But if left alone, the car will deteriorate and soon develop a lived-in appearance. It doesn’t have to end up like that, though. You can keep your car looking like new for years to come with a little regular attention and care.
Keeping your car looking as good as new isn’t that costly. It doesn’t require that much time either. Here are sure-fire ways to do it:
- Don’t Just Park Anywhere
Whether day or at night, think carefully about where you should park your car.
At night, park it carefully in a garage as much as possible. It’s the most sensible thing to do, and the whole reason why your garage is there anyway. Leaving it in the street is a bad idea because creatures and critters that come out at night for their playtime can cause damage to your vehicle. It may also catch the attention of vandals operating during the late hours.
While it’s easy to park your car properly at night, doing so during the day isn’t as simple. It’s especially true when you’re doing parking on someone else’s property or in a public place. The best thing to do is to find a location where you can park your vehicle under cover. Doing so will prevent your car from getting exposed to the rays of the sun. Ultraviolet rays can have a damaging effect to your vehicle’s exterior paint, causing fading.
Note that possum pee, bird droppings, and tree sap can also damage your paint quickly, so avoid parking your car under things birds perch on, such as trees and powerlines.
- Wash Your Car On A Regular Basis
Regularly washing your car seems like an obvious thing to do, but you’d surely be surprised at the number of car owners that don’t do it. Many people ignore their car cleaning duties, despite being one of the most basic vehicle care tips out there. Aside from removing grime, dead bugs, dust, and dirt that makes it look old, washing your car also helps to improve your visibility when driving. It does that by removing dirt from all of your car’s lights and your windows. If you notice that your vehicle’s windows or windshield have been cracked or damaged by grime, call Discount Auto Glass in Portland immediately or the nearest automotive glass service provider in your area.
Note that washing under the car is also important. Even though you’re not seeing it on a regular basis, don’t forget to keep the undercarriage clear and clean. Rust, corrosion, and other issues may result from buildup of mud and other gunk. Mud can also accumulate in your tires and hubcaps easily, so give them a good scrubbing, too.
- Avoid Going To Car Washes
While it’s true that they’re convenient, commercial car washes can be rough and damage your vehicle’s paint easily. If you really have to use them, ask first about the cleanliness of their water and the kind of detergents they use.
If commercial car washes use something that comes into contact with your car’s surface, such as stiff brushes, it’s best not to use them.
If possible, you should be avoiding even the DIY car washes. Their detergents can be harsh, and their brushes and water aren’t necessarily clean.
- Remove Deposits Or Stains Right Away
Don’t let a large stain or something deposited on your car sit until you can find time to wash your car. Leave them long enough and your paint might become permanently stained. Time is of the essence; do a spot clean or wash the stain or deposit off as soon as possible. You could find them much harder to clean or remove later on if you don’t, which can increase the chance of scratching your vehicle’s paint in the process.
One way to remove deposits or stains is to wash them off with water. If water alone doesn’t work, use a weak detergent and lots of running water.
- Dry Your Vehicle Using A Chamois
When you’ve finished washing your car, don’t just walk away and leave it to air dry. Take the time to dry it using a chamois instead.
Lay a good quality chamois out flat on your car’s surface; don’t scrunch it up. Then, pull the chamois across the panel, making sure that the maximum amount of moisture can be absorbed.
After each pass, squeeze out the excess moisture, then keep on repeating the process until every panel has been dried. Clean the chamois by rinsing it out after you’ve finished drying your car’s body. Once it’s dry, put the chamois away inside its case and wait until the next time you need it again.
- Treat Your Car’s Body With A Clay Bar
Make sure your paint is free from contaminants (as many as possible) and looks as good as possible before applying anything to it (e.g., protectant, polish, and wax). Wondering how to do this? It’s simple; buy a clay bar, a resin compound used in pulling contaminants from a car paint’s surface. As you might know, contaminants such as salt, bug remains, rain deposits, and brake dust infiltrate the paint of your car and rob it of luster.
A clay bar moves along the paint’s surface, pulling contaminants that are protruding out of the paint. Before applying any topcoat protectant, a good clay bar treatment must be carried out first. You’ll be amazed by the before and after!
- Regularly Polish Your Car
Polishing your car on a regular basis protects the painted surface, as well as making your vehicle look good. How frequently should you polish your car? Every six months will do. You don’t have to do it every week or every month, so it’s not really going to eat up so much of your time.
Use a quality polish and follow the instructions that come with it. Also, make sure to use a quality applicator when using the polish. When it’s time to remove the polish, use a soft, clean rag to avoid scratches.
Remember to polish your car panel by panel. Attempting to polish it in one go isn’t recommended. You can also do the polishing a section at a time, especially if it’s a large panel.
- Don’t Forget To Wax
Car wax serves as the backbone of most car detail packages. It’s typically wax coming from natural sources, including palm and carnauba. To make the wax a more malleable product, it’s then mixed with oils and solvents.
Waxing your car is about putting some kind of a barrier between the elements and your clear coat. It’s all about protection. It’s the wax’s job to make sure that spray from the roads, rainwater, and UV rays don’t damage the paint of your vehicle.
Your car will be rendered ‘hydrophobic’ by the car wax, which means that it will repel water. So, rather than resting on your vehicle’s paint and contaminating it, water that contains dirt and road grime will just slide off your car. Wax can also revitalize your vehicle’s color, fill in minor imperfections, and leave your vehicle with a shiny finish.
- Apply Paint Protection (Specifically Ceramic Coating)
Ceramic coating is the 21st century paint protection solution. To form a semi-permanent barrier that protects your paint, ceramic coating utilizes nanotechnology. It addresses the drawbacks of car wax. Yes, despite being the ‘OG’ of detailing, car wax isn’t perfect. It will last a few months at its best, and while it’s a hard surface for nature, it isn’t really exceptional. The need to remove the past wax layer before you can apply fresh doesn’t help with wax’s reputation either.
With ceramic coating, the barrier is so strong that it normally can last for several years. Compared to wax, ceramic coatings are also much stronger, making them better at repelling water, grime, and dirt.
- Remember To Clean The Interior, Too
Keeping the inside of your car tidy is one of the easiest ways of making it look good. Be sure to clean your vehicle’s interior out regularly. Trash and other artefacts of modern life can easily accumulate in the backseat, especially if it rarely has someone riding back there. The good news is that there’s a plethora of car interior products available to help. Of course, regular discarding of trash and vacuuming are essential.
There you have it; 10 sure-fire ways to keep your beloved car looking brand new. The key is developing regular cleaning, detailing, and protecting habits for the interior and exterior. Follow the tips above and start feeling the added confidence of once again rolling in a clean ride.