Keeping your vehicle’s paint and body in pristine condition can be a difficult feat. Environmental factors and everyday wear and tear can all ruin your vehicle’s appearance. Because you can’t keep your car safely protected all the time, here are some tips for keeping it looking brand-new year-round.
Wash It Regularly
While this tip may seem like common sense, a lot of owners are lazy about washing their vehicles regularly. We recommend washing yours at least every two to four weeks, but you should aim for once a week if possible.
Don’t just wash your vehicle with anything lying around your house. Avoid using household cleaning products like dishwashing soap, hand soap, and glass cleaner. Products like these, while they will do a good job at removing dirt and grime, are abrasive and can ruin your vehicle’s paint. Use a dedicated car wash soap instead, which is gentler and better for your car in the long run.
Seasonal Tips: Washing Your Car in the Winter
If you live in a cold area with unpredictable temperatures, keep track of the weather before you wash your car. Avoid washing it in below-freezing temperatures, as water may directly freeze onto your vehicle and cause damage.
When it’s warm enough to wash it, use warm water to more efficiently melt the sand, salt, and grime that may be stuck on.
When you’re done, dry your vehicle as quickly as possible. This way, water is less likely to freeze onto your paint when temperatures dip below freezing.
Be Quick to Remove Deposits
Unfortunately, bird droppings and bug splatter falling onto your car will happen at some point or another. If you notice these deposits on your car’s windows or body, be sure to remove these deposits as quickly as possible to minimize the damage they leave behind.
Watch Where You Park
If possible, try to park your car in a parking garage or another covered area while you’re at work or running errands. When you’re at home, store it in your garage or a covered carport. Light and heat can severely damage your car’s paint, so it’s best to keep it out of the sun’s rays whenever possible.
Seasonal Tip: Preserving Your Car’s Look in the Summer
If you don’t have access to a covered area to store your vehicle, you can still take measures to keep your car looking nice. While you can’t do much for the outside, consider investing in dashboard shades to protect your dashboard from the sun’s harsh UV rays. The light and heat of the summer can cause your dashboard to fade and decrease the value of your vehicle.
You can also get window shades for the rear and side windows to protect your seats’ color and material from fading.
Address Scratches Immediately
Superficial scratches are a surprisingly normal occurrence. They can occur for a variety of reasons including:
- Improper washing and drying at home
- Badly-designed commercial car washes
- Accidental contact with your vehicle
- Rocks and road debris
Waxes and rubbing compounds to remove scratches can be found at your local auto parts store or online. Some are more complicated to use than others. If you have never removed a scratch before, we recommend using a product that can be applied by hand rather than one that requires a special polishing machine.
If your vehicle has very noticeable scratches or fading, take it in for professional detailing. This kind of service, while it can be expensive, involves tools that most people don’t have access to and restores your vehicle’s brand-new look.
Consider having a car paint protection product applied to your vehicle, whether it be a set-in liquid or a film coat. This kind of protection will prevent your car from obtaining minor chips and scratches in the first place.
Take Good Care of Your Car
Regular maintenance is imperative to keeping your vehicle looking brand-new. We recommend avoiding commercial car washes, as they often use abrasive soaps, harsh washing techniques, and dirty water.
While you should wash your vehicle yourself, keep tabs on its appearance and know when it could benefit from the attention of a professional.
See also 5 Common Car Upgrades
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