Vehicle Maintenance

Unless you plan on leaving your car in the garage, there's no escaping wear and tear on your finish. Rocks, tar, sunlight, winter elements, tree sap, and simply time itself can be harmful to your car's exterior. Fortunately, there are several ways of maintaining and even restoring your vehicle's exterior with a little time and effort, rather than paying for it to be repainted.

15 Ways to Protect Your Car's Exterior

1. Keep the exterior of your car clean.

The longer dirt, grime, and other substances sit on your vehicle, the more damage they can cause. Additionally, contaminants detract from your car's finish.

Thoroughly clean your exterior with quality car wash and materials. Do not use detergents, as they can remove your car's wax and cause stains.

Plush sponges and wash mitts can help you wash your car more efficiently. Choose those constructed of soft material that will be gentle on your car's paint.

2. Begin cleaning your car out of direct sunlight.

Before you begin washing it, make sure the paint is cool to the touch.

3. Prior to using car wash on your vehicle, rinse it thoroughly.

Rinsing your car first will remove loose dirt and debris that can be harmful to the finish if dragged across the paint.

Once you've started using a car wash agent, rinse and wash in sections. This keeps the soap from having time to dry on your car's paint.

4. Don't forget your wheels and tires.

Due to their proximity to the road, your car's wheels and tires collect the most dirt, dust, and grime. Over time, brake dust can over time be harmful to both your wheels and car's paint.

5. Dry your car after washing it to prevent water spots.

Detailing cloths and chamois are the preferred means for drying your car.

6. Paint cleaners can help remove stubborn contaminants like tree sap and bugs from your car's finish.

Also known as pre-cleaners or pre-wax cleaners, these products are available in varying degrees of abrasiveness. We recommend you begin with a light-abrasive cleaner and work toward one stronger if needed.

7. Claying will help preserve your lustrous exterior.

Over time, contaminants embed themselves in your car's paint and give the surface a rough texture. Not only will this affect waxing your car, it will also diminish the polished look of your paint. Clay bars will remove those containments on the surface of your vehicle.

8. Waxing your car is one of the most important steps you can take to maintain its paint.

Cars with already average finishes typically only need to be waxed to restore their shine and keep them protected.

There are several varieties of car wax available, from natural to synthetic formulas.

9. Store your car inside, away from the elements.

The less time your car spends outside, the more protected it is from potentially harmful UV rays, inclement weather, and contaminants.

10. Use a car cover if you don't have a garage or carport for your vehicle.

Car covers come in several varieties and offer different levels of protection from the elements. Choose the one that best suits your needs.

11. Fix scratched and chipped car paint quickly.

Although small scratches and chips to your car's paint may seem inevitable and a part of car ownership, they should not go ignored. Your car's finish is in place to protect the steel beneath it, and even shallow scratches that don't reach the metal can lead to rusting if they go ignored.

12. Avoid parking in high traffic areas when you can.

Traffic, both vehicular and foot, can lead to accidents involving your parked car. Pedestrians bumping against it, bicyclists scraping by, and other cars potentially ramming your vehicle all pose obvious threats.

13. When parking outside, try not to park under trees or other objects where falling articles can harm your car's paint.

Tree sap, pinecones, acorns, screws, nuts, bolts, and anything else that could possibly fall from above a parked car can cause damage. In some cases, that damage can be expensive to fix.

14. Still, try not to leave your car, truck, or SUV parked in direct sunlight longer than you must.

Over time, the sun's UV rays can prove harmful to your vehicle's finish.

15. Clear and wash your car frequently during winter months.

Winter elements and road treatments can severely damage your car's paint, wheels, and undercarriage. Although you might not think about washing your car that often when it is cold outside, washing road salt off quickly is imperative to the health of your car's exterior.

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