Owning a car is one thing and maintaining it is quite another. With proper maintenance and adequate care, your car will be more dependable and last longer. Surprisingly, it is the little things we ignore that damage a car’s finish while reducing its performance and lifespan.
For some car owners, their car is their “baby” and they will move mountains just to give it the proper care it needs. For others, as long as the car is moving, they couldn’t care less. A majority of us lie somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.
It’s worth noting that your car’s finish needs protection and care to last longer. Most car owners try to keep their vehicles clean at all times, but there is more to caring for your car’s finish.
- Wash your car correctly
One of the basic practices to maintain your car’s finish is by cleaning it. However, how you clean your vehicle, the tools and the products you use will impact its finish.
Back in the day, we only needed a bucket of water and a piece of cloth to clean our vehicles but today, things have changed. Many products, cleaning solutions, and pressure washers have been introduced to help us keep our cars clean.
How to clean your car
Before cleaning your vehicle, make sure you remove as much grime and dirt as possible. If the substances are stuck on the surface of the vehicle, use a pre-wash solution to loosen them. However, this process only applies when you want to handwash your car.
When cleaning your vehicle, you should start from the roof going down. A soft-bristled brush will help you get rid of more stubborn stains or grease. If you are using a pressure washer, make sure to keep a distance from your vehicle to lower the pressure. The cleaning needs to be gentle and soft to avoid damaging the car’s paint.
Remember to rinse it as you go to prevent the water and cleaning solutions from drying on your vehicle – leaving behind water spots.
Generally, you should clean your vehicle at least once a week under normal conditions. However, this can be adjusted depending on the weather conditions in your region and how often you use your vehicle.
- Don’t rush to drive it
You should let your car dry for sometime after cleaning. Unfortunately, most car owners drive off, immediately after washing their vehicles – especially at public washing spaces.
You can dry your vehicle in two ways after cleaning it. The first way is by hand and is done immediately after the cleaning. A microfiber towel will help in absorbing and drawing in water and also getting rid of any remaining dirt on the vehicle’s surface. Do not drag the microfiber towel across the surface of the car as it will trap debris and dirt underneath the car and scratch the paint.
The second step will be to allow it to dry by air. You should pack the vehicle in a cool area away from the sun.
- Wax it
The only way to ensure that showroom fresh shine on your vehicle lasts longer is if you wax it. Waxing gives your car a deep glossy shine that leaves many eyes wide open as you cruise around with your shiny vehicle.
Before waxing your car, you need to thoroughly prepare it. This will ensure the wax adheres to the car’s surface without any difficulties.
If you spot any imperfection on the car’s surface, say scratched or damaged paint, you should use a rubbing or polishing compound to counter the defects. This will help you achieve an even coloring and a smooth layer.
After thorough preparation, the car’s surface should be ready for the wax. One thing to note is that waxes come in different types and designs. Some are expensive but guarantee the best results while others are cheap and may not be as reliable. You should choose a wax that is best for your car’s surface.
You can wax your vehicle by hand or use a buffer – although it requires some experience.
You should never apply wax in freezing conditions or direct sunlight as this could interfere with the process. For instance, direct sunlight will cause the wax to dry up quickly thus leaving residue on the surface which could be difficult to remove.
The perfect place to execute this process is in your garage or under a shaded building or tree. You can also wax your car early in the morning or late in the evening when the weather is cool.
If done correctly, waxing acts as a protective layer keeping your car new and glossy. It protects the vehicle’s paint and you won’t need frequent car polishing.
- Always park in the shade
Harmful ultraviolet rays can damage your car’s paint finish and the interior. The rays will oxidize and fade your car paint – giving it a dull old look.
While there is no way to cover your vehicle when it’s moving, parking it in a shade can minimize the impact of UV rays on the exterior and interior of your vehicle.
If there is no car shade, you can station your car under a tree or covered building, as long as it is away from direct sunlight.
- Use synthetic coating
As mentioned earlier, waxing can help to protect and care for your car’s finish. However, a synthetic coating is an alternative to waxing – they both serve the same purpose.
Also known as paint sealant, a synthetic coating creates a bond with your car’s paint, permeating to its pores to create a protective seal for your paint. Its application is almost the same as that of wax.
If applied well, the synthetic coating protects your car’s finish for a long time.
For the best results, you should use carbon ceramic coatings on your car’s surface. The coating protects your car’s painted surface against harmful UV rays, light scratches, acid rain, bird droppings, and other harsh chemicals.
Maintaining your car’s finish doesn’t need to be a daunting task
Basic activities like regular cleaning, waxing, and use of a synthetic coating could make your car glossy for years. Some of these practices can be done at home. You don’t need a professional to deliver showroom quality results.
With the above tips, caring for your car’s finish will be an easy job.