Car Care

September 14, 2012
You love your car, and you want it to show. When you drive your car off the dealer's lot, it's a thing to behold, but by the time you get it home, the harsh realities of wear and the environment are already beginning to show. The longer you drive your car, subjecting it to weather, driving strain, and unavoidable hazards, the worse your car may start to look. But you don't have to accept this reality; not completely, anyway. Here are some great car care tips for keeping your car looking almost new under virtually any circumstances.

Car Care Tips: Washing

When it comes to keeping your car looking its best, washing is critical. Washing is important for car care, not only because it improves the car's outward appearance, but it prevents dirt and gunk from working its way into the car and really causing problems. To keep your car looking its best, you should really wash it every week. Even if you think your car looks all right, your car is consistently subjected to environmental damage when you keep it outside. If you don't garage your car, things like tree sap and bird droppings are constant threats. They can make your car look terrible and don't always wash off easily. Also be aware that the longer you go without washing your car, the more that dirt, grime, and other junk works its way into your car and does damage, so don't just wait for the rain to wash all that stuff away. If you're not going to get your car professionally washed and prefer to do it yourself, wash from the top down, using approved car cleaning products and not harsh household detergents, and don't forget to wash behind the wheel wells!

Car Care Tips: Waxing

A good waxing can give your car a shiny, like new look. You don't need to wax your car every week; three or four times a year is just right, and it can really boost your car's appearance to give it a waxing from time to time. When waxing, try to wax indoors or at least in the shade, as the sun dries out the wax quickly. Waxing requires patience. First, wash the vehicle fully so that you are waxing a clean surface. Just apply a small amount of wax at a time, going systematically, section by section. Buff in a gentle, circular motion. You may want to apply a coat of Carnauba wax after the first waxing and then buffing to give the car a really high gloss.

Car Care Tips: Storage

It's ideal to keep your car in a garage when you are not driving it. This can protect it from the elements that are always damaging your car's surface and giving it a more weathered look. Make sure your garage is clean, dry, and enclosed, so environmental hazards can't sneak in. If you don't have a garage available to you, consider getting a car cover to keep your car protected outside when you are not driving it. Keep in mind that if you are keeping your car garaged for a long time, you'll want to start it and maybe take a quick spin every once in a while just to keep all the parts warm and running and in working order.

Car Care Tips: General Tips

Don't forget the wheels when you wash your car. Clean, shiny wheels can really make a difference in the overall appearance of your car, and tires probably get dirty and grimy faster than any other part of the outside of your vehicle. Don't neglect them. Dealing with tree sap can be incredibly frustrating. It sticks to your car, looks terrible, and can't simply be wiped off, as it will generally just smear and look even worse. Go to your auto parts store and find cleaning products specifically designed to remove road tar and tree sap. These products should take the sap off easily without damaging the paint. Once the sap is removed, wax the area. Be sure to dry your car with some kind of soft towel or similar cloth. Leaving your car to dry on its own can lead to water spots or a dull finish. The most important factor in quality car care is you. If you are vigilant and take care of your car, it can continue to look great for years and years. If you neglect your car, it won't just look worse, it will be harder to get it looking regularly cared for again. If you do it right, caring for your car can actually be fun, and the pride you'll feel will be well worth the time you put in.

More Car Maintenance & Ownership Articles

Motor vehicles are big, complicated machines, with thousands of parts. Keeping it all running properly--and making sure your vehicle's resale value stays high--means staying on top of maintenance. Whether it's simple oil changes, selecting tires, or seeing if the repair guy at the local shop is giving you the business, we'll help guide you through. And don't forget: Proper maintenance includes keeping your car looking good, too, and we show you what works and what doesn't when it comes to keeping your car or truck looking as good as new.
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