You can’t completely prevent wear and tear on your car. Every time you take it out for a drive, you expose it to elements—such as sunlight, rain, dust, and all sorts of debris—that will leave their mark on your finish. The best thing you can do is to protect your vehicle from these elements and mitigate the damage they cause.
To help you with that, here five are ways to preserve the exterior of your car.
Keep Your Car Clean
Dirt, grime, and pollutants damage your car’s finish, and the longer they stay there, the more damage they cause. These contaminants create microscopic scratches that dull the finish of your vehicle. Keeping your car clean is not only for appearance’s sake but also to extend the lifespan of your finish.
One huge mistake many car owners commit when washing their car is using household cleaning products like dishwashing soap and detergent. The grease-stripping ingredients in these products remove the protective layer or wax on your exterior, leaving it vulnerable to harmful elements.
Park your car under the shade before cleaning, and keep it away from direct sunlight as much as possible. Heat plus moisture can deal a devastating blow to your exterior.
If you drive a big vehicle, like a Ford Ranger, Toyota Tundra, or Dodge Ram, you may want to install protective fender flares to shield the exterior from mud splashes and debris. Check with your local authorities too as some states require trucks, SUVs, and other big vehicles to have fender flares.
Always Dry Your Car after Cleaning
After you wash and rinse your car, always wipe it dry. Don’t leave any droplets or residue as they can dry and leave marks that will take a lot of effort to remove and may even damage your finish.
And as mentioned earlier, moisture coupled with heat will damage the paint. The combination of both can cause oxidation, dulling the paint and leaving ugly white splotches on the exterior. Once it worsens, it will strip off any protective layer, and then rust will develop.
Use a Clay Bar
Even after thoroughly washing, wiping, and rinsing your car, there will still be microscopic contaminants sticking stubbornly on the exterior. The insidious pollutants worm their way in through the surface and stay there stubbornly even after several washes and polishing. But these contaminants can be removed using an automotive clay bar.
These clay bars aren’t made of clay, but of engineered resin mixture. They have the consistency of clay, so they can be flattened, rolled, and molded into different shapes. These clay bars are used together with a lubricant spray. After applying the lubricant, you can flatten a clay bar and rub on the surface of your car to remove even the most stubborn pollutants.
Check out this car cleaning guide to learn more about clay bars, how they work, and how to use them.
Wax is not just for making your car look sleek and shiny. Its primary purpose is to protect the exterior of your vehicle from airborne contaminants. Wax acts as a barrier between your paint and damaging elements in the surroundings. It prevents dirt, grime, bugs, and other corrosive materials from settling on the surface of your car and minimizes whatever damage these things may have caused.
The wax coat on your vehicle also prevents the pain from chipping off whenever debris rolls over your vehicle when you’re driving at a high speed. It lessens the friction, thus causing less damage. It also acts as a filler to even out shallow scratches and “smoothen” the exterior.
How often do you have to apply wax on your car? Many car experts advise waxing your car as often as three times a month. Some experts recommend waxing your car after as often as every month to every two months, depending on a dry season (once every two months) or wet season (once a month).
While wax protects the metal surfaces of your car, it doesn’t shield the vinyl, plastic, rubber, and/or fiberglass parts, such as the rearview mirrors, headlights, trims, window moldings, and tires. You need to use different protectants for these parts to provide full-bodied protection to your exterior.
Fortunately, there are plenty of these products available in the market. You can apply them at home with a clean rag, using a circular motion. Before you buy one or some, though, make sure that the product is compatible with the surface of your car to prevent damage. Consult the manufacturer’s manual, or talk to an expert from your car service center to ask for recommendations.
Although wear and tear are inevitable, you can keep the finish of your car sleek and shiny by following the steps above. Regular followed by manually drying is the most basic thing you can to preserve the exterior of your vehicle.
The next best thing you can do is to protect your car from damage by waxing the exterior every on two to three months or so. Experts also recommend getting your car detailed at least two to three times a year for a more thorough cleaning and maintenance.