Many often speak of car maintenance through the frame of keeping your vehicle moving through thick and thin. Yet people also want their cars to look as good as new. Exterior car maintenance focuses on maintaining an excellent paint job and allowing it to shine whatever the weather.
With Americans paying $1,000 on average per year for car maintenance, it should come as no surprise that regular maintenance will slash the amount you spend annually.
Follow these tips to keep your car looking great.
1. Fight Off Corrosive Substances
Damage to paint doesn’t always come from the blunt force trauma of a rock, tree branch, or bad weather. The most common corrosive substances are animal droppings, such as birds. The longer these corrosive substances sit on your car, the greater the damage becomes.
Another threat comes from the sticky film that appears on cars parked underneath lime trees. This is most problematic during the spring. This sticky substance known as honeydew attracts aphids. The excrement from insects like aphids is terrible enough, but honeydew itself can also leave burn marks on paint jobs in direct sunlight.
The best defense against corrosive substances is to wash your car. Fixing the damage is impossible without the intervention of a professional (typically a complete respray).
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In terms of insect remains, apply an insect remover and simply wipe away anything stuck on the paint.
2. Stop Neglecting Your Paint
Perhaps the most common reason cars begin to look dull and damaged after long periods is neglect. The stereotype of the man washing his car on a Sunday morning is not just something found in TV shows. Car lovers understand the importance of washing their vehicles at weekly intervals.
When you care for your paint correctly, it will be better able to resist external influences. You can reduce the number of touchups simply by washing your car regularly.
Different car models should be washed at different intervals. You can usually refer to your owner manual to learn more about this.
When washing, ensure that anything you clean your car with is also clean. Rags kept in dirty garages may have abrasive substances attached to them, which will only damage the paint further.
3. Wax Your Vehicle Biannually
Wax treatments are a controversial issue among beginners. Many views waxing your car as a waste of money, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Wax is there to seal the uppermost coat of your car’s paint job. It provides an additional layer of protection against external factors. Waxing your vehicle is as simple as following the instructions on the bottle.
Generally, you don’t need to renew your wax treatment if raindrops continue to drip off your car paint normally. However, most people will need to wax their cars twice per year, during the spring and the winter.
If your car is waxed by a trained professional, your waxing job will last longer.
4. Apply a Paint Protection Film to Your Vehicle
Paint protection films are invisible layers of plastic that go over your car’s paint job. These inventions are great for providing an extra layer of protection against whatever the world might throw at your vehicle.
You’ll find that buying a paint protection film in Charlotte, NC, is highly affordable, yet the returns are magnificent.
As helpful as paint protection films are, they’re not a replacement for regular exterior car maintenance.
5. Wash Your Car by Hand
The ritual of washing a car by hand has declined in recent years. Yet it’s the right way to do it because it’s the gentlest option. Utilizing a pressure washer puts strain on the paint and could inadvertently damage the paint.
Pressure washer accidents occur when setting the water pressure to a high setting or the nozzle is held too close to the car. The easiest way to tell whether your pressure washer could harm the paint is by putting your hand in front of it. If the water spray hurts your hand, it will also damage your car.
Instead of opting for the lazy option, wash your car using a mild cleaning agent with a low pH value. Use a soft, well-maintained sponge, brushes, and cloths.
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While it may take longer than simply spraying the car, grabbing your bucket is kinder to your car in the long run.
6. Return the Shine with Car Polish
New cars sitting in a showroom always sparkle because they are regularly polished by the people who work there. Dull paint and the visibility of minor scratches occur when you have failed to polish your car’s paintwork for a while.
Car polish is made up of micro-fine abrasives. In other words, polish allows you to cleanse the paint without causing any damage.
If you have recently freshened up your paint job, you should also aim to polish it because it offers added protection against bad weather.
7. Remove Small Scratches with a Touchup
Some scratches are deep enough to remain visible following treatments like washing, waxing, and polishing. Rather than taking it to a mechanic, there are pens or sprays available commercially that may help. Your mechanic will likely be able to recommend a solution for these types of scratches.
Take note that only the lightest scratches can be removed at home. Paint pens and spray cans can only do so much.
If a full touchup is required, it’s best to take it to a garage. Trained staff can diagnose the extent of the problem and come up with a solution that removes the scratch and reduces the chances of it happening again in the future.
Novices should never attempt major exterior car repairs.
Exterior car maintenance takes time, but you’ll be rewarded with a car that retains its shine long after buying it. The most significant reason vehicles start to look dull is that people neglect their paint jobs.
Regular maintenance keeps your vehicle looking great, but it can also stop costly problems from developing later.
Make sure you always have the services of a great local mechanic in your area who you trust. Do your research and find the team to keep your vehicle in peak condition.