As a car owner, you’ll want to do everything you can to keep your car looking brand new for as long as you can. Maybe you want to clean up your used car or keep your new car in pristine condition from day one. Either way, you’ll want to keep your paint gleaming, the interior smelling fresh, and the wheels shining. Unfortunately, keeping your car’s exterior looking good as new for years to come requires a lot of time and dedication.
Here are some expert insights on how to take care of your car’s exterior and interior to ensure it looks new for as long as it can.
Steam cleaning is one of the best forms of preventative maintenance for your car. Dust, dirt, and grime often build up both in your vehicle’s interior and exterior spaces, especially around the windows, door handles, air vents, and other areas you can’t get to with regular cleaning or detailing. Get yourself a quality car steam cleaner to get rid of tough upholstery stains, get rid of odors, and remove dust and grime that builds up with day-to-day use.
If you’re used to leaving clutter such as food containers, charger cables, product packaging, napkins, water bottles, and more inside your car, get rid of them immediately. On the exterior, bird droppings, tree sap, and other splotches can be unsightly. Clean them right away as they’re hard to remove once they are dry and set. They may also contain acids that damage your car’s finishing. Use mild soap and lots of water to gently scrape away the splotches and deposits on your car’s paint.
Get into a regular routine of cleaning your car properly. At least once a week is recommended to remove any dust, grime, or dirt that you may have picked up on the road. Regularly washing your car ensures your car’s paint and finish last longer. Use the right cleaning products that are not harsh on your paint finish, and use a separate wash cloth for cleaning wheels. Cleaning your car is crucial, especially when the weather is extreme, such as during the wet winter months and dusty summers.
When it comes to drying your car after washing it, it’s best to avoid drip-drying in the sun. It’s an easy option, but not good for your paint job. When the water droplets evaporate, they leave minerals, dirt and unsightly marks on your paint job. After washing and rinsing your car, follow through with thorough drying using a microfiber towel. Unlike other regular drying towels, microfiber towels also pick up any grit and particles left after rinsing.
Of course, regularly cleaning your car will not always eliminate all the dirt, dust, and grime that gets into the nooks and crannies of your vehicle. Inspect your trim lines, recesses, window edges, mirrors, air vents, and other areas where a typical cleaning job misses. To clean these small spaces, opt for DIY cleaning – wrap a cloth around any old screwdriver with no sharp edges, spray an all-purpose car cleaner on the cloth, and gently move it along the trip lines to clean the gunk. Don’t forget all those small buttons, controls, and window corners as well.
Automotive carpets don’t let go of dirt easily by vacuuming alone. To remove most of the dirt that gets left behind, use a stiff brush and scrub the carpet as you vacuum. Then, use a carpet cleaning machine to remove the deeper dirt that settles on the carpet fibers. Spray the carpet with water and the right cleaning solution, and then suck up all the grime and dirt. Do this on your upholstery as well, to give your interior a fresh look.
While Kevlar was originally designed to stop bullets, it’s increasingly being used by car owners to add a thin protective coating on the exterior of their vehicle for enhanced protection against scratches, dents, and other damage. Kevlar protection coating is available in a range of colors allowing for customization in any style you want. The coating doesn’t fade or peel over like typical car paint. The coating lasts and looks like new for years to come.
Wheels are one of the most neglected areas of your vehicle during a DIY car detailing and cleaning session. A simple wash may do the job to get rid of dirt, but isn’t enough to get your wheels looking new again. Wheels and wheel covers are exposed to dirt and flying gravel that may cause damage to your car. A professional wheel refinishing job is recommended to fix carb damage, chips, scratches, scrapes, and dings. Solutions such as PVD wheel chroming offers another layer of protection that lasts for years.
Your car’s hood, doors, and side mirrors are the most vulnerable to damaging paint chips from flying road debris. One great way to prevent these chips on a new car is to apply a thin, transparent, rubbery film over the car’s surface to protect the vehicle in the first place. But if you already have the chips in your paint, you should fix them immediately to prevent rust spots from forming in the years to come. When you notice paint chips, repair them right away using DIY kits, widely available online.
Here’s how to repair small paint chips:
- Clean the paint chips first using water and mild soap
- Use a soft microfiber or cotton cloth to dry the chips
- Rub a recommended polishing compound over the paint chips
- Clean the finish using denatured alcohol
- Apply a small amount of primer on the chipped spot and let it dry for 30 minutes
- Get the right color touch-up paint and either spray or paint it on
- Apply a second coat of paint and let it cure for a few days, and gently polish it
It’s easy to tell when it’s time to replace your wiper blades. If they’re not wiping clean or they are leaving streaks, then it’s time to get new ones. Instead of going for the cheapest option, invest in name-brand wiper blades that come with a higher-quality rubber strip. These will wipe more effectively, have better UV protection, and will last for years. Good blades will ensure better visibility when you need it most.
When you’re using your vehicle every day to haul kids to school and carry groceries and other personal items, your seats are likely to be the first place to wear out. Factory seat covers can quickly get grungy and show their age. If a simple upholstery cleaning job doesn’t do the trick to refresh your seats, there are few options available to you: get a professional to reupholster your seats or get new seat covers, the latter being much more simple and economical.
After giving your car a fresh look both inside and out, don’t forget to properly clean your windows, windshield, and mirrors. There’s a reason why car detailing experts clean the glass last. Cleaning your windows at the very end helps remove all the cleaning treatments and oversprays you may have left, to ensure sparkling clean windows and mirrors. Use a glass cleaner on a microfiber rug and rub and wipe the glass gently.
Taking care of your car’s interior and exterior is a great way to keep it looking new for years to come. In addition to that, ensure you stay up-to-date on the regular maintenance your car needs to keep it running smoothly for as long as possible. If you love your car, taking these steps to keep your car in the best condition possible should not be a challenge.
Having a great looking car is not only personaly satisfying, it will also make your car even more attractive to potential buyers when it comes to time to sell. Whether you opt for DIY or professional detailing solutions, you’ll be happy about the end result if you know it has been done well.