car oaintYou’ve finally gotten that new car, or freshened up your old car with a new paint job, and you’re probably thinking how can I make it look this good forever? Well, not to worry, here are some easy maintenance tips on how to keep your car looking like new.

First off, keep it clean. Wash your car about once a week. It’s important to frequently clean your car to keep it looking good. Avoid washing in direct sunlight, since the sun will dry up your soap and water too quickly causing spotting. After rinsing the loose dirt off,  use a gentle automotive soap and water with a microfiber cloth, cotton rag, or sponge for scrubbing. After rinsing with water, dry with another microfiber cloth or cotton rag. Make sure to get the soap and water residue completely wiped off, so you don’t leave stains that can hurt your car’s paint.

Follow it up with a coat of wax. This will give your car a beautiful shine while also protecting from harmful UV rays (discoloration, fading, and oxidation), scratches, bug splatters, and gifts from overhead birds. Choose a liquid wax, as they are  gentler on the car’s finish and easier to apply and buff off. Though a paste wax does offer a shinier finish but is more of a chore to apply. At a minimum, you should apply wax twice a year. Once in the spring before the hot summer temperatures hit, and once before winter to protect against the snow and salt. If you’d like to go above and beyond, then you could apply every three months for added protection. Typically wax lasts three to six months after applying, depending on your car’s exposure to the elements. Leaving your car in the shade will extend the life span of the wax, as frequent direct sunshine will require a reapplication of wax sooner. Parking your car in a garage, carport, or utilizing a quality car cover will help extend the life of your paint job.

You could also consider using a paint sealant rather than wax. This will produce a glassy look if applied correctly lasting about six months. The downside is that paint sealants can highlight scratches and paint imperfections and does require more prep work than waxing.

Keep an eye out for debris that accumulates on your car. Between washing and waxing, look for anything that may end up on your car. Clean off any bird droppings or tree sap immediately. Bird droppings contain substances that are highly acidic and can damage your car’s paint, even if it has a clear-coat paint finish. The longer tree sap sits on your car, the harder it is to remove, not to mention that it can leave unsightly stains. You can use cleaning wipes that are specially designed to remove bird poo or tree sap without harming your car’s paint. You can also clean bird excrement off the car with a soft cloth dipped in club soda, and for tree sap, you can use soap and hot water.

You could consider going a step above car wax by using a synthetic coating. It has the same effects as waxing, but lasts for two to five years. Synthetic coating is more water resistant and more scratch resistant than wax, and it will protect your vehicle from tree sap, tar, and bug splatter. Applying this coating is more expensive than waxing your car. To save some money, you can apply synthetic coating yourself, but it does require a lot of prep work and research to make sure you are using a high-quality product to get the results that you are looking for. If you want to go for this longer lasting option, consider having a professional do it for you. It will save a lot of time and headache.

Keep your paint job looking new with these tips, and enjoy your ride. Give us a call today with your questions!