A car is a big investment. Whether you just bought a brand new car off the lot or you’re driving your trusty old family car, you want to keep it looking pristine. But life happens, and cars inevitably get dirt and grime on them. If you want to keep your car looking like new, here are 4 easy ways to do it.
1. Regularly wash and wax your car
When it comes to keeping your car looking like new, one of the most important things you can do is regularly wash and wax it. This will protect the paint and make it easier to clean in the future. When choosing a product, be sure to read the ingredients and reviews to make sure you’re getting a quality product that will work well for your car. Here are the things you need:
- Car shampoos can be found at most gas stations or convenience stores. They come in a variety of forms, including liquid, foam, or spray. Simply apply the wash to your car, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse off with water. Some good shampoos you can use are Chemical Guys Honeydew Snow and Armor All Car Wash Formula, priced at $20 and $28 respectively. If possible, wash your car at least once every two weeks, and try to sneak in a wash after a spell of rainy days and driving on muddy roads.
- Detailers are designed to give your car a deep clean. They typically come in a spray bottle and are applied to the entire car. After letting it sit for a few minutes, you’ll then need to wipe it off with a cloth. They are typically more expensive than car shampoos because they are also much faster to use. Meticulous car owners even go as far as washing their car with shampoo first, drying it, then using a detailer such as Meguiar’s A3316 Quik Detailer, priced at around $15 for only 16 ounces. These can be used in the interior to clean most surfaces, too!
- Glass cleaners are designed to leave no streaks or residue on glass, so they are perfect for cleaning your windshield, mirrors, windows, and lights. Many of these products also leave behind a protective coating. They work great for any dried bugs and animal droppings on your windshield, too. Use these after washing your car with shampoo to remove any residue. The most popular glass cleaners are Stoner Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner (priced at around $16) and Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner (pricier than most others, at around $60). These are usually used in the interior, too!
- Waxes are another option for protecting your car’s paint. Waxes come in both liquid and paste forms, and work by creating a protective barrier over the paint. Apply it every two to three months, depending on how often you drive your car. After washing and detailing, this is the last step. The most popular these days are Meguiar’s G7016 Gold Class Carnauba Plus Premium Liquid Wax (priced at $16) and Mother’s California Gold Pure Brazilian Carnauba Liquid Wax (priced at $21).
- Degreasers strip away old wax from your car’s coat and expose the original finish. Degreasers can be found at most hardware stores and come in both liquid and spray forms. Simply apply degreaser to the car, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse off with water. You only need to do this before reapplying wax; using it any other time leaves your paint exposed to the elements. On the other hand, not using it leaves layers of old wax on your car’s coat, which may eventually become chunks or stains. This product is also used before paint correction or before applying paint protection coating like ceramic coating.
As for what kind of equipment you should use, it’s enough to use a water hose and a bucket for soap. You do not need a foaming machine, but it’ll definitely make the job faster. Avoid using pressure washers since a high-pressure jet may strip off paint or get water into places that you don’t want it to go. Try to use different rags for each different product, and preferably, get microfiber or chamois to avoid leaving micro-scratches on your car’s coat.
2. Vacuum regularly and get rid of trash as soon as possible
Always pick up trash at the end of every trip, short or long. Don’t let empty water bottles, fast food wrappers, and other trash build up in your car — it’s both unsightly and unhygienic. If you let trash accumulate in your car, it’ll eventually attract pests like ants, cockroaches, and even mice. In addition, sodas form a sticky, somewhat-smelly residue once they dry up, and they can discolor your upholstery.
Apart from picking up trash, try to vacuum the interior at least once a week or after every long and messy trip. You do not want crumbs staying on the floor, nor do you want sand and dirt building up into crusty flakes on the floor that send up motes of dust whenever touched. If you want a more thorough clean, you can bring your car to a car detailer and have them wash the interior and vacuum it. While you can do interior detailing at home, it will take a lot of time without a carpet extractor. You will need carpet shampoo, too.
Vacuuming should be done regularly, especially if you have kids who like to eat snacks on car rides or pets who shed. Not only will this keep your car looking and smelling nice, but it will also help with allergies!
3. Wash your upholstery
If you have kids or pets, consider investing in some seat covers to protect your upholstery from spills and stains. In addition, if you use fabric seat covers, take them off at least every one to two weeks or immediately after something spills on them. Wash them like you would wash clothes. That way, they won’t smell like sweat or dirt, and you’ll quickly remove any stains.
4. Park in the shade whenever possible
Long-term exposure to harsh sunlight and rain can cause fading and cracking. In fact, drastic changes in temperature make your car’s coat fade faster than it should. Thus, try to park in covered parking or in the shade whenever possible. Be careful about parking under a tree, since your car may become the victim of animal droppings and fallen branches. If possible, use your home’s garage all the time. If it feels like a hassle, get a garage door opener.
By following these simple tips, you can keep your car looking like new for years to come! Do you have any additional tips? Share them with us in the comments below!