8 Car Care Tips to Keep Your Car Looking Showroom New

That spanking new car can look just like it did in the showroom twenty years from now if you start the right maintenance program now. It’s far easier to keep a car looking shiny and new than to try to restore it once paint fades, seats wear and the dashboard cracks. Start as soon as possible, but it’s never too late.

1. Avoid Washing in the Sun

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Image via Flickr by thisisbossi

One common mistake by well-meaning car owners is to wash the car in the driveway, right in the blazing sun. This causes the soap to dry on the paint and makes the surface look dingy and drab. Find a shady spot or wait until it’s cloudy outside.

2. Use a Car Washing Formula

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Image via Flickr by ewan traveler

Too many car owners use dishwashing detergent, household cleaners or shampoo. Doing so can cause permanent damage to the paint. Invest in a car washing product. Each product is different, so follow the instructions on the package.

3. Clean the Interior First

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Image via Flickr by themarina

Since we’re excited to see the car clean, it’s tempting to grab the hose and start on the outside. This is a mistake, because the dust and dirt from the interior will just coat the exterior when we vacuum. Start inside with carpets and mats. Then clean the upholstery, followed by a good dusting of the dashboard, knobs and vents. Air compressors work miracles on dusty interiors, and cotton swabs are excellent for nooks and crannies in vents, around gear shifts and on knobs.

4. Clean Wheels Before Painted Surfaces

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Image via Flickr by thisisbossi

The tires and wheels are the dirtiest parts, so it’s important to get this crud out of the way before washing the painted surfaces. Use whitewall cleaner even if you’ve got blackwall tires for the best results. Follow with a wheel cleaner formulated for the material your wheels are made of (especially alloy, which can be damaged by the wrong product). Shine up wheel wells with vinyl polish, a trick employed by the pros.

5. Wash Top to Bottom

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Image via Flickr by thisisbossi

Start washing the roof, then work towards the hood and trunk, then down the doors and bumpers. Tiny particles too small to see that have splashed up on the bumpers and lower doors can cause quite visible scratches on the car, but starting at the top and working down washes them away before they can scratch the surface.

6. Clean Glass Last

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Image via Flickr by paulswansen

Non-smokers are often surprised how dingy their windows look after a few months. This film is caused by the plastics and chemicals used to make the dashboard and other components. Remove this with a newspaper after the interior and exterior of the car are completely clean for a fully finished new car shine. Avoid ammonia based cleaners, especially on tinted windows.

7. Protect Surfaces with Wax

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Image via Flickr by Jim Bauer

Wax and polish are your fortresses against dirt, debris, scratches and the weather. Two coats is ideal, because one coat is inadequate protection and more cause a dull look. Use specialized products for vinyl, leather and wood in the interior.

8. Keep Your Car Covered

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Image via Flickr by hpeguk

All the wax and polish in the world are no substitute for car covers. Covers protect the paint and interior from fading in the sun and keeps dashboards from cracking. Covers also keep off tree sap, which damages the paint, bird droppings and debris blowing in the wind.

With this loving care, your car will look as good two decades from now as it does today.

References:

http://www.progressive.com/vehicle-resources/car-appearance.aspx

http://www.trucktrend.com/features/advice/163_0706_3m_car_care_tips/viewall.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_4495392_protect-car-paint.html

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