For many people, a car might just be a way to get from A to B. But for some of us, it’s more than that. It’s a hobby, a luxury, something we enjoy spending time in and something we’ve spent a significant amount of money on. So keeping it looking nice is important, and good paintwork is of course a big part of that. It doesnt matter how great your car is, if it’s covered in scratches and dings then it will never look its best. Here are some of the ways you can avoid that problem, and maintain your car’s paint.
Regular, gentle washing
Regular washing is the first thing to think about when it comes to car paint care- but it’s crucial to strike the balance between frequency and gentleness. For most people, washing the car once a week works well, but you would adjust that if you needed to- for example if your vehicle is exposed to harsh elements like salt, residue from trees or bird droppings then wash it more frequently. If you have the budget, taking your car to be washed by professionals (don’t use general car washes as these are likely to cause damage) but proper hand car washes means that you have peace of mind that the right products and tools are being used. But to save money and get the satisfaction of doing it yourself then its worth researching how to go about it. A high-quality, pH balanced car wash soap and a soft, microfiber wash mitt will prevent swirls and scratches- being too rough can damage the paint’s clear coat. Rinse the car thoroughly before washing to remove loose dirt and grime, this reduces the risk of scratching during the washing process. The two-bucket method is a great technique for maintaining your car’s paintwork too. Fill one bucket with soapy water and another with clean water. Dip the wash mitt into the soapy water, wash a section of the car, then rinse the mitt in the clean water before returning to the soapy bucket. This prevents dirt and debris from contaminating the soapy water and reducing the chance of getting scratches. After washing, don’t let your car air dry or use a dirty old towel to wipe it down. Invest in a soft microfiber drying towel, start from the top and work your way down. Gently blot the water rather than rubbing it as this minimises the risk of water spots and swirl marks.
Don’t overlook polishing
Polishing is an important step to both revive and enhance the shine of your car’s paint. It helps remove light scratches, oxidation and buffs out minor imperfections which leaves the surface smoother and more reflective. Choose a high quality polish that’s suitable for your car’s paint type; apply it in small sections and working it into the paint with gentle, overlapping motions.
Seal with wax or sealant
Once you’ve polished your car to perfection, you can protect your hard work with a sealant or wax over the top. These products provide a sacrificial layer that shields the paint from UV rays, contaminants, and environmental damage. Sealants will give you longer lasting protection ranging from several months up to a year so a great hassle free choice. Wax provides a deep, warm shine and a more traditional look but it’s less durable than sealants. For the best protection possible you can even apply a sealant and a wax, using the sealant as the base layer for longevity and the wax as a topcoat for a perfect finish.
Store and park your car carefully
Do you have a garage at home but find that you never use it? Spending a few extra minutes doing this each evening will not only protect it from being stolen but will protect the paint and condition too. Whenever you can, park your vehicle in a garage or covered area to shield it from harsh sunlight, rain and bird droppings. If you don’t have a garage at home, having a car port built can give some protection without the cost or planning needed that a full garage would need to have. When you’re parking outdoors, choose shaded spots- parking in covered car parks or near buildings for example can provide that much needed shade that will preserve your paintwork and also keep the interior cooler, making your driving experience more comfortable. If you live in a sunny part of the world, this is something that’s worth making a daily habit. Think about using a car cover if you plan to leave your car unused for a longer period, this is something to consider if you have a car that you only use for part of the year or that isn’t your daily driver. Go with the exact cover to fit your car’s model as this will fit the best and give you the best level of protection.
It’s not always possible to avoid scrapes and damage when you’re out on the road, sometimes accidents happen and other times other people’s neglectful driving and actions can be to blame no matter how careful you are. But there are some ways you can reduce the chances of your car becoming damaged. Maintain a safe following distance, as driving too closely to the car in front of you increases the risk of things like stone chips and debris hitting your car’s front end. Leave a safe following distance to reduce the chance of rock chips and other road debris damaging your paint. Drive at less busy times of the day if you can when there’s less traffic, and avoid construction zones and gravel roads. Loose gravel, stones, and debris can be kicked up by passing vehicles and damage your paintwork as well as risk your car’s windscreen.
Park with caution
Lots of car damage doesnt even happen on the roads, it can happen when you’re parked and out doing something outside of the car. People bumping your car while reversing out of bays or opening car doors onto your vehicle can cause heaps of damage. The problem with a lot of car parks is they’re a tight squeeze, and cars now are much bigger so bays are tight. If you have the option to park further away from shops or exits then do this as there’s usually less competition for the space and you’re less likely to get someone park right next to you and scrape your car. Choose car parks with cctv if possible just in case anything does happen, the other driver will have to cover your costs.