Tips for Caring for Your Car’s Exterior

February 11, 2019

Tips for Caring for Your Car’s Exterior

Protect Car Paint From the Sun – When your paint looks good your vehicle looks good but when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays it can begin to break the paint down and cause it to fade. A garage is your first line of defense but most of us don’t have a garage. The next best thing is to use a car cover, which can protect it from all of the elements.

Washing Your Car

Washing your car makes it look nice, but it has a much more important function removing dirt and debris that can scratch your paints surface. You should also wash your vehicle during the winter months so the sand, road salt, and slush is removed before it can damage your paint finish. It’s easiest if you can visit a car wash but it can be done at a home with a bucket of warm water as long as the temperature is above zero. Use a mild soap designed for washing your car. At least a few times a year you should use tire and rim cleaner.

Waxing Protects Your Car

Wax is important to your car’s paint. It not only makes the paint look new it also slows down oxidation and it creates a barrier that protects your paint from pollution, sap, bird droppings, etc. Here’s what to do to get the best protection:

  • While liquid waxes may be tempting because you can get a nice shiny car with a lot less work, the bottom line is that paste wax is stronger, harder, and lasts much longer. Look for a past that’s high in carnauba wax.
  • Next using a sponge apply a very thin coat of wax to the paint. Make sure it’s even, and don’t apply too thick (a common mistake). If you apply it too thick it’s really hard to remove all of the residue.
  • A soft cloth works best to remove the dry wax. It won’t scratch the paint.
  • Because the wax on the hood wears away quicker from the engine heat, it’s a good idea to apply an extra couple of coats of wax to the hood.
Put a New Skin on Your Car

Paint is vulnerable but there is a way to protect the areas that tend to see the most stone chips using a self-adhesive urethane film. These urethane films are best applied professionally; however, if you are handy at this type of thing you can give it a try yourself. 3M™ and Scotchgard™ both make a product. Once it’s applied to the vehicle you can wash and wax as normal.

Touch up Nicks

Even when we are ultra careful nicks occur to our paint. Touch-up paint is available and for newer vehicles it’s pretty easy to match up colors. Use touch up paint to touch up nicks before the rust can begin to rust.

Quick Repair for Light Covers

If you find yourself with a cracked turn signal or taillight cover you can replace the entire You can use tape to do the repair, which will hold you over until you can properly repair it. You must use the orange or red tape that is made for this. Others will not adhere.

Changing Bulbs Properly

When you are changing burnt out bulbs, clean away dirt. If the socket has become corroded use a small wire brush or steel wool to clean away corrosion. Then wipe away the debris and install the replacement bulb.

Preparing Small Chips in the Windshield

Rock chips or cracks in the windshield can impede visibility and when left unattended they tend to get much larger when temperatures change. It’s a lot cheaper to stop into the windshield repair shop and have a chip or crack repaired, which restores the original integrity of the glass and keeps visibility clear.

When Hauling on the Roof

You might be tempted to overload your roof. Check your owner’s manual for your vehicles specifications. It’s usually somewhere between 150 to 200 lb. or 68 to 90 kg. What does that mean in items? That’s about eighteen 8’ 2x4’s or three ¾” sheets of plywood. To protect the roof you can place a piece of cardboard or a blanket down. You can also invest in a set of luggage racks.

Secure Your Load

Always make sure your load is secured to protect your car’s paint from being scratched or dented. It pays to buy the proper bicycle, cargo, or luggage racks. You can also use cargo straps and place a blanket first to protect the vehicle surface.

Inspect your Wheel Well Splashguards

Splashguards are designed to keep water and slush from splashing up into the engine compartment doing damage to electrical components. For the most part these splashguards are quite flimsy and are often torn off without the driver being aware. You should check these guards on a regular basis and if loose refasten or replace.