How to keep your car looking new
By Mark Barger, Owner Visual Pro Detailing
So, you bought the new, or new to you car. It looks great. You want to keep it looking that way, but you are in no way, shape, or form a professional detailer. What can be done to keep your ride looking its best for years to come?
1, Stop the automatic washes, especially the brush washes.
The #1 source of damage, discoloration, swirl marks, and fading I see in vehicles as a professional detailer comes from automatic car washes with abrasive brushes that rub against the surface.
Think about this… you go into one of these washes, the flaps that rub against your cars expensive paint look harmless, what is the worst that can happen?
The problem is not the flaps themselves, it’s the 50-dirt covered, mud covered, grit covered cars that went before you in the car wash that accumulated thousands of nasty bits of grit and grime into those flaps. All that dirt is now rubbing against your cars paint, creating swirl marks, scratches, and marring. All the sudden your flawless paint is looking horrible, especially in direct sunlight.
2. Hand wash with grit guards, micro fiber towels, and learn to rinseless wash.
Using what is called a grit guard when hand washing, which is a plastic insert which goes into the bottom of your wash bucket, can save your cars paint from the built-up dirt in your wash mitt.
By pushing your wash mitt against the grit guard after each section of washing, you are putting that grit into the bottom of your wash bucket, instead of rubbing it back into your paint, causing swirl marks.
Using large microfiber drying towels instead of bath towels or chamois is also a must. Chamois are very absorbent but can also absorb dirt very easily. When this dirt is then pushed up against your paint, it can create unsightly swirl marks very easily.
Rinseless wash is also an extremely easy, fast, and water spot risk free way to wash your car. The easiest way to understand how to rinseless wash is to look up my videos on YouTube under Visual Pro Detailing.
3. Keep the car waxed, sealed, or have it ceramic coated.
While I’m not a fan of traditional wax, having some sort of protection on your vehicle always to protect against damaging UV rays is better than nothing.
I would recommend if you are not willing to go all out and have a professional detailer apply a long-term ceramic coating for you, to use a silica-based spray sealant, such as Gtechniq c2v3, or IGL Premier. These products are extremely easy to apply, last for a very long time, and are much more durable and protective than any wax.
4. Keep it in a covered garage or car port, if possible.
I know this is not always possible, but UV rays are some of the most destructive environmental factors that can cause your vehicle to look “worn out”. Keeping it out of the sun, and out of the elements as much as possible can be very beneficial for the long-term durability of the exterior surfaces.
5. Decontaminate it when needed, or on a regular schedule.
Clay barring and other forms of chemical decontamination can keep harmful iron particles, tar, road film, sap, and other contaminants off the surfaces of your vehicle. Clay bar kits can be found at many local retailers but do require sometimes several hours to properly use.
6. Regularly vacuum and wipe down the interior.
One of the most damaging things to your carpets and floor mats is when dirt gets “ground” into the surfaces and eventually wears out the surface because of abrasion. One of the easiest fixes to this issue is to regularly vacuum your cars interior, especially focusing on removing any rocks or large dirt particles that feet will inevitably push into the carpets.
7. Have a professional detailer regularly maintain, clean, and protect your vehicle.
Although truly skilled and professional detailers may not be cheap, your time and energy are priceless. Find a professional detailer that you trust and have him or her regularly maintain your vehicle to keep it at its highest level.
Having your detailer apply a protective ceramic coating to the exterior of your vehicle can also be a big upfront investment but can lead to much lower maintenance costs down the road since you will not have to regularly wax or seal the vehicle.
-Mark Barger, Owner of Visual Pro Detailing
1518 Davis Ave, Johnston City, IL