The paint finishes applied today are much more durable than those available 10 or 15 years ago. As a result, even average care can yield great, long lasting results.
Be aware, however, that the more you do to preserve the appearance and lifespan of your vehicle’s paint, the more sales and trade-in value you will receive when it is time to purchase your next vehicle.
Washing. This is the single most important thing you can do to preserve the finish. Hand washing is by far the best. However, if you must use an automatic car wash, stick to those that don’t have any brushes. Hand washing should always be done in a shady area and you will need a clean soft cotton cloth or chamois to dry the vehicle before water spot- ting occurs. (Note: If you have recently had a portion or all of your vehicle painted, do not take it through any automatic wash or wax for 30 days.)
Products to use. Stick with cleaning products that are designed and tested to be used on a car’s finish. Your local O’Reilly’s store offers a good selection.
Avoid parking under trees. Trees provide good shade but they are also the source of tree sap and bird droppings. Depending on what type of tree or what the bird ate that day, either can contain chemicals that will stain or even blister your cars finish if not removed promptly.
Wax Apply car wax as needed. Not only does waxing help restore color and shine, it leaves behind a protective barrier to help prevent scratches, swirl marks and other imperfections that can permanently dam- age your paint finish. Water will bead on a properly waxed vehicle. When beads do not form, it is time to apply another coat. For best results use a wax with high concentration of carnauba.
Paint chips. Gravel on the roads can cause excessive chipping very quickly. Bug shields for your hood as well as mud flaps behind each of your four wheels will help significantly. Parking lots can also cause you dings and paint chips. Buy a bottle of touch up paint to have on hand to protect any spots that are chipped through to the metal; this will help prevent any corrosion or paint issues in the long run.
Professional detailing. If you can afford it, have this done at least once per year. It will usually run between $150 and $250 for an inside/outside detail depending on condition, type of vehicle, and the level of quality you choose. A good detailer will take care of those hard-to-get-at areas that are usually ignored.
Information provided by Adam McRoberts, Ted’s Body Shop Inc., 1007 Eighth St. S.W., Altoona, 515-967-8332.