Whether you buy a brand-new car fresh off the lot or find a secondhand model that suits your needs, one thing is always the same – a vehicle is a significant financial investment.
Indeed, our cars are often one of our most expensive purchases and make up some of our highest monthly outgoings. With this in mind, taking proper care of our vehicles, and protecting our investment makes perfect sense.
The good news is you can learn how to do this, and keep your car looking and feeling new, both inside and out. All you need to do is follow the suggestions below.
Be mindful of where you park
While finding a spot can often be something of a challenge, parking in the first space you see without considering the impact it could have on your vehicle is not recommended. One reason for this is a poorly chosen parking space can leave your vehicle vulnerable to dents, and scratches, especially if you are close to the entryway of a building.
Similarly. Parking under trees may seem like a good idea, as it could keep the interior of your vehicle cool, but the potential damage from bird droppings and tree sap can burn the paint and finish of your car.
Protect your paint
While we are on the subject of safeguarding the paint on your vehicle, applying a layer of paint and clear coat protection can go a long way to keeping your car looking and feeling new. Threw are two protection options to choose from including waxes, and paint sealers.
Waxes are easy to get hold of in your local garage or even supermarket and come in paste or liquid forms. Waxes work by creating a protective barrier between your car’s paint and clear coat, which safeguards it against damage from the elements like sun, rain, ice, and even salt. Some waxes like carnauba are natural while others are synthetically created for optimized results.
Paint sealers work in a very similar way to waxes, but are designed to last much longer. Usually, around 6 months, compared to a few weeks for wax. Some vehicle owners prefer this as it means they do not have to do so much upkeep to make sure their car looks new.
Invest in floor mats
Another easy way to keep your car looking and feeling new for longer is to invest in floor mats. Indeed, by using floor mats you will prevent wear and tear in the footwells of your vehicle, which will age them and can be expensive to rectify.
Floor mats come in two types rubber, and carpet. The rubber options are best for the winter, or whichever season is wettest, as they protect the surface underneath from water and mud.
Carpet floor mats are best for dryer seasons ad they’ll offer some protection from dirty shoe soles, but won’t be waterproof.
Wash your car by hand
You may be tempted to take your car to the car wash, and save yourself the effort of hand washing. However, exposing your car’s paintwork to those rough rollers is not the way to keep it looking like new for longer. Instead, you need to take the time to wash your car by hand, and if possible complete this task once every 2-3 weeks.
To wash your car by hand properly you will need to make sure that you complete the job in the shade. This is because intense sunlight on a wet car can cause paint damage. You’ll need to do more than just wash the paintwork as well, including removing all the salt from the wheels and surrounding wells, and was as cleaning the door jams too.
Last, of all, you will need to take the time to dry your vehicle. To do this you will need two microfiber clothes. Use the first one to soak up any water remaining on your vehicle, and then switch to the second to buff and shine once it’s dry.
Make sure your car isn’t left to the elements
To keep the outside of your vehicle looking fresh and new for longer it also makes sense to protect it from the elements by either storing it in a garage or carport when not in use. However, not everyone has access to these facilities so a good compromise can be a good quality car cover.
Car covers can be custom-made to fit your specific vehicle and are ideal if you often use street or driveway parking. They will protect your vehicle from scratches, debris, and even UV damage, and if you choose a well-insulated option it can make getting reading to leave in the morning during the frozen weather a lot quicker and easier as well.
A good car cover will even help preserve the inside of your car as well as the outside, as it will stop the fabric on your seats, and other interior finishes from fading due to sun exposure.
Get a perfect finish with a clay bar
Clay bars are an essential item to invest in, you want to keep the outside of your vehicle looking new. This is because they contain micro-abrasives that perfectly polish the paintwork and even windows, giving you that fresh-off-forecourt finish.
However, clay bars do need to be used properly to be effective, and to ensure they do not cause damage to your paintwork. This means applying them along with the proper lubricant, and only after you have hand wash your car.
The good news is that you won’t need to clay bar the exterior of your vehicle every time you wash it. Instead set aside some time to complete the process 3-4 times a year if you want your vehicle to stay looking like new for a long time.
Monthly intense cleaning
Your car will stay looking, and feel new most effectively if you give it a good intense interior clean about once a month. The first task you need to complete for this is to wash down the interior including the dashboard and console with a microfiber cloth. For smaller areas, you can use a paintbrush, or even cleaning slim which is designed to reshape the curves and crevices of your interior and pick up all the dust and debris that would otherwise be hard to reach.
Lastly, be sure to replace your car’s air fresheners at this point. There are of course a whole selection of car air fresheners to choose from including high-end brand and supermarket regulars. Although if you are looking to combine great air freshening power with a touch of personalization then an instafreshener is ideal.
An instafreshener is a personalized air freshener that you can customize with your text, pictures, and photos. It’s a product that allows you to add that little personal touch to your car while making sure the interior smells fresh as the day it rolled off the lot.
Clean the inside of your windows
Once you have done a basic but intense cleaning of your car’s interior there are some other tasks you will need to complete. The first of these is to give the inside of your windows a good clean. Be sure to always use a glass cleaner that has been designed for car glass to do this. Otherwise, you could end up removing the tint from your windows, and damaging them.
Treat your plastic, vinyl, and leather well
The interior of your vehicle is likely home to plastic, vinyl, and/or leather features. You must properly treat these if they are to remain in good condition over time.
What this means is you will need to find and use the correct product for each. Indeed, by using a product specifically crafted to clean the vinyl elements of your car’s interior you will help to protect it from the sun’s rays, and increase its longevity.
Leather conditioner is also very useful because it’s designed to keep the leather parts of your car supply, and flexible and will stop it from drying out or cracking over time.
Clean your seats
Your seats get plenty of wear and tear as you use your car, and that means regularly cleaning them is a must. However, it is vital to remember that cleaning needs to be done carefully and gently. After all, car seats are expensive to replace so you won’t want to cause any damage during the cleaning process.
With that in mind, it’s best to use the appropriate type of clean for the material that your seats are made from. It’s also best to gently loosen the stains with a brush, and then blot them out, rather than scrubbing them too hard. Always test any cleaner or technique on the underside of your seat, where it’s hidden from view before you use it on the visible parts.
While it may take a little extra effort to go through the steps outlined above, it’s well worth it for the benefits you will achieve. Indeed, by properly taking care of your vehicle you will ensure that it looks and feels new for the longest time, both inside and out.