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Buying a car is a very big achievement for many of us. We spend a good sum of money on it, be it savings or anything else and in return we expect it to maintain our pride. Also, we wish it to last as long as we think it should and be of use to us. But as we use it, those school bags, shopping bags, trips, food, in the car games, and all kinds of other stuff does make it messy and affect its condition. The grease and dirt in the corners, on the seats and every other possible area, goes on accumulating.
The case is even worse with the exterior of the car. All those scratches, swirl marks, damaged paint makes the car look like 6-7 year old even if its just a year old. It makes us think that is this an investment with just loss? I think absolutely not if you take proper care of the car from day one.
We bought a car around 2-3 years back. Like anyone, we were obsessed with it. We always wanted our old car look good as new. But we just expected everything without giving anything in return.
The deteriorating condition of the car made me feel that we were lacking something. And that something was proper care and maintenance.
This realization was followed by a proper schedule of car cleaning and maintenance. But what did we do?
Obviously, that is the thing that I will further talk about. Well, none of these is rocket science. These are simple things which you need to do regularly to have your old car look good as new even after 4-5 years. And the perfect time to start caring for your car is today onwards!
Proper exterior washing
I wash the car occasionally to remove the dirt and filth. But it’s not like that I just grab a brush, some detergent water, and then scrub vigorously the entire car ending up with the paint getting damaged. This method is the best cause of swirl marks.
So to avoid this, grab a good car washing shampoo, a microfiber wash mitt and microfiber drying towels. Be gentle while washing the car and if using any product, always apply it to the cleaning instrument rather than applying it directly to the car. This gives you a better control of the product on the car.
Use a separate bucket for the car wash shampoo solution and cleaning the wash mitt to increase the cleanliness and much better results.
After washing the car, don’t leave it to dry on its own. Instead, wipe it with a clean cloth.
I used to do exterior cleaning twice or sometimes just once a month(I am lazy). You can shift to more or less depending on that layer of dust on your car. Or use the rule- wash when the car looks dirty.
Never ever clean a dusty car with a dry cloth. The dust particles will move around with the cloth, causing dust and swirl marks, which leads to the bad look of the paint. Clean the car with a clean wet cloth for a quick wash.
Get to the difficult interior washing
Yes, I totally agree that interior cleaning is a lot more hard work than exterior cleaning. But you have to do it because that’s the environment you are going to get when you are on the wheels.
This care is less for me in terms of frequency obviously because it is more time consuming and a little bit difficult. I do it once in 2-3 months. And this frequency works for me because I try not to litter my car on an everyday basis. I do bits of cleaning almost every day but then too it makes its way to getting dirty someday, thus leading to deep cleaning every 2-3 months.
So the first step is to empty your car. Remove those empty packets and other sorts of garbage. Remove the floor mats and all such other accessories.
Then vacuum cleaner to remove most of the dust. For any stain on the seats, I use water or if necessary, a stain remover.
Though I never faced this problem if you think that the fabrics have faded, use fabric and vinyl paint to renew their look.
I use some brush such as dry paintbrush for areas which are difficult to access.
I clean the dashboard and the windows with a clean cloth moistened in water. For windows, you can even use ammonia free cleaners which don’t affect rubber and leather.
Don’t use any product available for cleaning purposes. It may cause damage. Always, do the proper research before trying anything.
Keeping the needed things
After cleaning, I keep back just those things in the car which I really need. This includes some basic accessories such as some cables, freshener, some papers, wipes for cleaning purpose, a polythene for trash and a first aid kit. Not needed to say, I also keep the papers of the car.
I also keep some seasonal stuff such as an umbrella when it’s the rain time, gloves and other such stuff during the winters. The trunk makes space for an emergency kit.
Perfect parking place
Choosing the proper parking place is very important if you don’t want to repeat the exterior cleaning thing too soon.
I try to avoid parking my car in direct sunlight every time because sunlight affects the coat of paint and also the shine of the interior in the long run. It makes it dull. If you don’t have any other option use a car cover everytime your car is facing the sun.
Other annoying things are the natural rewards of the birds- their shit. Bird droppings are too dangerous for a vehicle. It is a little difficult to protect the car from them but try as much as you can. If you see any bird poop or its marks on your car, clean it immediately with a wet cloth. Don’t be lazy and allow it to stay there for cleaning afterward while washing the car. If you do so, you will just end up damaging your own car. The bird poop will dry up and continue to damage your paint even causing scratches. The same applies to plant sap.
I always cover my car after it has done its work for the day.
No visits to the carwash
I hardly take my car to some car wash garage. Carwash does no benefit to the car. In fact, it damages the car, if not done properly.
Generally, such touchless high-pressure wash is not recommended for dirty cars. Hitting the car with such high pressure of water cause the dirt to push and accumulate in the paint, causing light scratch marks and damage
Avoid eating in the car
Earlier, I didn’t pay attention to it. I didn’t mind anyone eating in the car which was a mistake. Whenever some eatable was consumed, some of it would definitely end up to the floor and many times even on the seats, no matter how careful you try to be.
Tell me one thing. Why cleaning the car becomes a more difficult task?
Because it gets very dirty as the days pass. Isn’t it? And we ourselves are the people who make it dirty. Isn’t it? Dropping snacks, garbage, and all other stuff in the car itself.
So to keep the car in a better condition, I made a no eating in the car rule which I believe even you should adopt from today itself!
Or if it is necessary, in the case of long driving hours for some trip, we stick to dry, non-sticky snacks or foodstuffs which spoils the car less.
Maintaining the exterior shine
Cleaning the car regularly does make the car look good and shiny. But don’t you think that the extra added glossy shine which also protects the painted surface looks awesome. It gives the shine that the car has while it’s in the showroom. So where does this shine comes from? The answer is polishing.
I make sure that the car gets polished once in 6-8 months. It helps in maintaining the shine and giving that layer of protection to the car paint.
Use a good quality polish and apply it with an applicator meant for the purpose. Read the instructions properly before getting to the work.
You can even use wax to make your car shine and provide a layer of protection for the paint.
You don’t need to use both. Use either of them as both of them are designed for the same purpose i.e paint coat protectors.
But make sure to clean the car properly before using any of the two.
Give your car a proper coat of wax or polish for the perfect luster.
If available, you can definitely consider the better alternatives. But make sure to check all the pros and cons of it. Choose wisely.
Clay bar is a good cleaning tool
Clay bars are very much successful in removing dust, dirt and other small particles that have bonded with the paint which then allows the wax or polish to adhere to the surface and work effectively. It gives a good lustrous finish to the car.
You can use clay bars anytime for kicking the dust and dirt particles from your car.
Until now, we were just talking about the looks, interiors, and exteriors. But what about the main thing that drives the car, helps us in carrying out our daily chores, and the list goes on…
Yes, I am talking about the engine, the machines and all of the mechanical stuff.
I send my car for service on a regular basis. Obviously, then they will do all the work such as oiling, tightening the parts, keeping up the performance.
If the car is serviced properly and regularly as and when required, then generally you won’t face any mechanical faults.
Get in a conversation with the car service personnel. After examining, he will advise you properly what should be done and what should not be done to keep up with the well being of your machine.
This is the process which I generally follow to maintain my car. And Yes! I feel that I bought the car recently, so what else is needed.
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Now we hope this post is useful and help you keep your old car look good as new, and if there is something you’d like to ask, email us or let us know in the comments below! We’d be glad to hear from you.