There are a lot of ways to take care of your car, and just as many reasons to do it. Regular maintenance keeps you safe. And caring for the exterior appearance of your car will both help when it comes time to sell the vehicle, and also will make you feel better about driving it.
John Nielsen from the American Automobile Association is here to assure you that maintaining your car’s appearance protests your investment in the long run.
It may seem obvious, but one of your best friends is a simple glass cleaner. Keep one glass cleaner on hand that’s just for your car (The World’s Best Glass Cleaner… really is: check it out!) You’ll be using this cleaner both on the inside and on the outside of the car. Sometimes it can be unclear as to where a stubborn smudge or piece of dirt is, particularly in dealing with the windows or the windshield. Here’s a useful tip: When you’re cleaning the inside of your car, clean up and down only. When you’re cleaning the outside of your windows, clean from left to right. That makes it immediately clear as to whether the smudges are on the inside or the outside of the glass!
Use your glass cleaner at least weekly. Regular cleaning makes it easier to keep your car clean in the long run, and you’ll never have to do a quick sudden cleaning when someone’s about to see your car!
There are as many opinions about waxing as there are cars to wax. There is a real plethora of choices any time you walk into an auto parts store. The real key is this: pick a kind that you like. Everyone has an opinion and, frankly, everyone has a point. You’re the only one who can decide what your car needs. Try out one or two or more brands until you’re satisfied that you have the kind you like best. What’s more important than the brand is how and when you’ll be applying the wax to your car. It has to be cool outside, but not below freezing. You need to apply your wax on a cloudy day or well in the shade, because direct sunlight is bad for the process: it will make the wax dry prematurely and create a smeared, unfinished look. How often should you wax? He recommends once a month. A lot of waxes will say that they last a lot longer than that, even up to a year, but doing it frequently is better for the car.
Other car parts
Don’t neglect the rest of the car! You want to clean your bumpers, your window trim, anything that’s black rubber needs to be carefully cleaned with a dedicated towel or rag.
Why a dedicated one? Because rubber contains carbon and that jet-black color will stay on your rag… and transfer to other parts of the car where you definitely don’t want it.
Cleaning the tires
First you want to clean the wheels themselves. Use soap and water for this, and really give them a good scrubbing. There are some specific cleaners on the market for various types of wheels (aluminum, steel, chrome-plated) and if you’re going to use one of those, make sure it matches with your type of wheels. Soap and water, on the other hand, works on everything.
You can use that same soap and water on the tires, but here you might want to use one of the special products, because they contain a UV inhibitor that will protect your tires and keep them looking good for longer.