A Beginners Guide to Exterior Car Maintenance

February 21st, 2020 by

Few things feel better than climbing behind the wheel of a freshly cleaned vehicle, but keeping your exterior in pristine condition takes more than the occasional car wash. In this installment of our weekly blog, we will be covering the basics of maintaining a sleek paint job, while also avoiding rust, dirt build-up, and other cosmetic issues.

The first step to keeping your vehicle’s exterior in pristine condition is to get in a routine of washing your car. This should take place every two weeks or so unless you live in an area such as the beach or drive on roads with a strong amount of dust particles and high moisture in the air. If so, you will need to increase the regularly of the car washes to roughly once a week. We know this might seem like a lot, but, the longer dirt and other irritants are on your car, the duller the paint will become and the higher chance the metal underneath could start to rust. Park your car in a shaded area to avoid direct sunlight to stop your cleaning materials from drying out quickly. We suggest using a car wash solution, a microfiber towel, and a soft-bristled brush for those hard-to-clean spots. Avoid using your standard household cleaners as this could lead to the protective wax stripping off.

The next step follows directly behind the first, drying your car. As soon as your car is clean it’s time to grab a fresh microfiber towel and get all the excess water droplets taken care of. This might seem a bit excessive but that water could contain pollutants and minerals that, if allowed to dry, can lead to serious cosmetic damage. Some of the most common types of damage you can see are hard water spots, bonded mineral deposits, and etching.

Hard water spots are the most common damage you will see and look like small chalky marks. These spots are caused by allowing your car to dry without completely wiping down your car. Bonded mineral deposits are caused by water with a higher concentration of minerals drying on the outside your car. These minerals then bond to your car and can corrode the clear coat. If left long enough it will start to dull the color of your paint. Etching is the worst of the three and happens when those droplets are heated up to the point they bake into the surface of the exterior. This can lead to small craters in your paint job and may eventually require an entirely new coat of paint.

If you find yourself dealing with any of these issues, fear not. A professional car wash can help with most of the basic blemishes. If you have tried a professional car wash and are still seeing damage there is hope! Lightly applying a mixture of white vinegar and distilled water with a sponge or microfiber towel will take care of the most serious issues you see. Unfortunately, vinegar can lead to the corrosion of any sealants or wax. With that in mind, it’s time to discuss possibly the most important step of preventive exterior car maintenance: waxing.

There are three common types of wax: spray-on, liquid, and paste. Spray-on wax is the quickest solution to your problem but lacks the durability and cleaning power of its counterparts. Spray-on is good for cars that are regularly cleaned and waxed or are fresh off the lot with very little damage. Liquid car wax is the most popular type in the industry. This is probably due to the higher quality and longevity when compared to spray-on wax. It will require more work and more time to settle in, but, you won’t have to re-apply another coat for a couple of months. For the car enthusiasts and car show competitors out there, wax paste will be the way to go. Wax paste is the most labor-intensive of the three, but the results will speak for themselves. Wax paste is what you will find most professionals using for their show cars and will make your car shine like new. Wax paste is usually known to last longer then wax spray does so if you are already cleaning and detailing your car regularly, then paste should fit in your schedule fine.

We hope this beginner’s guide to exterior car maintenance was as informative as it was educational! We know that, unfortunately, people won’t always have the time for a consistent car care routine that could take hours. Luckily, that is where the Motor Mile Car Wash comes in. With an array of washes to fit anyone’s budget and free vacuum/micro-fiber drying stations, it’s your one-stop-shop for all cosmetic car needs! We also offer monthly unlimited packages ranging from $20-$45 a month that include wax coating, tire shine, rain repellent, and much more. Regardless of the type of wash, you get we are certain your car will come out looking better than before!

If you have any topics you would like to see covered in these posts or tips to exterior car maintenance feel free to email us at [email protected]. As always, thank you for being a loyal customer and we wish you safe travels wherever you go.

Photo by Norbert Buduczki on Unsplash

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