Q:What is the best way to take care of my car paint?
Quite often I’m asked this question and I’d like to share my thoughts on this subject.
With numerous brands and products out there in the market, there are many different school of thoughts on the proper way to maintain your car paint. Add to that the amount brands available in the market, it can be a daunting task to figure out the best products to choose. Not just that, in this day and age, coating treatments seems to be getting popular as many people out there are not willing to give their cars too much attention but at the same time, want their cars to look great. Typical!
My thoughts on coating.
It’s not for me. 2 reasons. 1 being that it is rather expensive. I have heard of coating treatments that run into the thousands and frankly speaking, I’m not really willing to spend that much on caring for my car paint. And 2, I am not sold on the fact that it can keep my car looking as good as if I were to give it some elbow grease and old school wash, polish and wax. So that’s why I stay away from it. If you have had good experience with it, do kindly comment below for the benefit of our readers.
The way I care for my car paint.
I’m a believer in good ol’ hard work. If you want something, then you need to work for it. So, what do you do for a nice and shiny paint finish. Simple. You need to work to get it it. You can’t expect good things if you’re lazy.
Taking care of your cars paint is similar to taking care of your skin. Make sure it’s clean and protected from the elements. A lot of it has to do with habits and routines.
A word of Caution
- Always test any product on a small inconspicuous area before using it on the entire car.
- Results may differ due to a multitude of possibilities. We are not responsible for any damages incurred.
Step 1 – Wash (Once or twice a week)
- Wash your car at least once a week. Depending on the condition of the place you live in, this may or may not be enough.
- Use paint safe car shampoo from trusted brands.
- Use quality microfiber to dry your car as some cloths have fibers that are harsh enough to scratch your paint.
- Do not let bird droppings and any other contaminants sit for too long. Wipe or rinse it off as soon as you can.
- Use a spray detailer and microfiber cloth to wipe down light contaminants in between washes. This will keep keep it clean for longer.
- Perform the maintenance steps mentioned below for best results.
Top Tip:- Use 2 buckets. 1 with the mixture of car shampoo and water, and another just filled with water. Wash your sponge in the water bucket and wring it before proceeding to get more soapy water. This helps in keeping the sponge clean and not spreading the dirt further onto the car.
Step 2 – Analyze
After a good wash. Analyze your cars paint condition to figure out what products you may need. If your car is relatively new, then all you need to do is wash and wax. If its somewhat neglected, then perhaps some claying and compounding is in order. However, if the clear coat surface itself has started to deteriorate, then the only option really is to repaint the car.
Step 3 – Claying (Optional, only initially)
If you have never tried this, you will be amazed. Claying will remove contaminants that have bonded to the clear coat. Most of the time you can’t see these contaminants.
Top Tip:- First run your fingers over your paint surface lightly. Does it feel smooth? Next, find a piece of thin plastic (like the ones on the outside of cigarette boxes). Run your fingers over the paint again, this time with the plastic between your fingers and the painted surface. You will be able to feel tiny bumps on the surface of the paint. Do this again after claying to feel the difference.
Step 4 – Compounding (Optional, only initially)
This is similar to polishing, except at a stronger level. Compounding is abrasive, so it is not recommended to be done frequently, nor should there be a need to, if you keep a good maintenance routine.
Step 5 – Polishing (Optional, only initially)
This is a milder step, compared to compounding. It is more to getting the surface smooth and shiny. Darker paints should give off that deep shine if you get this step right.
Step 6 – Waxing (Whenever the wax surface has lessen)
This is what I call the protection stage. Possibly the most important step next to washing. If you are consistent in making sure that your car is always waxed properly, your car paint should be able to maintain its shine and last for a long time.
Step 7 – Maintenance (As frequent as possible)
- This is what you do in between washes.
- Using a detailer spray and liquid to wipe away mild contaminants.
- Using a spray-on wax should you find that the surface has started to lose its wax layer. This is only for a quick top up. I’d still recommend a proper wax treatment when you get the chance.
- Rinse away bird droppings or any harsh contaminants. Do not let it cake.
- Wash your car when you get the chance to do so.
- If you get this step right, then maintaining the show car shine should be easier.