Keeping your car looking as clean and shiny as it did when you first drove it out from the showroom might seem like something that only car enthusiasts would want to do. Most owners seem content with getting by with a wash and a wax every so often. This is usually because even basic car maintenance and cleaning can seem like a lot to contend with, both time-wise and effort-wise. Some may even be confused about how to keep your car shiny, with so many options available.
It doesn’t have to be, however: with a few basic rules in place, keeping your car looking slick and clean can become less of a hassle and easier with time. Here are 8 simple rules you can follow to ensure that your car never loses its sparkle.
1. Park Your Car in a Shady, Covered Spot
When it comes to the question of how to keep your car shiny, overall weather conditions can play a huge part in the process. California’s summers, which are often hot and dry, can wreak harm on your car’s finish. The UV radiation can oxidize the surface of your car, causing the paint to fade and lose its luster. Therefore, if you don’t have a garage or are away from one, keep your car parked in a shady and sheltered area. It also helps in preventing your car’s headlights from yellowing and rubber trim from turning brittle and crackly.
2. Wash Your Car Regularly
“Yes, thank you Captain Obvious,” we hear you say. But, it still merits a mention and cannot be understated. The point is to establish a regular cleaning schedule: once every 2 or 4 weeks, at the maximum. Don’t allow more than 4 weeks to go between washes. Over time, dirt, tar, and other debris can get embedded in your car’s paint while driving and the longer you leave it, the harder it will become to get them out.
3. Be Careful About the Cleaning Materials You Use
Always use car washing soap and cleaning solutions for your vehicle. Never ever use simple dish soap or detergent: it can strip the waxing off and damage the paint coating. The key focus to have here is thinking not only about how to keep your car shiny, but also how to keep aesthetic materials in the best condition possible. Start by rinsing your car thoroughly first to remove the larger pieces of dirt which can scratch your car, and then move on to the washing, remember to use clean mitts and microfiber towels. You can find more car cleaning tips here.
4. The Bane of Bird Droppings
Well, you know what they say: Poop happens. And to cars, it’s unfortunately quite literal, and often of the bird variety. And it can be murder on a car’s windshield and paint surface, especially if left on too long. They can leave marks and scratches when you finally do try to get them out. Ideally, you should get them out within a day. Furthermore, avoid rubbing and scrubbing vigorously on the spot: instead, apply some water to the spot, leave it for a few minutes and then hose it off.
5. Wax Your Car After A Rinse
Waxing your car is akin to applying a layer of sunscreen to your skin: it keeps the UV rays of the sun from reacting with your car’s surface and keeps the surface looking glossy and slick. After a nice thorough rinse, you can use a polymer-based wax to give your car that nice shiny finish. Here at Wash ’n Go, we use Simoniz’s hot-wax treatment Lava Shield – a four-step paint-sealant process to give your car that glorious finish.
6. Maintaining the Gloss
Aside from larger cleaning methods like washing your car, keeping a steady detailing regimen is a key part of how to keep your car shiny. Make the time spent cleaning, rinsing and shining your worthwhile by taking steps to maintain your car’s appearance. Keep a spray detailer and microfiber cloth handy at all times; remove any dust or other debris from your car regularly.
7. Windows and Windshield
Don’t use regular glass cleaning products like Windex which contain ammonia-based compounds that can damage the tint of your car’s windows. Instead, only ever use auto-specific cleaners for your windows, taking care to wipe them down thoroughly after spraying your window with it.
8. Don’t Forget your Tires/Wheels
In assessing how to keep your car shiny, it’s also important not to neglect the tires. Clean your car’s wheel hubs and tires with a product that’s specifically recommended for your wheels. If you’re unsure, go for a low pH, milder cleaning solution that’s usually specified for aluminum wheels. These can, however, be used on all types of wheels. Also, take care to not get the tire cleaner solution on your car detailing or paint: the solutions used for car and tire cleaners have a different pH and can damage the paint coating on your car’s body.
Maintaining your car’s shine, as we’ve seen, is a matter of maintaining a regular schedule and having the right materials to do it. Your car’s finish – much like your own skin – needs special care to keep it looking fresh at all times. Therefore, using the right products – and not the ones that seem conveniently handy, like dish soap – is paramount.