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Helpful tips to protect and maintain your car or truck’s exterior

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It doesn’t matter if you own a new 4×4 pickup truck or a high-performance sports car like the iconic Chevrolet Corvette, it takes a lot of work to protect and maintain that ride.

And yes, you know you want to keep that machine looking as fresh as the day you drove it home. Therefore, the act of maintaining and protecting your vehicle’s exterior is one of the most significant investments you can make in regard to its appearance, as well as its resale value.

Taking care of your vehicle’s exterior means cleaning it frequently, replacing cracked windshields, and applying sealants as needed. Waxing helps repel corrosion and everyday road grime, and routine inspections reveal the damage done by road debris and other hazards.

That said, there’s more to maintaining a vehicle’s exterior than a dash of wax and a weekly car wash. Here are some additional tips to help protect that ride and keep looking great for years to come.

Park inside whenever possible

The best way to protect your vehicle from environmental damage is by parking inside whenever possible, such as in a garage. This will help minimize UV ray exposure which can cause fading or discoloration or elemental risks like wind-strewn debris.

If parking indoors isn’t an option, investing in a high-quality truck or car cover is a suitable backup solution. With prices of Ford Raptor truck and C7 Corvette parts skyrocketing in price in recent years, this simple method of protection makes more sense now than ever before.

Cleaning made easy

Another great way to maintain your vehicle’s exterior is by keeping it clean. Just be sure to always work in the shade to prevent water spots from forming.

Start by washing the car in sections with a highly reviewed automotive shampoo and a clean source of water. Avoid using circular motions when scrubbing, as that will only create swirl marks, and always remember to hit those hard-to-reach areas like the wheel wells and around door handles.

Try and rinse off the soap as quickly as possible and then dry off any wet surfaces with a plush microfiber cloth to prevent water spots from forming. Use specialized cleaners made specifically for cars in more challenging areas where brake dust or bird droppings are present. Always follow all instructions carefully before using any cleaning or detailing product on your vehicle.

Wax at least twice a year

Regular waxing protects your vehicle’s exterior and reduces the risk of clear coat fading and chipping. In addition, wax helps provide an additional layer of protection against sun damage, rain, snow, pollution, road salt, and other harsh elements that can wreak havoc on cars in certain climates. Depending on where you live, consider waxing your car more than twice a year to ensure maximum protection.

When waxing, start with a pre-wax cleaner to remove any dirt or debris on the surface, then apply a good quality carnauba or synthetic hybrid wax by hand or with an orbital buffer. For added protection, consider applying a ceramic coating.

Avoid harsh cleaners & detergents

Be mindful of what cleaners you are using when washing your car. Household cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can strip away the clear coat and can cause damage to unpainted plastics if not used correctly. You should also avoid natural cleaning solutions such as vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda, as they too can be abrasive.

Get detailing done every six months (at least…)

Regularly detailing your ride is one of the most important steps you can take when it comes to maintaining its appearance. Not only does it help keep the exterior clean, but it also helps protect that paint job by removing grime buildup, which can lead to corrosion over time if left unchecked.

When detailing a vehicle, ensure you attend to every nook and cranny, with particular attention paid to areas like door jams, tailgate latches, and side mirror gaps, where dirt tends to accumulate quickly.

Regular washing

Even if it doesn’t look ultra dirty, washing your truck or car on a weekly basis is very important. This will help remove any dirt and other debris from the exterior of your vehicle and make the next shampoo scrubbing session a cinch. Just be sure to use a microfiber drying cloth afterward and avoid working in a circular motion to reduce the risk of swirl marks.

Getting help with car maintenance

Looking after your vehicle’s exterior may be time-consuming, but it can also be super easy if done correctly.

However, whenever you notice something is wrong with your car, and you are unsure as to how to handle it, take that ride to a pro.

You don’t want to run the risk of making a problem worse, because that will only cost you a whole lot more over the long run.

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