How to Keep Your Car Exterior Looking Shiny and New

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A slick, shiny car is an enticing and attractive image for most people. But even the best-looking cars have a limited lifespan. Don’t worry. The lifespan can be extended through proper maintenance, care, and attention to detail.

To enjoy your car’s lustrous exterior, you must consistently keep it looking brand-new.

Here are some tips to help you keep your car’s exterior looking the way it did when it rolled off the assembly line.

1.     Wash Your Car Regularly

Use water, auto soap, and a soft cloth to remove dirt and grime from the paint. For heavy-duty cleaning jobs, such as cleaning oil stains, use a commercial cleaner that is safe for car surfaces. Good car wash soap will cut through dirt and grime, creating a brighter paint surface.

For cars with vinyl or leather upholstery, use a soft cloth dampened with water to wipe down the surfaces once a week. If left alone, mildew and mold can also develop on these surfaces.

A car wash can offer additional thorough cleaning options such as power washing and undercarriage flushes. It is more cost-effective than washing your vehicle by hand.

2.     Wax Your Car After a Rinse

Give your car a coat of wax that will protect the painted surfaces from the elements. The wax prevents water spots and stains from building up on the paint surface. It also fills in microscopic scratches that can make your car look duller over time. Waxing also helps reduce dust and dirt buildup, keeping your car cleaner for longer.

For convenience and ease of use, spray-on rinse-off car wax is a good option. After use, you should notice your car’s paint starting to look more vivid.

3.     Be Wary of the Cleaning Materials You Use

One of the most common mistakes people make is using household cleaners and steel wool pads to clean their cars.

Common household cleaners are not meant to be used on your car’s exterior. These chemicals may cause adverse reactions to your vehicle’s paints. They might even discolor or dull the paint’s finish over time. It can strip away the paint’s protective coating, too. A special car wash soap for sensitive vehicle surfaces is best.

You should not use a car wash brush made of plastic or nylon to scrub your vehicle. These brushes can scratch the paint and cause tiny cracks on its surface. You should also avoid steel wool pads, which are too abrasive. They will ruin the paint in just a few seconds. Use a soft microfiber cloth for general cleaning purposes, and don’t forget to rinse it well when done.

4.     Park Your Car in a Shady Spot

The best places to leave a vehicle are in the shade or under trees. Although less convenient for most people, driving into a shady parking space can help protect your car’s paint from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays. Even if covered, leaving your vehicle in the sun can cause the paint to fade and crack over time.

The interior of your vehicle can also experience damage from direct sunlight and heat. Avoid parking your car in a place exposed to harsh UV rays for extended periods.

5.     Use a Clay Bar to Remove Debris

Deep-seated dirt like asphalt, tar, and other contaminants are hard to remove with soap and water alone. These adhere well to the surfaces of a car. To get rid of these stubborn particles, use a clay bar. This is an easy and safe way to polish your car’s exterior without damaging it.

The clay bar is a porous, spongy material that traps dirt, grime, and debris on its surface. It can then be easily rinsed or wiped off with little effort.

Start by misting the clay bar with water to prevent it from drying. Once damp, gently rub the bar across your car’s paint surfaces. The dirt and debris trapped in the clay bar should come off easily. If not, try applying a few drops of dish soap. This should remove any residue left on the surface.


Paint is the most critical component of a car’s appearance. A hazy appearance on the exterior can lower a vehicle’s value.

However, you can extend your car’s shiny exterior and resale value for years with proper care. As long as you take adequate care of it, you’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come.

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