Protecting your car’s exterior is advantageous to its appearance, and also enhances your ride’s performance and longevity. Safeguarding your vehicle’s paint can curtail future maintenance expenses but can be quite costly itself. Luckily, there are lots of affordable and easy ways to protect your car’s paint.
Wash and Dry Frequently
One of the best ways to maintain your car’s paint is to clean it regularly. If you use your car daily, wash and dry it at least once a week. Doing so will prevent accumulation of dust and debris that could wear on the exterior.
To properly clean your ride, consider these steps.
Pro Tip: For mud stains or road salt residue, try using an automotive clay bar. Gently apply automotive cleanser to remove any dried bird droppings. Don’t let these acidic contaminants stay on your car too long, as their chemical makeup can tarnish car paint.
Coat With Wax
Wax is popular for its surface level and damage reduction perks. While making your car appear shiny and new, a wax coat shields paint from harmful UV rays, splattered bugs, bird droppings, and more.
This safeguarding material is often inexpensive. Though affordable, its basic protection doesn’t last for very long—prompting a new, fresh wax coat after roughly six weeks. If you wish for longer lasting coverage, there are other easy ways to protect your car’s paint that are a bit steeper of an investment.
Invest in Paint Sealant
Paint sealants last longer than average wax, making it a popular auto investment. They work well with wax, providing double the coverage. They must be applied correctly for drivers to experience total benefits. Sealants should be reapplied every six months or so.
Trust in the Professionals
Before DIY-ing your vehicle paint’s protection, contemplate enlisting an automotive professional for the job. Windows and Wheels Auto Detailing provides numerous services to enhance the durability and appearance of car paint. With paint correction and ceramic coating being among our specialties, you are guaranteed to receive a high-grade auto finish that lasts. We also offer comprehensive packages so you can reap maximum car benefits at an ideal price.
Top 5 "New Car Owner" Recommendations
If you’ve recently purchased – or are considering purchasing a new vehicle, there are a few things you may want to consider doing once you drive off the dealer lot. We’ve put together a Top 5 “New Car Owner” recommendation list so that your new car stays looking new.
1. Paint Protection Film (Clear Bra)
While some people like to build suspense by “saving the best for last”, I figured I’d start out with one of the most important things first. In Arizona, where rock chips are life, you should strongly consider PPF (paint protection film) before you go on any road trips or freeway drives.
Whether you track it, show it or drive it daily – paint protection film will help prevent damage from rocks, road debris and other blunt force hits. Combined with a self healing top coat and a 10 year warranty (in the case of Suntek Ultra and Xpel Ultimate) – it is the best way to make sure your finish is protected from the damage it faces everyday.
A quality repaint of just your front bumper can range between $650-1,000+ (ask me how I know!) Combine that with the fact you’ll be without your car for several days, your car will enter a body shop environment (where often times overspray and body shop dust can end up covering your car inside and out) and you will no longer have a factory paint job – having paint protection film applied from the very beginning really is a no brainer.
Over the last several years, PPF has become more durable and less visible, which allows you to enjoy the satisfaction of having your baby protected without having to compromise the look of your new car.
When hunting for a quality film installer – remember the Three R’s:
Research, Reviews and Referrals.
At the very least, be sure to find out the type of film they’re using , ask if they will be hand cutting or plot cutting the material (tight areas like bumpers are best cut by a plotter due to their intricacy) and how many years of experience the installer has.
After Suntek Clear Bra application to hood, bumper, side mirrors, headlights, front fenders and A-Pillars
2. Nano-Ceramic Paint Coating
When protecting your vehicle – the question is often asked – “What exactly am I protecting my vehicle from, it’s new!” The answer to this question comes in two parts; the first we covered above (protecting from rock chips and other blunt force hits), the second is environmental damage. Things such as UV rays (especially in Arizona), bird droppings, bug etchings and chemicals from cleaning will etch, stain and fade your paint, eventually causing it to fail.
Examples of Clear Coat Failure due to sun exposure and no paint protection
While in the past, the only solution was to regularly wax your paint, there are now better options available. Just like technology in vehicles has progressed, so has the technology to protect your vehicle. High-end Nano-Ceramic paint coatings (such as CQuartz Finest) can protect your vehicles paint for years, not months. Additionally, it will also make it glossier, allow it to stay cleaner longer and make washing it much easier with better results.
Like PPF, many “coatings” have hit the market in the past few years – and like PPF – I always encourage owners to follow the Three R’s prior to trusting your new ride with someone.
Things to consider when choosing a paint coating (and potentially a coating installer) include:
1. Reviews and history of the coating (has it been tried and tested or did it just come out last week?)
2. What the coating manufacturer says it will protect against? Remember, a nano-ceramic coating is meant to provide protection from environmental threats. Some companies list unrealistic promises (such as protection against things like screwdrivers, fire and comparable blunt force hit protection that clear bra provides). Ceramic coatings were not designed to protect from these types of things – but they can provide excellent protection from things that you will encounter, like the sun.
3. What is the history of the detailer you’re hiring to apply the coating? Just like the history of the product is important, the history of the company installing the product is equally (if not more so) important. Also keep in mind that a true detailer will make sure your paint is in excellent condition prior to any coating application. You don’t want to lock in a sub-par finish with a semi-permanent coating. Proper paint prep is the key prior to the installation of a coating.
After CQuartz Finest Nano-Ceramic protective paint coating
3. Window Tinting
We all know that a sweet tint job to your new ride can really make a huge difference in how it looks. However, there are three key practical functions achieved from window tinting aside from a super sleek look.
1. First and foremost, protection from UVA/UVB rays. In Arizona especially, skin cancer is a major concern. A quality tint will filter out over 99% of these at least help keep you safe while you’re stuck in your car during a hot July day. In my opinion, this is a must if you have children riding in the back seat. This won’t make rush hour any less agonizing to drive in, but it will help protect you from harmful UV rays.
2. Privacy. If you don’t like the idea of just anybody seeing what’s on the inside of your car when left unattended (phone, laptop, purse etc), then you’ll likely not want to leave your windows un-tinted and 100% transparent.
3. Last but not least, comfort! Tinting your windows will keep the inside of your vehicle much cooler and more comfortable. This isn’t just good for you, its also good for your electronics and interior upholstery such as leather seats.
4. Proper Exterior Maintenance
What does it mean exactly to “properly” maintain your vehicles exterior? Well, the most common type of damage we run into is usually from the owner actually trying to take care of their car. Quite the paradox isn’t it?
Unfortunately, things such as automatic car washes, improperly trained employees at hand washes or even owners who take the DIY route but haven’t learned the correct way to wash their car, do often times cause harm to their vehicles finish.
Paint scratches or "swirls" left from poor washing and maintenance
Brushes, harsh chemicals, hard water and poor technique all attribute to a vehicle becoming more “aged” in appearance as well as causing irreversible damage in extreme cases (such as stained wheels or paint and eventually thinned out or failing clear coat). Doing hand washes with proper technique and quality produces really does make a night and day difference as to how your vehicle will look down the road. While the paint swirls in the above photo were repairable - it is still better to prevent them as much as possible from the beginning.
A Side by Side Before and After photo after removing paint swirls / defects
Quality towels, mitts and soap help keep your finish looking new
Our doors, phone and email are always open to those wanting to learn how to best care for their car. While the full details on how to do this will require an article all of it’s own (which I will post soon), know that “clean” doesn’t always mean, “correct.” If you don’t believe me, next time you take a shower use some steel wool! You’ll be clean, but you won’t be very comfortable!
One on One Maintenance Wash lesson with owner of this new 2017 ZL1 Camaro
after receiving CQuartz Finest and Suntek Paint Protection Film
Car Maintenance Workshop - Summer of 2016
5. The Right Car Care Provider
Before you bought your new car, you likely did some sort of research on it. While some of us take pre-purchase research to a different extreme than others, the point still stands that simply because your car came with wheels, an engine and a steering wheel – you never believed all cars were created equal (I think most of us remember the Daewoo!)
The same holds true for a professional Detailer. Just because Bob has a bucket, and a sponge and a flyer that says “Detailer”…. it doesn’t mean he is in fact qualified to touch your car.
Things to consider:
1. Are they licensed (yes, detailers are required to have a business license).
2. Are they insured (accidents do happen and chances are the guy charging $75 on craigslist can’t afford to fix your new Mercedes if something were to happen.)
3. Are they experienced? Once again we go back to the 3 R’s (no not reading, writing and arithmetic) - reviews, research and referrals.
I tell all of my potential clients that I can speak highly of myself all day (ok that sounds a little egotistical but just go with me here!) However, you’re more likely to trust the feedback of several people who have a completely unbiased opinion and have paid their hard earned money for a company’s service. We not only welcome, but also encourage questions from anyone who walks through our door. This not only gives piece of mind to anyone willing to trust us with their car – it also greatly increases the likelihood that an individual will be able to enjoy the work we performed on their car for a longer period of time.
I hope that these Top 5 New Car Owner Recommendations helped and hopefully sparked a bit of thought as to some things to consider for your vehicle. I’ve always loved the quote “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Basically, it’s a lot easier to take care of something from the beginning rather than neglect it and have to fix it later on down the road.
If you enjoyed this – please share it with a fellow car lover in your life and feel free to contact us or comment with any feedback or questions you may have.
Owner - Windows and Wheels Auto Detailing
Windows & Wheels
Check out our Monthly Blogs