Taking Care Of Your Car

If I take good care of it, how far will my car or truck go?

Vehicles built today, given proper maintenance, are capable of going 300,000 miles or more. This is due to changes in technology – improved metals, lubricants and filtration, closer tolerances and other related factors.Taking Care of Your Car’s Finish
Taking care of your car’s paint finish doesn’t have to be a daunting task.  Maybe you’re considering a professional detailer to clean both the interior and exterior of the car.  Or maybe you’ll be doing most of it yourself: washing and waxing, vacuuming and touching up.When getting ready to wash away dirt and residue, it’s important to make sure you use products made especially for your car, to help protect the finish. Here are a few tips to remember:

  • Use a non-detergent soap, or a mild liquid dish soap.
  • Always wash your car in the shade, with cold water. In cooler air, use warm water.
  • Always start washing your car from the top down.  This allows the water and rinsing process to carry dirt and debris down and off the car, away from the upper surfaces of the car.  The opposite (starting at the bottom and working up) results in picking up large dirt particles from the lower portions of the car and placing them on the top surfaces where the wash mitt or towel will grind the particles into the paint, resulting in a scratched finish.
  • Use a sponge, car-wash mitten or soft towel. Rinse frequently and replace the water when it becomes dirty.
  • Rinse with clear, cold water.  A soft terry towel is best for drying. A chamois works well, but be careful to avoid dragging dirt particles along with the water. Dry from the top down.
  • Use a brush and vinyl protective spray (e.g., Armor All) on vinyl parts and rubber trim.
  • When waxing, apply wax to the pad, not to the car. With a freshly painted car, don’t wax it for at least 30 days.  Use a soft toothbrush to remove wax build up around the edges of trim and mouldings.
  • Keep a tube of touch-up paint handy for chips and scratches.
  • Taking care of a Clear Coat Paint finish requires a little extra thought.  If you don’t take care of it, it’s hard to repair. The warning signs are somewhat different than yesterday’s conventional paint finishes; such as, does your car’s finish look dull?  Have you ever noticed hairline scratches in your car’s paint finish?
  • Today’s high-tech paint finishes are applied using a basic two-step application procedure called a “Base Coat/Clear Coat” system.  The base coat is the pigmented paint layer, and the clear coat is a thick, durable, glossy layer on top.  Introduced in the early 1980s, the clear coat paint finish is used on almost every new car manufactured today.
  • How can you tell if your car has a clear coat paint finish? Rub a small amount of car wax or polish on your car’s lower panel. If you don’t come up with the “color” of your paint, it’s a clear coat.
  • Clear coat paint systems, based on advanced paint technology, are designed to improve the appearance and prolong the life of an automotive paint finish.  They utilize acrylic urethane enamels to improve the overall shine and durability of paint finish.  Today’s paints are far superior to the finishes of 20 years ago.
  • The sun is the number one environmental enemy at work on the shine of your vehicle’s paint finish. The ultraviolet rays produce heat that can reduce the durability of the clear coat finish. This is why it’s so important to apply a regular coat of wax to your car’s finish, at least once a year. Wax and polish films provide a reflective shine barrier between the paint finish and the elements. The resulting “beading” or “sheeting” action, as it’s called, demonstrates this layer of protection.
  • Hairline scratches are the other warning sign of paint damage. This is a result of the clear coat becoming damaged by a small, thin layer of road debris that scratches your paint when rubbing against the finish. Road film, caused by environmental pollutants, reacts with water to cause acid rain, leaving water spots on the paint’s finish. This is why periodic waxing and regular washing of your car is necessary to preserve the paint finish.
  • Conventional paints would “oxidize” over time, producing a chalky cover. Today’s paints, instead, appear dull and hazy. There are special cleaners for heavily oxidized conventional finishes. Today’s waxes and polishes, such as Turtle Wax™ are clear coat safe. A good wax can be found at your local auto parts store and/or mass merchandisers, such as Kmart and Wal-Mart.