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How To Keep Your Car Gleaming New Even Though It's 3 Years Old
You know how it feels to buy a new car. The fresh smell of leather as you ease yourself into the plush leather seats. The whole car is gleaming. As you drive it out your driveway, you steal a glance at the reflection of your beautiful ride.
Fast forward 12 months. How does your "new" car look now? If you take a picture of your car now and compare it to when you first bought it, would you notice any difference? How is it that some cars continue to look "brand new" even though they are already 3 years old while others just look tired, dull and "old" just 12 months out of the showroom?
It is possible to keep your car gleaming new. You just need to know how to care for it.
Dust and dirt will accumulate as your drive your car. Even if you just leave it in your garage, the paintwork will accumulate dust. It is especially important to wash your car if your car was exposed to rain. The water droplets that accumulate on your paintwork will leave tough watermark stains if you let them dry under the sun. The sun "bakes" in the watermark stains and youíll find it especially tough to remove them later on. Your best bet is to give your car a quick wash and wipe dry if youíve driven in the rain.
When washing your car, use a quality car shampoo like Meguiarís NXT Generation Car Wash (http://www.fdcars.com/newsletter/n2-2.htm). Youíll find it much easier to wash and dry your car if you use a soft terry cloth or a cloth diaper. I always keep a dozen cloth diapers ready in my house even though I donít have kids :) . Theyíre cheap, absorbent and soft so that it does not scratch your paintwork. If you want to be flashy, you can get something like the Ultimate Wipe cloth, once again from Meguiarís (http://www.fdcars.com/newsletter/n2-1.htm).
Hose your car down to remove any excess dirt and grime. Then use your cloth to apply the car shampoo. Once youíve covered the whole car, hose off the shampoo, using a clean cloth to wipe away any remaining shampoo residue. It is critical that you wipe your car dry. If you leave the car to dry naturally, all your hard work thus far will go to waste.
Make sure you clean your rims. Brake dust will accumulate there, making your car look dirty even if the paintwork is spotless. You will also want to vacuum the interior of your car every few weeks to keep it clean.
2) Wax Your Car Once a Month
To keep your paintwork gleaming, you need to wax it. Of course, you could send it to an auto detailer for this. However, if you have an hour to spare during your weekend, it is really not that difficult to wax your car.
Before waxing, make sure you wash and wipe dry your car. Park your car in a cool and shady spot. It is best not to wax your car directly under the sun. Use a good car wax like Meguiarís NXT Generation Tech Wax (http://www.fdcars.com/newsletter/n2-3.htm). Apply the wax in a circular motion using the included sponge. Work on your car section by section. Remember which section you worked on first. Once youíve finished applying the entire car, itís time to remove the excess wax.
Use a soft terry cloth or cloth diaper to wipe of the excess wax. Start by wiping the panel that you first applied the wax and work on from there. It is best to use different sides of the cloth as wipe off the wax since it will accumulate on your cloth. You can either use a new piece of cloth as each is clogged with wax or alternatively shake off the wax from your cloth.
Lean close to your car and check whether there is any residue left. Clean any remaining residue.
Wash your cleaning cloth with a liquid softener (just like you wash your clothes). This will make sure there isnít any dirt or grime stuck to the cloth for your next waxing session.
3) Apply Tyre Wax For That Slick Black Look
To complete the wet & shiny look, apply tyre wax after every wash/wax. Look for ones that come with a trigger spray so that you can apply it easily. Something like Meguiarís Hot Shine High Gloss Tyre Spray (http://www.fdcars.com/newsletter/n2-4.htm) would work beautifully. This takes less than 3 minutes to do but it makes a big difference.
4) Keep That New Leather Smell
If your car has leather seats, it is important to clean and condition it at least once every 2 months. Use a leather cleaner/conditioner like Meguiarís Medallion Premium Leather Care (http://www.fdcars.com/newsletter/n2-5.htm). Apply using a clean terry cloth or cloth diaper. Wipe off any excess conditioner with a clean cloth. Doing this once every month of two keeps your leather supple and smelling like new.
While cleaning and conditioning your leather, you will want to work on the vinyl surfaces of your car as well. Your dashboard, door inserts and central console is normally made of vinyl. So, use something like Meguiarís Vinyl & Leather Cleaner/Conditioner (http://www.fdcars.com/newsletter/n2-6.htm) for this. This works much like the leather cleaner but is specially suited for vinyl surfaces.
5) Stand Back & Admire Your "Brand New" Car
Follow the routine above and you guarantee yourself a car that looks, feels and smells like new even 3 years down the road. Your friends and family will be impressed. When itís time to sell your car, youíll likely fetch much higher prices. First impressions count when selling your car. And a car with gleaming new paintwork and a spotless interior makes a VERY strong first impression!
P.S. The writer is not affiliated with Meguiarís in any way, except as a very satisfied customer.
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