How to Have the Best-Looking Car on the Street

Expert Guide to Maintaining a Pristine Car

Make These Car Care Tips Part of Your Regular Routine

 Keeping your car in pristine condition is not just a matter of pride. It also enhances the resale potential of one of your most valuable assets.

 Everyone likes to have a car that looks its best. It is a great boost to self image, but also makes for a far more pleasant driving experience for those who spend several hours of every week on the road. After all, there is no joy to be had driving around in a car surrounded by junk, stains and bad smells.

If those are not reasons enough to keep your car in tip top shape, there is also the pragmatic factor of maintaining its resale value. Glance through the price guides and you will see that a seven or eight year old car in excellent condition is worth 20 to 25 percent more than the same car in fair condition. In other words, your efforts will be rewarded when the time comes to sell the car on.

Get expert help

Keeping a pristine car looking great is relatively straightforward. Making an unloved and battle-scarred car pristine is another matter. If you don’t have the best starting point, then your first port of call should be to a car detailer. As well as giving the vehicle a deep clean, detailers will fix imperfections in the paintwork and return the car to you with an as-new, or even a better-than-new glow to it. It’s well worth the investment and once it is done, you will feel far more inspired to maintain it in that condition.

Car washing 101

Experts recommend that you should give the car exterior a proper wash every week. However, if you spot obvious problems, for example a proliferation of dead bugs or a successful bombing campaign by the local bird life, don’t wait for the weekend. Take five minutes to clean the offending substances off straight away, before they have a chance to damage the paint finish.

Avoid drive-through car washes with their abrasive rollers, and instead, clean the car by hand with a bucket of soapy water, a hose to rinse it off and a lint-free towel or leather to dry. When the car is dry, you can apply protective wax to the paintwork. If possible, avoid doing so in very hot conditions, as it is easier to apply when cool. Apply the wax in small circular motions and give it a final buff with a clean microfibre cloth when it has dried.

Keep the cockpit clean

You see more of your car from the inside than the outside, so do not neglect the interior. Clear out any rubbish, remove the mats and vacuum the car from front to back, including those tight spaces and cubby holes. Next, go over all the surfaces with a damp cloth. You might need to use cotton buds to get into the tight crevices.

If you have cloth upholstery, you can use a regular all-purpose upholstery cleaner, but always test it on a small out of the way area first, just to be on the safe side. For leather upholstery, that damp cloth is generally going to be sufficient. In modern cars, the leather usually has a vinyl coating, so feeding or treating it is not as important as it was in years gone by.