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How do I keep my car looking new?

Wash your car regularly and you will also find it easier to clean.

There are few better feelings than the one you get when you first drive your new car home.

With its paint gleaming, wheels shining brightly, and fresh smell, it looks and feels great.

However, if left alone it will deteriorate, the paint will fade, the wheels will blacken, and it will soon develop a lived-in look. But it doesn't have to be that way. With a little regular care and attention you can keep it looking as good as new for years to come.

Doing that will not only be personally satisfying it can make your car more attractive to buyers when it comes to time to sell.

THINK ABOUT WHERE YOU PARK

Think about where you park your car, at night and during the day. It's easy at night; park it in your garage, that's what it's there for.

Don't leave it in the street where it can come under attack from above from possums and other critters that come out to play at night.

Tree sap, bird droppings and possum pee can quickly damage your paint.

It's not as easy during the day, but if you can always park your car under cover. That way it won't be exposed to the damaging effects of the sun's rays that can cause the paint to fade, and birds won't be able to leave their corrosive calling cards on it.

If you can't park it under cover avoid parking it under trees, power lines, or other things on birds perch on. Tree sap, bird droppings and possum pee can quickly damage your paint.

REMOVE DEPOSITS STRAIGHT AWAY

Time is of the essence when you find something deposited on your car. Don't put it off until tomorrow; clean it off as soon as you can.

If you don't you could find it's much harder to remove later on, you might have to scrub it quite hard and risk scratching the paint in the process. Leave it long enough and you might find your paint is permanently stained.

Wash it off with water if you can, if not use a weak detergent with lots of running water to wash it away.

WASH YOUR CAR REGULARLY

Wash your car once a week and you'll find your car not only retains its new-car look longer, you will also find it easier to clean.

But before you break out the hose and bucket go around the car looking for any deposits you might have missed and gently remove them.

Wash it by hand using a mild detergent. Car wash detergents take away the wax and polish on the paint surface as well as the dirt and grime, so use one that's gentle on your paint. Thoroughly rinse the car when you've finished to wash away any detergent left.

CHAMOIS THE CAR DRY

Don't walk away and leave your car to air dry when you've finished washing it, dry it using a chamois.

Use a good quality chamois and don't scrunch it up when you use it. Instead lay it out flat on the surface and pull it across the panel so that it can absorb the maximum amount of moisture.

Squeeze out the excess moisture after each pass and repeat the process until you've dried every panel. When you've finished rinse out the chamois to clean it and put it away in its case until the next time it's needed.

POLISH REGULARLY

Polishing your car not only makes it look good, it also protects the painted surface. It isn't necessary to polish your car every week, or even every month, every six months or so will do.

Use a quality polish and apply it with a quality applicator made for the purpose, follow the instructions that come with the polish, and remove the polish using a soft, clean rag that won't scratch the paint.

Don't attempt to polish the whole car in one go, do it panel by panel, or if it's a large panel do it a section at a time.

AVOID CAR WASHES

Commercial car washes are convenient, but they can easily damage your car's paint. Ask about the detergents they use, and the cleanliness of their water before you use them.

Don't use them if they use brushes or anything else that comes into contact with the surface of your car.

The brushes aren't necessarily clean, the detergents they use can be harsh, and the water isn't necessarily clean either.

Even the DIY car washes should be avoided if possible. The brushes aren't necessarily clean, the detergents they use can be harsh, and the water isn't necessarily clean either.

PAINT PROTECTION PRODUCTS

You will almost certainly be pressured by the dealer to buy a paint protection product with your new car. It's an extra cost item, sometimes expensive, and it's a profit maker for the dealer.

Don't sign up before you do some homework on the products available in the market and the pricing. The dealer pricing will almost certainly be higher than that you would get from a car detailer for the same product, so ask around and get some quotes before agreeing to have your car treated by the dealer.

If you really want it you might use it as leverage when negotiating the purchase of the car. Paint protection products can be worthwhile if you don't plan to clean your car regularly.

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