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Tips for Keeping Your Car Looking New

May 29th, 2013 Tools

For some, a car is more than just a way to get around - it's a tool of expression. Your car may mean a lot to you, and if it does, you want to keep it looking good. However, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what may be damaging your car. These tips may help keep your vehicle looking as fresh as the day you got it.

Exterior
This is the most noticeable aspect of your car, and it will always be the part that makes the first impression. Maintaining the finish looking good and the body free of dings and dents will help to keep your car looking brand new.

Washing your car often is important to keep the paint and finish looking right. While it is extra work, this can also save you money later on down the road, as you won't need to have your car refinished or repainted. If possible, try washing your car at home, by hand instead of at the car wash. The brushes and detergents at commercial car washes can be bad for the finish of your vehicle and may slowly strip away the paint. When washing your car, using a soap specifically designed for vehicle use will prevent eroding the protective layer of polymer. Dish soaps and other detergents not intended for cars may remove this layer.

Without the paint and finish, your car will be more susceptible to rusting, and this can lead to hefty repair bills. Once a car gets later in its years, it may be necessary to wax it every once in a while. Water droplets may start eroding the paint and eventually the steel body of your car without the proper protection. Wax should be applied directly after washing to ensure that any dirt or other particles don't get trapped underneath the coating. Once the car is dry, apply a coat of wax according the manufacturer's directions.

Dents may happen without your having any knowledge or power to avoid them, but there are a few steps you can take to prevent them, such as parking your car away from others in crowded lots. Any dents should be fixed as soon as possible to avoid exposing the car's body to the elements.

Interior
Keeping the inside of your car looking and smelling fresh is one of the biggest parts of protecting your vehicle's integrity and value. While it's convenient to eat or sip a cup of coffee in the car, these smells will often linger. If strong-smelling food or beverages spill in your car, it may prove impossible to fully remove the odor.

Keeping your car free of debris will also help the interior last longer. If trash is left on the seats of floor of your car, it may work its way into hard-to-reach places and prove very difficult to remove. Often it's a worthwhile effort and investment to keep a small trash bag in the car for papers, wrappers and other items that may accumulate through normal usage.

While food smells may be hard to get rid of, pet smells can be even worse. Dogs are notoriously smelly just about all the time, especially when wet. If your car begins to smell a bit too much like your dog, you can try letting the car air out or using professional-strength air neutralizers. However, the best remedy for these smells is prevention. Using mats on the seats will help keep dog fur and odor from getting into the upholstery, writes television's Dog Whisperer, Caesar Millan. If at all possible,keep non-human passengers in the back if you have a hatchback or SUV.