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Exterior Car Care Tips by Toby B Jackson

Author: Amitava Sarkar
by Amitava Sarkar
Posted: Mar 03, 2016

You're a responsible vehicle owner. You check fluids and tire pressure on a regular basis. You have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. You get regular oil changes. You perform regular DIY maintenance tasks or when that's not possible, get your vehicle serviced at recommended intervals. While your car or truck's motor, transmission, cooling system, brake system and everything else under the hood may be in tip top shape, what about the outside of the vehicle? If your car is more than a couple of years old, you've probably got a little bit of parking lot rash - no matter how diligently you parked well away from other cars whenever possible. But what about rust? If you live somewhere humid or where the roads are iced in the winter, rust can be a real threat. Alternatively, if you live in an area with extreme heat, your car or truck's exterior may be starting to bubble. Unless you have a couple thousand dollars to spend on a new paint job, once this type of damage occurs you're often stuck with it. However, there's plenty you can do to keep your vehicle's exterior looking like new, no matter how old it is.

  • Wash your car on a regular basis. Maybe you're trying to conserve water, save money or simply don't have time to wash your vehicle regularly. However, washing your car or truck is just as important a maintenance item as regular oil changes. Why? Dead bugs and bird droppings, not to mention limestone dripping from basement parking - is highly corrosive and will damage your paint if not cleaned off in time. Also, dirt and sand that accumulates under windshield wiper blades can, over time, scratch your windshield. If you don't have the time or space to wash your vehicle yourself, at least run it through a decent commercial car wash.
  • Wax at least once a year. Waxing isn't as time-consuming as you would think. It generally only takes half an hour but the effects last for months. The effort involved in waxing is well worth it, as waxing covers stone chips and minor scratches, slowing down the rusting process. To get the most out of waxing, make sure to choose premium auto wax. If you're short on elbow grease, brands such as
Peak Auto offer quality waxer/polishers that make the job a lot easier.

  • Consider rust proofing. This is not only a good idea if you drive on salted roads in the winter but also if you live near the coast. It doesn't take long before the underside of your vehicle is rusted to the point of system failure. A good rust proofing costs somewhere between $200 and $400 but is well worth the peace of mind and the prevention of more serious problems such as brake failure. The rust proofing should include the bottom parts of the doors as well as the trunk lid. Make sure to avoid companies that drill holes in the bottom of your car as part of the process.
  • Repair scratches and chips before they start to rust. Scratches and chips are common but they expose bare metal, allowing your car to rust. Repairing these scratches and chips is fairly easy. Keeping matching touchup paint in your car makes the process even easier. While the result might not look perfect, at least you've stopped the rust from getting started.

Keep these simple maintenance tips in mind and your vehicle's exterior will look great for years or even decades to come.

About the Author: Toby B. Jackson is a DIY auto maintenance enthusiast and contributing writer who enjoys helping people keep their cars and trucks looking like new.

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Author: Amitava Sarkar

Amitava Sarkar

Member since: Nov 28, 2014
Published articles: 359

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