Maintaining Vehicle Appearance – Exterior Protect and Detail

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 16,204
    AAA shows you how to apply those final finishing details when cleaning your automobile’s exterior.

    John Nielsen: Hi! I'm John Nielsen with AAA's approved Auto Repair. In maintaining the appearance of our car is a great way to have a cool ride and also protect our investment in the long run.

    Now one of the most fun areas is just detailing out our car that final finish on the appearance and those can be things as simple as glass cleaner. Use a dedicated glass cleaner to clean the inside and outside of the car. When you're doing that, here is a great tip. The inside of your car go up and down. When you are cleaning the outside of your windows, go left to right. That way if you see any smudges, you'll know whether it's inside or outside. This is something you should do weekly because it really does make it easier in the long run and keep things looking good.

    Now we all think about waxing our car and this is an area that we could spend a lot of time talking about best waxes; when you go into most stores, you'll find a number of different waxes. There are synthetics, there is carnauba. Pick a wax that you like; everybody has a preference for brand and a type. Pick what works best for you, but make sure that you apply it when it's cool outside, but not freezing and make sure that you apply the wax in the shade, because direct sunlight can cause the wax to dry prematurely and actually you'll end up with something that looks worse than when you started and you really should wax your car at least once a month.

    Many waxes will say that they last for six months or a year, but frequently waxing your car is probably the best way to keep the outside of your car looking good for years down the road. So with the outside of our car cleaned and waxed, the next step is some of the small rubber details and this can be bumpers, that can be window trim, but it's important to take a paper towel or rag that you'll use strictly for this purpose and actually clean that black rubber.

    The reason it's important to use a separate rag is because rubber has carbon black in it which actually comes off as jet black on a rag and you'll make it very difficult to use that rag for other things in cleaning your car. So once we have some of the smaller details higher on the car clean, the next step is going to be to clean the wheels and tires. The first step is to clean the wheels and it's important to use good soap and water and a little bit of elbow grease to get that done. Now, there are cleaners on the market that will help make that process easier, but it's important for you to understand what type of wheel is on your car; is it aluminum, is it steel, is it chrome plated, because each has a different type of cleaner and using the wrong one can really run you into some expensive problems.

    Once the wheels are clean, we want to clean the tires. Soap and water again works very good for this, but we may want to use a dedicated tire cleaner that does make the process slightly simpler. So with all of our rubber, the vinyl trim on the outside of the car clean, we're going to protect it and a good UV protectant much like we might use inside of the car for dashboards and other hard surfaces is a good idea.

    Make sure that whatever you're using to protect your tires has a UV inhibitor that'll keep your tires looking good for longer period of time. So if you put the tips on detailing your car together and do them on a regular basis, you can keep your car looking good and protect your investment in the long run.