Even with tougher top coats and more weather-resistant formulation, vehicle paints are still subjected to relentless bombardment by the sun’s rays, acids in the air and salt, tar and debris thrown up from the road. In time, even the best paint from the most exacting car manufacturers will develop tiny swirls, hazing and other defects which contribute to making your car lose its showroom luster. At this point, you may think that a visit to an auto body repair shop is the way to go to restore your car’s finish.
In time, all cars that see regular use on the road will need to visit an auto body repair shop for a respray. As a car owner, being more mindful of paint maintenance will prolong that inevitable visit. And even if you think that you can get away from this by selling your car every few years, you still need to perform some exterior and paint maintenance if you hope to get the best resale value possible.
The most economical way for automotive paint maintenance is to wash your vehicle on a regular basis. While some car maintenance tips advise washing your car once a month, a car that is a daily driver will accumulate grime and contaminants quite fast and these will combine to not only eat into the paint’s finish but also corrode some underchassis components, possibly leading to unscheduled maintenance. If you want to lessen the chances of visiting your auto body repair shop or mechanic, wash your car weekly if possible. Beyond washing, other basic paint maintenance that you should perform should be waxing. As you may have noticed, a freshly-waxed surface provides more than just a glossy appearance. A shell is also formed which helps bead water and resists contaminants and debris.
There is a huge and sometimes confusing array of automotive waxes and polishes. Take a group of people who do their own paint maintenance, and most everyone will have something different to recommend. There are liquid waxes, paste waxes and what seems to be de riguer these days, clay bars to even out your paint. As you go further down the product shelf, there will be formulations that will seem to belong more to an auto body repair or refinishing shop than on a shelf in your garage.
If your car is a daily driven commuter car, then there is no need to go use the most expensive products and procedures for maintaining your car’s finish. Any of the better-known brands that are available at superstores will do. But if you have a special project car or a high-end car, then a little more care is necessary. If that kind of paint maintenance is beyond your ken, then that is what detailing shops are for.