The Ultimate Guide to Protecting Your Vehicle: How to Keep Your Car Looking Like New
We get it, you want your ride to look its best for as long as possible. The last thing you want is for scratches and chips covering the entirety of your prized possession! Paint chips and scratches can quickly mar the finish, making your car look old and worn after just a few bad seasons. Fortunately, there are lots of tips and tricks to help you protect your car from hood to trunk - all of which we’ll cover today!
Keep Your Car Clean!
The first thing you should be doing to maintain your vehicle is regular preventative maintenance.
Making sure you’re regularly washing and waxing your car will help protect the finish and keep it looking shiny and new for years to come. This one may seem pretty basic, but you’d be surprised at how far a little TLC will go! By washing your vehicle regularly, you can remove dirt and dust that can grind against the paint, causing tiny chips and scratches. Additionally, waxing your car will add a layer of protection to the paint, helping to repel dirt and other contaminants.
It’s also important to treat your car right by using the right products for cleaning. Investing in a good set of microfiber towels and using high quality cleaning products made for the different surfaces of your car will help make sure that you’re not slowly degrading the finish over time.
However, it’s important to remember that this method won’t prevent damage; it will only slow it down. Dirt and dust can still accumulate on your car over time, causing damage to the paint. Pairing a good maintenance schedule with any other preventative products is your best bet for keeping your car looking brand new for as long as possible.
Keep it Covered
This one is also preventative, but almost equally important! The sun’s UV rays can fade and dry out your paint, making it more vulnerable to chips and cracks. By avoiding direct sunlight and parking in the shade or a garage when possible, you’ll help preserve your car’s finish. When you park in the shade, the temperature inside your car will be lower, preventing the paint from drying out and becoming brittle. Additionally, the sun can cause the paint to fade, making it look old and worn, which is why it’s essential to keep your car out of direct sunlight whenever possible.
We know, obviously this method has its limitations. It’s not always possible to park in a covered area, and not everywhere has adequate shade coverage. For all those other conditions that you can’t control, having more active protection products to save your car are a must.
Consider Paint Protection Film
A Paint Protection Film (PPF) is a clear, self-healing film that is applied to your car’s paint to protect it from chips, scratches, and other forms of damage. PPF provides a barrier between your car’s paint and the elements, small rocks, or debris, helping to prevent chips and scratches from forming. Plus, it’s virtually invisible, so it won’t change your car’s appearance. Installing a PPF is more expensive than the other paint protection options, but it’s also the most durable and long-lasting option, making it the best dollar-per-use investment over the long term.Some of the benefits of installing a PPF onto your vehicle include:
Easy to Clean
Because of the smooth, repelling surface of the PPF, cleaning dirt and stains off your car is a breeze. And you won’t risk creating micro-scratches or micro-abrasions on your vehicle’s paintwork.
As you drive and use your vehicle, its paint constantly interacts with the environment. Sunlight, salt water, and heat all contribute to the fading of the color and luster of your car. PPF is a great way to weatherproof your vehicle’s paint, keeping it looking newer for longer.
Improves Resale Value
First impressions are important, especially when it comes to second-hand vehicles. A PPF keeps your car looking newer for longer, increasing what you can ask for if you ever decide to sell.
Consider Windshield Protection Film
While paint protection film is great for protecting the painted surfaces of your vehicle, it is not a suitable product to put on your windshield to give you protection against rock chips. For that, you’ll need a proper windshield protection film.
While the concept is the same, windshield protection films like ExoShield are made using a ultra-clear shock absorbing plastic called PET and usually incorporate some kind of protective layer on the top to prevent scratching from the wiper blades.
Windshield protection films have come a long way in the last 5 years or so, and have made their way into the mainstream automotive aftermarket world to the point where they’re becoming a must for almost any driver. There are even DIY options depending on the vehicle you drive (e.g. ExoShield ULTRA for Jeeps and other off-road vehicles).
A windshield protection film is installed on the outside of the windshield, and will prevent your windshield from severe damage like major chips and cracks as well as more minor cosmetic issues like sandblasting. After a couple years you can easily remove and replace the film without having to worry about a full replacement of the windshield.
Similar to PPF, windshield protection film on most vehicles is installed by a trained installer.
Protecting your car from chips and scratches is essential for maintaining its resale value, its appearance (and, let’s be honest, your pride). While no single option above will give you all the protection you need, taking a combined approach of preventative and active protection methods will give you the best protection possible against the elements so that you can actually get out there and enjoy your car rather than letting in collect dust in a garage!
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