Skip the Expensive Coatings: Tips to Keep Your Car’s Paint Shining On a Budget

Aside from changing the oil as well as replacing wear and tear items on your vehicle, many owners often neglect another aspect that requires periodical maintenance – the paint. While you’re cocooned comfortably within the cabin, the layers of paint are battling the elements of our harsh tropical climate that will diminish its gleaming finish if left unchecked.

UV rays from the sunlight, acid rain, airborne pollutants, and bird droppings are some of the contaminants that could ruin the paint, leaving it oxidized, scratched, or stained. If you leave these contaminants on the paint for too long, the damage might be irreversible.

Fortunately, maintaining your car’s paint doesn’t require a lot of money or expensive coatings. Some elbow grease and basic tools will go a long way in ensuring your car’s paint will look like it just rolled off the showroom floor.

man wiping car paint

Here are five tips that won’t break the bank to keep your vehicle as shiny as the day it was made.

1. Wash Your Vehicle Regularly

This one kind of seems like a given but we’ll gladly repeat it. Wash your vehicle on a regular basis, at least once a week. Even if it doesn’t appear dirty, there are always tiny dirt particles and pollutants from acid rain on the paint surface.

If you allow it to sit on the paint for too long, it will result in the pollutants slowly eating away or tarnishing the clear coat layer on top causing your paint to look dull.

For example, on a hot day, the clear coat expands at a molecular level and the uric acid from bird droppings will seep in. At night, the clear coat shrinks slightly and effectively seals the droppings inside. This will become corrosive to the paint.

Most experts agree washing your car once a week is enough to keep the clear coat and paint surface clean of contaminants. If you do find bird droppings on your car but can’t find the time to give it a wash, the best thing you can do is just remove the bird droppings first using a damp microfiber cloth and some car shampoo. Don’t allow it to solidify on the paint for too long.

Read More: A Guide to the Easiest Car Colors to Maintain

2. Use the Right Method When Washing

Remember, there’s a right method in washing your car. Yes, that does sound like we’re asking you to wash your vehicle yourself. After all, if you want something done correctly, you have to do it yourself, right?

Although sending it to the neighborhood car wash is the easy way out, they tend to be a little harsh on the paint and the cloths are also of unknown provenance. If the cloths aren’t cleaned properly, the debris stuck to them will cause more damage to the paint as they wipe over it.

An easy way to avoid this; and one that most cheap car wash businesses don’t adhere to, is to always have the 2-bucket system. One bucket will hold the car shampoo and the other will be for rinsing the car.

That way, you can avoid transferring any debris into the rinsing bucket, keeping the water clean for when you rinse away the soap and debris on your car.

shiny yellow car paint

3. Use the Right Products/Tools

Once your car’s paint is damaged, it could cost quite a sum to restore it. A little initial investment will go a long way in maintaining the paint in the long run. With that in mind, always remember to use the right car cleaning products and tools when going about it.

Some people might say you can use everyday household cleaning products such as dishwashing detergent to clean your vehicle. However, that is not true. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt this on your car’s paint.

Dishwashing liquids contain harsh chemicals and strong concentrations of sodium that will harm the paint and could even cause it to chip if used all the time. Car shampoos on the other hand are specially formulated to gently clean your car and leave a very thin layer of lubrication that acts as an additional layer of protection.

Invest in some decent car shampoo. It’s not necessary to splurge on the most expensive one because on a fundamental level, most car shampoos perform the exact same function. We would, however, recommend getting one from a reputable brand and not those that come in recycled mineral water bottles sold online.

To go with the car shampoo, ensure you use microfiber cloths instead of regular rags. The rags can harden over time and scratch the surface more than clean it.

Read More: Wrap VS Paint: A Guide to Refresh Your Car’s Looks

4. Apply a Layer of Car Wax Every 3 Months

Car wax is a simple method to add a layer of protection over the paint. Although not as durable as ceramic coatings, wax is much easier to apply and is friendlier on the wallet too. Coatings form chemical bonds that are more resistant to heat, UV rays and environmental contaminants. Wax doesn’t but still provides an extra layer of protection.

Furthermore, wax will create a hydrophobic surface over the paint that acts to repel water. This will prevent acidic rain droplets from sticking to the paint and corroding the surface.

Lastly, wax also gives paint that irresistible sheen. If you ever noticed a vehicle having a wet, glossy finish, wax is probably the reason. In fact, a high-quality wax can even add some shine back to slightly faded paint jobs, making it look new.

Therefore, applying a good layer of wax every 3 months should go a long way in keeping the paint looking new and you can even do it yourself.

car paint tips - wash car

5. Avoid Parking under Direct Sunlight

Now, we understand this is easier said than done for most people but if you do have the opportunity to park in a shaded area or out of direct sunlight, you will be doing a huge favor to your car’s paint.

Not only do UV rays from the sun damage the paint but it can also lead to discoloration of leather bits and turn plastic trims brittle. So, if you can find a covered parking spot, we highly recommend you make the most of it.

If you can’t find a shaded parking spot, the next best move is to invest in a car cover and wrap up the car if it’ll be parked under the sun for long periods of time. If that’s too much effort, you can just use a sunshade to at the very least protect the interior.

Now all these steps are meant to keep your vehicle’s shiny paint continuously gleaming for years and rest assured, if your vehicle is CARSOME Certified, it’s undergone extensive detailing at the expert hands of the CARSOME Certified Lab to bring out the glossy finish.

At the CARSOME Certified Lab, all vehicles will have dents or paint imperfections refurbished just like the manufacturer would. That means proper surface preparation and OEM paints for a factory-like finish.

Everything is finished with a detailed wash for a pristine surface before delivery.

Buy CARSOME Certified for Peace of Mind

Here at CARSOME, we believe in creating an end-to-end buying journey to eliminate the concerns common in a traditional used car buying experience. CARSOME Certified is the new standard of buying pre-owned cars backed up by our 175-point inspection together with our CARSOME Certified Refurbishment Process. By creating a trusted used car ecosystem, CARSOME Certified guarantees trust, transparency, and choice.

Check out our CARSOME Certified Cars here.