Getting a paint job on your pride and joy is going to be a worthwhile investment but don’t throw money away because you are not prepared to maintain those shiny good looks. This is also the case if you have invested in a brand-new vehicle and want to keep that new, gleaming factory finish. There are a couple of things that you can do on a regular basis to maintain the shine of a newly painted car without damaging the paintwork and dulling the look of the vehicle.
- Keep it clean
Don’t allow dirt and grime to build up on the surface of the car. Not only will it dull the lustre of the paintwork but it will contain contaminants that could scratch, chip, corrode or dent the surface of the paint. On a regular basis, ensure that you give the exterior of the car a good clean. Don’t use too many detailing products as this can also affect the shine of a newly painted car. Use a recommended car shampoo with a gentle pH factor and warm water to wash once a week. This will help to get rid of built up grime.
If you are using a power jet, don’t stand too close to the car as the force of the water, whilst good at removing dirt, can also wear down the surface of the paint if applied constantly in one area. Keep your distance and use lateral motions across the exterior body work so the jet of water does not remain at one point for a period of time. If you are not too confident of doing this yourself then take it to a commercial car wash. However, it is best to do this at home as you need to ensure the car is dry before you drive it – otherwise, you can collect airborne contaminants on the new washed surface as you drive.
- Use a paint conditioner
There are a number of good paint conditioners on the market that are non-abrasive and can be sprayed onto the surface of the car to protect the surface. Before you do this, you should check with the car panel work specialist who did the respray, or the manufacturer, if it is a new car, about the best conditioners to use. They will be able to give you professional advice on what to purchase so as to maintain the lustre of the paint job. You can buy these products off the shelf but make sure that you follow the instructions to get the best possible result.
- Protect the car from mother nature
This has got to be one of the more difficult things because in the Australian climate, sunlight and heat are a given in most territories. However, if you continuously park your vehicle in the great outdoors without shade protection, the sun and the heat is going to fade that shiny finish. It doesn’t matter if the paint job is enamel, water-based, urethane or lacquer paint, prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays will cause problems.
This is because ultra violet rays allow the paint to absorb moisture and any dirt particles which leads to the paint fading over time. If possible, utilize a shady parking area at home or put the car away in the garage to cut down on UV exposure. If camping or at the beach, head for a shady spot and don’t forget to wash down the dust and sand when the beach holiday is over. If you can avoid parking under the tree that shows signs of bird activity, this will benefit the paint job as well. Bird droppings are very acidic and if not removed quickly, will leave a permanent stain. This also goes for some tree sap and berries, so either cover with a tarp or wash off any surprise packages as soon as possible.
- Use a car wax
With the slippery protective surface that comes with wax, any abrasive dirt particles slide off the car. The wax also prevents any scratching on the paintwork. It is important that car wax is used sparingly because it can build up a layer of product, that while protecting the car, also dulls the shiny new look of the paint. Your panel work specialists who restored your just-new-paint-job will be able to recommend a good product to use and advise on how often to use it. Usually the recommendation is to invest in a good quality car wax and use it every three months or so. Make sure you use a clean chamois cloth and buff all the wax finish on the paint surface to bring up the shine and not hide it.
- Clay is not just for the kids
Sometimes, you will not be able to get all the dirt and grime off with just using warm water and a car shampoo, so consider treating the paint job to a clay bar finish. Clay has a flexible property and are great for giving paint a smooth and clean consistency. This allows the light to reflect off the surface thus maintaining that newly-painted look. Clay bars have to be used with a lubricating detailing spray so as you rub the bar over the painted surface, it will pick up dirt particles and residues. Once you have finished with the clay bar, ensure you knead and mould it. This is so that you present a fresh clay layer to the surface of the car the next time you decide to use it.
Follow these 5 easy steps to make sure your car keeps its newly painted shine.
Julie Pettett Numanoglu is the Managing Director of Brighton Panel Works, a company her father founded that specialises in the smash repair and car paint matching of prestige cars, in Melbourne, Australia. With 15 years’ experience in the business, Julie certainly understands the importance (and struggles) of keeping your car in tip-top shape after a new paint job!