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The most telling sign of an aging car is a deteriorating exterior. Unfortunately, it does not take much for the paint on your car to form chips, scratches, and rust. Few things lower the value of your car quicker than paint imperfections. Even if its mechanical parts are in excellent working condition, you still will not get top value for it unless the surface looks excellent as well. Fortunately, there are small things you can do to keep your car looking new for years to come.

Wrap it up

There are custom films available that can protect your car’s paint from salt, gravel, bugs, and bird droppings. There are even films that have been designed to “heal” themselves when scratched or dented slightly.

Regular Washing and Treatment

During the winter months, wash your car at least once a week to prevent salt from staying on the surface long enough to cause corrosion. In the summer months, you can stretch washing out to every two to three weeks.

To protect your car better, get it professionally hand washed with a clay bar, followed by a professional wax at least twice a year. The clay bar will remove any remaining particles from washing as soap alone can miss tiny particles. Without the clay bar, you could end up leaving scratches on your car when you apply wax on top of these tiny particles.

Fill Scratches

Regularly inspect your car and cover minor scratches with clear nail polish until you can bring it to a professional. Even small scratches can cause rust to start forming. Fine scratches that do not hit the metal can be buffed out while deeper scratches will need some paint.

Deal with Rust ASAP

Rust can spread quickly so be sure to bring your car to a professional as soon as you notice it. The longer you wait, the worse the rust will get, and the more it will cost to fix it.

Defensive Parking

Park away from other cars in parking lots whenever possible. It can be inconvenient but being next to other cars leaves yours susceptible to scratches from opening doors or shopping carts left out.

Contain Keys

Most people keep their car keys on a keyring with several other keys. Do not dangle this large chunk of metal pieces outside your car door or, over time, many small scratches will accumulate around your door handle. Avoid putting purses and wallets with metal hardware on the roof or trunk of your car for the same reason.

Use Mud Flaps

These are especially useful for large vehicles like an SUV or trucks at preventing dirt from spraying all over. Mud flaps deter water, salty slush, small rocks, and brake dust from collecting on your back wheels and bumper.

Remove Snow Carefully

An ice scraper can wreak havoc on your paint when used carelessly. Try to get a foam brush instead of the nylon bristle brushes commonly sold because they can leave fine scratches. When removing snow, pull it towards yourself gently in straight lines, not circles. Try not to pass over the same area more than once and do not worry about getting every speck of snow off, you can let the car’s engine melt some of it off.

Use Car Covers

These can prevent the sun from bleaching your paint and keep bird droppings off.