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Atlantic Racing Scene

The Importance of protecting your vehicle’s finish

xBy Jay Lerue

When you think about it, just about everyone enjoys the sights and sounds of a clean, freshly waxed muscle car, as it roars down the road with the sun absolutely dancing off it’s chrome, nearly blinding you as you watch it roll by. Yes, it is finally show and shine season in the Maritimes again, with winter all but behind us for another year!

This issue, I want to focus on the importance of protecting your car’s finish and what can actually happen to it, due to neglect. Our winters here in the Maritimes can get a bit harsh. When winter becomes Spring, proper car care starts with a thorough washing. It’s important to wash all the road salt, mud and grime that have accumulated on your vehicle and under the wheel wells during the winter.

Make sure you use a pH balanced car wash. How many of us, (and I’m equally guilty) have used dish detergent, or even hair shampoo to clean our cars with? This, apparently, is a bad idea. These types of detergents, considered to be harsh, have the ability to remove the wax from your car’s finish. Waxing your car is not just a pastime that makes your car look good. It’s a very crucial step in protecting and promoting the longevity of your car’s overall appearance.

Prior to waxing, you should run your hand over the surfaces of your car. Do they feel rough? If so, it’s time to put the cap back on your favorite wax and work loose any grime, bugs, road tar, water deposits, etc. Otherwise, you’re not waxing your car’s finish, but are rather sealing in any of this unwanted matter, with wax. Got the car clean and clear of any contaminates now?

Great! Now it’s time to apply a polish and wax to protect your car’s finish from the harsh elements such as UV rays, acid rain, and industrial fallout. Always use smooth, uniform and even coats for maximum coverage. Tools are just as important. It is recommended that you use a high quality micro-fiber cloth or 100% terry cloth towel. The use of dish cloths, or rags will end up scratching your car and doing more harm than good.

The paint and clear coat on your car is very sensitive. Remember that your car’s finish provides more than beauty. Over time, a car’s paint erodes due to the effects of sunlight, UV radiation, acid rain, salt, dirt, and air pollution. Wax your car every six months with a quality wax or polish. More frequent waxes are needed if your car is red, black or white because these colors are more susceptible to acid rain and UV rays. Contrary to popular belief, rainfall does not clean your car the way we all like to think it does.

One of the most critical times to wash your vehicle is immediately after a rainfall because of the ill effects of acid rain. Even though the water evaporates, the acid stays behind and can eat into your vehicle’s finish. While you may not be able to prevent acid rain, you can prevent it from ruining your vehicle’s finish by frequent washing and polishing. As for waxes, it is suggested that you try to find one that allows for “sheeting action.”

This sheeting action allows the water to run off your car equally, while leaving no hard water residue behind. Apparently, “beading action” is no longer the preferred result after we wax our cars. How many of us have seen our dads take the hose to the car, after waxing it and hearing him comment on how well the water beads against the freshly waxed surface? I know I sure have!

However, the problem herein, is that when water evaporates off of a car’s surface after beading, there are deposits (or water spots) left behind that the sun can magnify and ultimately burn through your car’s clear finish, making the car susceptible to rust spots. But, the bottom line here has to be that using a reputable wax, whether it beads or has sheeting action, is still better for your car in the long run, than using none at all, especially, here in the Atlantic Canada! Better to let the car wax companies battle it out, over who has the best product.

In closing, please keep in mind that appearance is the first thing that people look for in a used car. If a car’s finish turns buyers off, it’s virtually impossible to get a good price-no matter how well the car runs. The car, which is noticeably rusted, dull and spotty, will sell for significantly less than the same car with a showroom finish. Proper care of the car’s appearance will definitely pay off at trade-in time!

Till next time, take care and happy motoring.

You can Email Jay here