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How to Properly Maintain Your Car's Exterior: A Step-by-Step Guide

Updated: Feb 8


As a car owner, you want your vehicle to look good and last for as long as possible. One important aspect of car ownership is maintaining the exterior. Regular maintenance not only keeps your car looking great but also protects it from the elements and helps prevent rust and other damage. In this post, we'll go over the steps for properly maintaining your car's exterior.


Step 1: Pre-wash Preparation

Before washing your car, it's important to do some pre-wash preparation. This includes removing any loose debris like leaves, twigs, or bird droppings. You can use a soft-bristled brush or a leaf blower for this. Then, rinse the car down with a hose to remove any remaining debris.


Step 2: Washing and Drying

When it comes to washing your car, it's best to use a dedicated car wash soap and a microfiber wash mitt. Start at the top of the car and work your way down, rinsing off the mitt frequently. Avoid using harsh scrub brushes or sponges as they can scratch the paint.

After washing, rinse the car thoroughly and dry it using a microfiber towel or chamois. Avoid air-drying your car as it can leave water spots.


Step 3: Polishing

Polishing is the process of removing imperfections like swirls, scratches, and water spots from the paint. This can be done by hand or with a machine polisher. A good polish can also enhance the color and shine of the paint.

When choosing a polish, make sure it's compatible with your car's paint type. Apply the polish using a foam applicator pad and work in small sections. Buff off the excess polish with a microfiber towel.


Step 4: Waxing

Waxing is the final step in maintaining your car's exterior. It provides a protective layer that helps prevent damage from UV rays, dirt, and grime. Waxing also enhances the shine of the paint.


Like with polish, choose a wax that's compatible with your car's paint type. Apply the wax in a thin, even layer using a foam applicator pad. Let it dry to a haze, then buff it off with a microfiber towel.


Step 5: Maintenance Tips

To keep your car's exterior looking great between washes, here are some maintenance tips:

  • Park your car in a shaded area to protect it from UV rays and bird droppings

  • Clean off any bird droppings or tree sap as soon as possible to prevent damage

  • Avoid parking under trees or near construction sites where debris can fall on your car

  • Use a detailing spray to remove light dust and fingerprints between washes

  • Wash your car regularly, especially during the winter months when salt and road grime can cause damage


Properly maintaining your car's exterior doesn't have to be a difficult or time-consuming task. By following these simple steps, you can keep your car looking great and protect it from damage. Make car maintenance a priority and your vehicle will thank you for it.


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