Maintain Your Car's Appearance


In this article you will learn:

  • Tips and tricks for maintaining a flawless finish

  • Which products and tools to add to your detailing kit

  • How to inspect your car paint for scratches and swirls

You just bought a brand-new car from the dealership and want to keep it looking that way. Or maybe, you had the detail shop give your car the works, and now you’re looking for ways to preserve that glossy, showroom look.

Cars are expensive and difficult to replace, so it’s important to perform the proper, day-to-day maintenance to protect your hard-earned investment. Taking care of your car’s appearance is about more than just aesthetics; washing, waxing and polishing your car regularly prevents dry rot, oxidation and more severe damage down the line.

So, how do you maintain that smooth, cloud-reflecting finish? Here are 5 car detailing tips to help your car stay beautiful while keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape!

Put Together a Basic Detailing Kit With All The Essentials

One of the most important ways to help your vehicle last is making sure you use all the right products and tools. It's always a good idea to store a detailing kit in your trunk or garage, so you’ve got everything you need to keep your car looking shiny and new, all in one place. We recommend putting together a basic detailing kit that includes the following items to make sure you’ve covered all your bases:

  • Car wash soap: You’ll need a good, pH-balanced car wash soap like ICE Snow Foam or M.A.X. Power Detergent to remove dirt, mud and grime for a sparkling clean finish. We recommend pairing your preferred car wash shampoo with a durable wash mitt or a gentle, microfiber towel to lift tough stains and soils without leaving behind scratches and swirls.
    It’s also helpful to have at least one 5-gallon bucket on hand; two if you prefer the double bucket cleaning method to wash your car. You’ll need one bucket for your cleaning solution and one to rinse off your carwash mitt. For the best results, you can pair your buckets with 1-2 grit guards to filter loose dirt and debris from your car wash solution.
  • Specialty cleaner: Specialty cleaners like Bug & Tar Remover are especially helpful during the warm, summer months to scrub away sticky bug stains, tar and tree sap deposits that you can’t remove with a regular car wash soap.
  • Clay bar and lubricant: A clay bar will lift any stubborn, leftover contaminants embedded deep in your clear coat to create the smoothest possible finish.
  • Polishing compound: Car polishing compounds remove scratches, oxidation and paint transfer from the surface of your vehicle to restore worn, dulling paintwork to like-new condition.
    You can use an adjustable polish, like Hybrid Solutions Pro 1 & Done, with several cutting pads of varying intensities to correct anything from the finest of lines to the heaviest scuffs and swirls. Or, you can try a multi-step solution like Hybrid Solutions Polish & Wax to protect and restore your paintwork all in one go!
  • Car wax: Once you’ve finished washing and polishing your car, you’ll need to use a car wax to add a fresh layer of protection and shine to your paintwork. If you prefer a quick and easy wax application, we recommend a car wax spray like Hybrid Solutions Pro Flex Wax along with a dedicated, microfiber towel. If you’re a car enthusiast with more time on your hands, you can use a liquid wax like Hybrid Solutions Pro to the Max to achieve an even deeper, eye-popping shine.
  • Dual action polisher: If you’re serious about waxing and polishing your car like the pros, then you should invest in a dual action polisher. These handy buffing machines speed up the detailing process and enhance your vehicle’s depth of color and gloss to give your car the ultimate “wow” factor! You can purchase a basic polisher like the Porter Cable, or upgrade to a more advanced model like The Flex for professional, showroom-quality results.
  • Interior detailer: Interior detailers remove dirt, dust and light stains from any surfaces inside your car. You can use an interior detailing spray like Oxy Interior 1 with any interior cleaning accessory, like a Scrub Ninja pad or a microfiber towel, to lift tough dirt and stains from your floor mats, carpet, plastics and upholstery.
put together a basic detailing kit with all the essentials

Wash And Dry Your Own Car At Home

Although it may be easier to take a trip through the car wash, washing your car at home usually results in a higher-quality finish. Handwashing your vehicle also allows you to devote the extra attention and care needed to remove difficult stains and soils completely without damaging your delicate paintwork.

As you rinse off your car, pay attention to how the water runs off your finish. If the water beads up and slides off your clear coat easily, then your vehicle still has plenty of protection and just needs a quick touch up with a spray wax or coating. If the water refuses to budge from the surface of your car, then it’s time to apply a fresh layer of wax to prevent scratches and swirls.

To maintain a flawless finish, use a clean, microfiber towel to pat your car dry. This will prevent streaks or water spots from forming on your freshly washed paintwork.

wash and dry your own car at home

Inspect Your Finish For Scratches And Swirls

After washing and drying your car, take a closer look at your exterior panels to check for any new scratches, swirls or oxidation. If any patches of paint on your car look chalky or faded, then your paintwork has begun to oxidize. You’ll need to use car polish and a cutting pad to smooth these scratches and swirls and return your vehicle to a factory fresh look.

inspect your finish for scratches and swirls

Always Perform a Spot Test Before Using Waxes and Polishes

It’s important to spot test new waxes and polishes before using them all over your paintwork. This safety measure prevents unfortunate mishaps from using products that aren’t compatible with your finish, which can damage your vehicle.

To perform a spot test, apply a small amount of product to a small, inconspicuous area, such as your front bumpers or a underneath your door panels. If you don’t get the results you want, switch to a different product or pad until your desired effect.

always perform a spot test before using waxes and polishes

Don’t Forget to Rinse Your Tools When You’re Done!

Once you finished detailing your car, it’s important to rinse off any tools you used to wash, wax and restore your vehicle to avoid scratching your finish or contaminating your car with chemicals that aren’t safe for your delicate paintwork.

Wash any used microfiber towels in the laundry machine with detergent only, then set them to tumble dry. Rinse off any used applicators, scrubbing pads and detailing brushes with a garden hose until any excess product and soils have been removed, then hang them to dry.

don’t forget to rinse your tools when you’re done


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