Skin Care for your Car

You don’t have to look far in any department or drug store to find an absolute plethora of skin care products. Everything from lotions to sunscreen to anti-aging butter all but scream from the shelves for your attention, and they obviously sell since you don’t often hear about cosmetic companies going belly-up.

The human body is the most amazing machine in existence bar none. The harder you work it, the stronger it gets, and above all it has the ability to heal and repair itself, now if only we could build a car that does the same.

When your car’s skin is new, the paint shines, the metallic glistens in the sunlight, and the overall effect is pleasing to the eye. Everyone that buys a new car looks at with a wide smile, and I can think of a scant few times some comment isn’t made about how shiny and pretty the color looks. Yet so few people take any steps to insure that it stays that way, or even try to preserve some level of protection and care. Far too many car owners accept shining paint as a new car thing that is doomed to fade with time.

Almost all of us have suffered a sunburn once in our lives, which usually results in red, tender skin followed by some peeling. Over time, the sunburn will heal and you’re as good as new, but your car isn’t so fortunate.

ClearPeelThis picture shows what “sunburn” looks like on your car. We lather ourselves with sunscreen to protect our skin, but your car’s sunscreen is called wax or polish. Granted, it usually takes years before a car looks this bad, but what you see is the  top clear coat degrading away from all the harsh elements, not the least of which are UV rays. Dirt, dust, pollen, acid rain, road salt, are just a few of the things assaulting your car almost daily, and it doesn’t get the benefit of a jacket (car cover) or a house (garage) to protect it from such wear.

A great many people that do wash their car either go through a car wash, which uses a potent industrial soap, or they wash it at home with dish detergent. Yes, common dish soap will wash away grime, bird droppings, tree sap, and a host of other nasty agents from nature, but it also cleanly strips away any protective coatings previously applied.

Dedicated car wash soap is more finish friendly, and some even provide oils or silicone to help the clear coat from becoming brittle, but wax and polish are still the things your car’s skin cries out for.

Now we’ve all seen images of the dedicated car freak spending all afternoon rubbing and buffing until his arms are limp fish in the quest for that reflective shine. Thank God modern chemistry has left that process to those who enjoy such laborious “fun.”

2QuikDetailerQuikWaxMeguiars Quik Wax and Spray Detailer may not be as long term durable as canned paste wax, but they turn the mist and dry process into a rewarding one. I’ve seen many people who don’t bother drying their cars, and are more than happy to let the sun and wind do the job for them. Yet each bead of water acts like a prism in sunlight, and each falling of a little acid rain (common near any industrial area) leaves those annoying little water spot rings that are murder to get rid of, but worse, they are the prelude to clear coat breakdown.

A good, thick microfiber towel and one of these spray products lets the drying cloth glide smoothly over the finish, leaving the wax protection behind. Quik Detailer can even be used on the glass, leaving it clear and shedding water just as good as Rain-X. The lovely shine is the real benefit, and repeating this process after each wash keeps the goodies for your car’s skin steady coming.

Even if you aren’t a Gear-head like me, your car represents a substantial monetary investment, so take some time to care for its skin at least a fraction as much as you care for your own. The car will thank you openly by looking newer for longer, and that’s always a pleasing thing to see in the driveway.

Let’s Motor 😉

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