Owning a car is a necessity for most of us, either because we need to use it for work, to run the family around or to tow that prized boat. Some have even made the choice to go without a car for the sole purpose of making life simple and carefree, but let’s face it most of us need that car. If you add it up, we all spend a lot of money to buy our cars. In many cases it is one of the biggest investment we make over our life time. Here are some Australian averages for example.
Australian averages (per week):
- $223 – current housing
- $193 – transport
- $161 – recreation
- $59 – household furnishing & equipment
- $44 – clothing & footwear
It is also spending that we probably should weigh up carefully before we do it. Mainly because most cars depreciate in value over time. In fact some vehicles drop 30% of their value the moment you drive them off the new car showroom floor! This article is aimed at helping you keep that asset in the best shape you can and minimising that auto showing on the liability side of the ledger as much as possible. We spend money to buy fuel gas, car accessories, car parts and for repairs needed when something breaks down on your vehicle you likely have to fix it. But a bit of effort on cleaning and proper treatment of the your auto exterior can keep its value as high as possible. If you don’t keep on top of auto body care, its going to cost you a lot to do something about it later. A full paint job can cost thousands! And when someone comes to check out your wheels when you offer them for sale.. Appearance counts for a lot. The only way to keep that car’s value is to do proper care and maintenance.
Minor scratches and stone chips are common car problems that don’t need a panel shop in all cases. You can do something about these yourselves and can help you save those precious dollars down the road. Minor touch ups can be done with care yourself and at the minimum can reduce rust. Touch up with care can certainly improve the overall look of your car.
Rust can develop on the body of your car over time. Rust will develop faster if no maintenance is done; such as washing and waxing. Salt from ocean spray, ocean mist or from snow melting and bird’s droppings are some of the things that can aide in faster rusting of your auto’s bodywork. Your car’s under-chassis is also quite vulnerable to rusting specially if you live in a very humid environment or a place where salt is commonly used during winter seasons. Below are some helpful tips that you can do.
- Wash Your Car Regularly – Washing your car regularly, at least once or twice a month, ensures the removal of dirt, salt and other debris from the surface of the car’s body. These elements can cause staining, rusting and corrosion if not removed. Make sure to wash the underneath of your car thoroughly. Dirt and salt(specially if you are living in places with winter where salt is used to remove snow on the road), can build up if not properly cleaned. Salt can and will corrode those areas and damage those sections of the cars body. Use a pressure-washing hose to better wash the underneath of your vehicle. If you are in a bayside area, once again salt is a big factor.
- Use water to remove bird droppings – Most people think this is due to the acid content. But according to car care product supplier Autoglym, however, damage actually results from cooling paint lacquer which contracts and hardens around the deposits. See here The great thing, is that paint damage can usually be avoided – but only if owners act fast.. Soak the bird droppings with water, add a few drops of soap to be more effective, for a few minutes and then spray them off.
- Wax your car – Waxing not only makes your car new looking, but it also serves as a layer of protection against corrosion. Water that may seep through scratches and any porous surfaces on your car’s paint. Make sure to use non-abrasive car wax and not cutting compounds. Check your car’s user’s manual for any brand or type of car wax recommended by the manufacturer before buying the car wax. When applying the car wax, use a large soft sponge or soft cloth to avoid scratches and make sure to only put in on the painted surface of your vehicle. Avoid putting it on the rubber or plastic parts because this can cause permanent stain. However if you accidentally rubbed the wax on those parts, remove the it immediately. Remove all the wax by buffing the surface of the car using a clean, soft cloth.
- Make use of rustproofing agent – This is really helpful if you are living in a very humid place or if your car is subjected to salt in the air specially if you live in places where salt is used during winter months. Rustproofing can help prevent rust build up and corrosion in your car’s body and under-chassis.
- Apply paint to small dents, scratches or chips on the surface of your car. – Dents, scratches and chips can create corrosion if not repaired immediately. Not only that, these things are not good to look at on the surface of your car’s body. To repair these, purchase a touch-up paint from your car dealer or manufacturer. Make sure it is the same exact color as the paint in your car. You can often go to the OEM Dealer for your car and get exactly the same colour of paint that was applied to your vehicle in production. Remember to ask for advise. The dealers are generally very happy to help. Before applying the paint, make sure the car is clean and dry. Dirt or moisture can lessen the effectiveness of the paint. Squeeze a small amount of paint into the cap of the paint tube and dip a wooden toothpick into the paint. Using the toothpick, carefully apply the paint into chipped, deeply scratched or dented area. Refer to the instructions of the touch-up paint on how long before the paint needs to dry before you apply the clear coating. For minor scratches, you can use a polishing compound to remove scratched area. This takes a good eye, if the scratch is in a clear coat, remember it may not be a good idea to polish your way through that coating. It is possible to buy special compounds that will fill areas of clear coat that are scratched and do a great job of making it appear the surface has been restored. Here is a great one from a big manufacturer. Make use of a damp sponge or soft cloth and gently polish the affected area. Don’t rub to vigorously, this might damage your cars body paint. After a little while, wash the area and check if the scratches are gone. If they are still there apply again the polishing compound. Once the scratches are gone, you can apply car wax on that area to make it shine.