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Keeping your paint shiny is easy to do (Getty Images).
When the sun shines and it's warm outside, everybody wants to have a car with shiny, beautiful paint. Like everything else on your car, its paint job needs to be maintained if you want it to look the same way it did when it rolled off the assembly line. Fortunately, keeping your ride's coat sharp isn't particularly difficult or expensive. Follow these five simple steps, and your car will shimmer like the day you drove it off the lot.

1. Wash regularly

The first step to preserving your paint job is the most obvious. In the normal course of driving, your car becomes covered in dust, tar and other dirty particles from the environment. Over time, these particles can get imbedded in your paint and become difficult to remove. By washing your car every 2-4 weeks with quality soap, you will prevent stubborn particles from getting stuck in there. Using a reputable brand of soap will protect the finish and prevent streaks and water spots.

2. Park in a garage or covered spot

The summer sun can be harmful to your vehicle's finish if your car is always parked under its punishing rays. Cars that spend their lives in the sun will age prematurely, as the paint fades and the interior becomes dry and brittle. Although we can't always park in a garage or car port, it's nice to find a shady spot when possible. Parking in the shade will also prevent the headlights from fading and yellowing.

3. Remove bird droppings immediately

It's a fact of life: No matter where you park your car, birds are going to find a way to poop on it. If these droppings aren't removed within a few days, they can leave a mark on your finish when you do finally clean them off. When removing dry droppings, be careful not to scratch your paint by scrubbing excessively. Instead, apply some water to the affected area and then after a few minutes, wash the droppings off with a hose. In some cases, you might need to gently agitate with a wet, soapy cloth.

4. Remove superficial scratches

Superficial scratches are a normal part of your car's day-to-day wear and tear. Luckily, these scratches can be removed with special products that you can purchase online or at your local auto parts store. There are a number of rubbing compounds and waxes designed to safely remove small scratches and revitalize your car's finish. You can read reviews about the different products online, and also get advice from the auto-supply store attendant. If you've never done this before, stick to products that are applied by hand without the use of a special polishing machine.

Autozone has several options on its website.

5. Get professional detailing

If your car has extensive fading or deep scratches, you may need the help of a professional. Correcting extensive paint damage is a serious job that requires special tools and knowledge. An amateur mistake can irreparably damage your paint and require super expensive work. A professional exterior detail usually costs a few hundred dollars, but the results can be stunning, making your car look brand new again.

Stan Markuze is the founder of PartMyRide, the online marketplace for used auto parts.

DIY Garage: Car Cleaning 101

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 10 Months Ago
      clay bar and wax 2x a year. wash regular. my bmw and tuck get these. unless...unless you see my wifes car. drives the piss out of it and never ever cleans or washes it.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Keep the wheels ( Rims) clean, Free of brake dust that gets burned on really helps keep the car looking new.
      • 10 Months Ago
      That os true anyway, again what i will continue, do you no too much of wash will wash off you paints away.
        • 10 Months Ago
        That is absolutely not true. My current ride is fourteen years old, wash at least twice a month and waxed every other month. The paint is just as shiney as it did when new.
          Faron W. Jerstad
          • 10 Months Ago
          I'm still trying to decipher what-the-hell S71 said....?!!??!?!
      • 10 Months Ago
      I wash mine an average of 20 times a month, and wax every 3 months, looks new all the time
        • 10 Months Ago
        it will rust out before it wears out...lol
      • 10 Months Ago
      WAKE UP YA FOOLS_ OIL WILL NOT break down UNLESS YOUR Motor OVERHEATS- they BILK your STUPID ASSES be TELLING YOU to CHANGE all the time- get a GOOD OIL and a GOOD FILTER- ONLY ADD to it and I GAURANTEE YOU- it will run as long as any other who is STUPID enough to change OVER and OVER and OVER- I had did this ALL my life-60 years and NEVER had a PROBLEM- it's a wonder they dont tell you to do the same to your Transmission- how often do ya change that- RIGHT--ie OIL CHANGE THEROY is TOTAL BS and YOUS fell right in- STOP wasting MONEY!!!
      • 10 Months Ago
      I use a car cover that keeps out the suns rays but also protects from the pollution from the factories.
      • 10 Months Ago
      I am 70 years old, and I have never had any of my cars professionally detailed. My vehicles are always clean and I wax them once a year. You see these cars running around with the paint peeling, and discolored, is because they have never seen a wax job. Wax seals the paint, and leaves it looking like new.
        • 10 Months Ago
        Good for you! I'm glad to know that there a some people left who still do thing for themselves rather than pay someone to do it for them.
      • 10 Months Ago
      Also do wife Cadillac also this way
      John batey
      • 10 Months Ago
      what kind of stupid chit is this??????
      • 10 Months Ago
      Never, ever take your vehicle through a car wash. It's better to not wash it then go through a car wash.
      • 10 Months Ago
      This is part of a bigger picture called auto detailing and trimming which includes the interior also. The appearance of your car can mean the difference in thousands of dollars in the value of it. How non-billionaires own a car is usually like this: They buy it new. They run it through a car wash maybe once or twice. They wax it with paste wax maybe once. At the end of a year the car has lost its "snap". The driver's side carpet is soiled with ground in dirt. The new car smell is gone. The car has obvious wear and has lost half its value. The products needed to keep a car like new cost less than $10.00 a year. An exception is seat, dash covers, and wide floor mats. These are available inexpensively from JC Whitney online. They even match your colors for you. Never use that white pasty polish on your car. It leaves white powder and haze everywhere. Alway use clear polish. Spray-on Turtle wax is great - around $5.99 at Wal Mart. The other item you'll need is petroleum jelly. Save your old t-shirts. Never use textiles with buttons, zippers, clasps that can scratch. Most people overlook the rubber and plastic parts. These fade and dry if not cared for. You can replace these parts, but the expense is considerable. They fade because of exposure to moisture and Sunlight. You can make them last forever with a light coat of vaseline on a clean towel. When polishing the paint be very careful not to get even one particle of sand on your towel. If you drop your towel on the ground or floor, throw it out and get another one. Even one grain of sand on your towel will create circular scratches that are impossible to remove. When the driver side carpet mat becomes dingy, throw it out and replace it. Seat covers are a must. Don't overlook the wheel wells to prevent rust. Wash them, let them dry, and apply a light coat of WD40 so they don't rust. If your skills are limited, cover the tire with a sheet of newspaper. There's more to this see auto detailing.
      • 10 Months Ago
      How about the old way, that is your own power by hand. It even keeps your waist in Shape, because this might be only way you get an exercise. Very good after Sex........................
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