Keep the new car Shiny
May 13, 2009 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Just got a sweet new car. Now I'm looking for car care products, tips, and suggestions.

After a few years getting by with a old junker car, Mrs. tdreyer1 and I have gotten ourselves a new 2009 Kia Optima. Unlike with my old car, I actually care what this car looks like & how long it lasts. Because of this, I'm new to taking care of the car (beyond mechanical maintenance) and I am looking for car care products for the interior and exterior, tips on keeping it nice for as long as possible, and anything else anyone thinks would be useful to keep it looking nice and working good for years to come.

Looking for more cosmetic care & protection than mechanical. Thanks!
posted by tdreyer to Grab Bag (11 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: ha ha, typo. "...Mrs. tdreyer and I..."
posted by tdreyer at 12:40 PM on May 13, 2009

I just also got a new car, and one of the advice I got was to "never bring food into the new car and you will keep that new car smell for a long time". 3rd week with my new car, still smell like a new car. :-)
posted by weink at 12:46 PM on May 13, 2009

Ditto the don't bring food in the car and don't eat in the car. Also, don't leave stuff in the car at the end of the day - make a trip or two into the house to unload everything that has accumulated over the course of a day's use.
posted by handful of rain at 12:52 PM on May 13, 2009

I've been detailing my car(s) for a long time and my favorite product is FK1 1000p. Durable, easy to apply and remove. If you want something extremely easy (quick to apply, no wipe off), Ultima PGP is great also.

Both look great and are sealants which will give you more protection than wax and will last considerably longer.

For interiors, I like 303. Gives a nice matte glow and offers great protection.
posted by wongcorgi at 1:23 PM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have a disturbing affection for a product called Hydro - it's very easy to use, smells like heaven, and works as advertised. After washing my ride I spritz it all over with Hydro and then dry the car with a waffle-weave microfiber towel or two. It is not a substitute for an occasional full-on waxing, but it keeps things incredible between waxings. For waxing, and being lazy, I like the Prima product called Banana Gloss (which unfortunately does not smell like bananas) for its easy application. It lasts a month or two. BG can go on even in full sun. 303 seems to be the gold standard for interior protection.
posted by cairnish at 1:24 PM on May 13, 2009

@cairnish: If you like wax as you dry products, check out Duragloss Aquawax, its pretty much the standard on the car detailing forums. Looks good, lasts a couple weeks. I have a stockpile that I use on parents/friends cars.
posted by wongcorgi at 1:32 PM on May 13, 2009

I haven't used it myself, but I have heard wonderful things about Scotchgard PPF (also sold under the name 3M Clear Bra, I believe).
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 2:09 PM on May 13, 2009

The single best thing you can do to make your car last is park it indoors as often as you can. If you don't have a garage, many of your battles will already be lost before the war begins, unless you want to be absolutely obsessive about cleaning. Even then, the sun is the enemy, it will eventually cause the clear coat to fail and the interior to bake. (If you have a garage and its full of crap, you might want to rethink priorities.) A carport is better than nothing.

Most new cars are fairly decent about corrosion resistance these days, but minimizing your driving, if possible, when salt is on the road will extend the life of your car a lot.

Be sure to keep drain holes free of junk. These are in places like the base of the windshield trim, the fuel filler area, etc. If you're ever washing your car and find water pooling in one of these places, you need to clean the drain, most of the time a strong squirt from the hoses directly into the drain will do it.

Do not use your car as a shelf, even to put shopping bags on, as you'll undoubtedly scuff the paint eventually. If you do have a garage, take a peek at where you store things that can fall against the car, and see if there are places to store them so you don't come out and find the lawn rake leaning against the fender, with accompanying dent.

No smoking in the car, obviously. Don't try to haul loads your machine isn't really designed for...the 10 bags of quickcrete and two sheets of plywood are better transported on the back of Home Depot's rental truck than on the roof and back seat of your car. Likewise, it doesn't hurt to have a small cheap waterproof tarp stashed in the spare tire well for those times you're picking up messy stuff to put in the trunk.

No matter how much care you take, others aren't going to give a crap about your car, and you are going to get door dings or worse. Don't sweat it too much. Budget a bit of money somewhere to have the "paintless" ding repair guy pay a visit every year or two, if you do accumulate some parking rash. Be sure to touch in any significant chips in the paint with appropriate touch-up paint to prevent corrosion. (There are lots of good articles online about how to use said paint and get a near perfect finish.)

Don't neglect your wheels if you want to keep your car looking good. You see a lot of otherwise nice cars with filthy wheels. Clean wheels make a huge difference in how good your car looks.

Finally, don't ever be tempted to pocket the money if you get into a minor accident and get an insurance settlement. There is nothing you can do from that point forward that will make your once cherished ride anything but an uncared-for used car.
posted by maxwelton at 3:33 PM on May 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Those who really know, use Zymol for the exterior painted surfaces. You will never EVER see swirls with this product. After washing your car and letting it dry completely, simply wipe on Zymol per instructions and buff off by hand (no machine needed) with a clean cloth.You can do a whole car in twenty-thirty minutes. Couldn't be simpler or faster and an absolutely superior product. Finish is superior to anything I've seen done by machine or hand other than concours type finishes and the difference is so negligable as to be insignificant. Concours finishes often involve many multiple steps. I've found Zymol to be better and easier to use than Meguars (sp?) and certainly Turtle Wax products. I wouldn't use anything else. Customer for life.
posted by Muirwylde at 8:09 PM on May 13, 2009

If you want some great general tips for basic exterior maintenance, I suggest this section of the 200/700/900 Volvo FAQ. Written by guys (and girls) who scoff at anything less than 200,000 miles, it'll keep things nice & shiny, no matter what your vehicle.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 6:19 AM on May 14, 2009

Keep it out of the sun.
posted by Doohickie at 6:25 PM on May 28, 2009

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