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When you own a car you’re proud to show off, you likely want to keep it looking new and like you just drove it off the lot. Over time, the paint can fade, and scuffs can develop with daily use of the vehicle. Fortunately, there are a few ways to keep your car looking like new for a longer period of time.

Wash the Car Yourself

Although it may be convenient to take your car to the car wash each week, the solutions used in the soap can be tough on the paint because it works hard to remove dirt and grime that builds up. The spinning brushes can also be harsh on the vehicle, making it necessary to wash it by hand to get the same results.

If you don’t have time to wash it yourself, you can have it detailed by a professional detailer.

Completely Dry it Off

Many people make the mistake of allowing their car to air dry every time they wash it instead of drying it off with a towel. Unfortunately, this can affect the quality of the paint job and allow minerals and dirt to settle once the water dries. Over time, the dirt can cause minor scratches to form on the paint. Use a microfiber cloth every time it rains or water splashes onto the vehicle to protect the paint to absorb more of the water.

Removes Scuffs and Splotches

Get in the habit of immediately removing any bird droppings or tree sap from your car to prevent it from damaging the paint job. The deposits are often acidic and can eat away on the finish of the car. They’re also more challenging to completely remove once they dry. Keep some cleaning supplies in your car at all times to ensure you can wipe the grime off while you’re away from home. When cleaning off the scuffs and splotches, apply the cleaning product directly to the towel instead of on the paint.

Use a Clay Bar

A clay bar is useful for creating a slick finish and adding a touch of shine to the car’s exterior. Clay bars also work well for removing a build-up of dirt and grime that accumulates over time. Consider using the clay bar on the car every time the paint feels slightly rough after you wash it.

Spend Time on the Interior

The interior of the car also needs attention because dirt, dust, and crumbs can accumulate. Wipe the dust every week and use a vacuum cleaner to suction small particles to keep the interior looking new. If you have leather upholstery, use a conditioning product to prevent cracks from forming.

Park Away From Other Vehicles

Although it may be tempting to park as close as you can to a store or restaurant, it can also mean you’re getting in proximity to other vehicles in the parking lot. Other drivers can be careless when getting in and out of their car, which can cause minor dents to form on your vehicle. Get in the habit of parking away from everyone else to reduce the risk of having blemishes start to appear on your car.

Knowing the best steps to take to keep your car looking new will allow it to retain its value over the years. You’ll not only feel proud to show off the car but can have an easier time selling it once you’re ready to upgrade to a newer model.