Many car owners do not know the importance of keeping their car in good cosmetic condition. Yet, what they do not realize is that maintaining their car’s pristine look will yield great future returns.

Car Care Consistency is Crucial

When it comes time for a trade-in, a well-kept car will have much greater value than an unkempt one. Data from the Kelley Blue Book illustrates this claim. A 2010 Audi S4 kept in excellent condition is 24% more valuable than one kept in fair condition. So, it is important to invest your time and a little money to keep your car looking swell.

Exterior Essentials

Washing your car regularly is the key to keeping it’s paint in looking vibrant and lustrous. Experts recommend cleaning your car’s exterior once a week. Be sure that mud, dust, dead insects, and bird poop don’t build up on the outside of you car. If you spot a problem, clean it immediately. Uncleaned grime will diminish your paint’s finish.Learning how to hand wash your car is one the the best things you can do to keep your car looking new. Drive-through car washes are okay for a quick clean, but they leave small scratches in the paint. Hand washing will take approximately one hour. Proper technique calls for using two buckets of water: one with soap and another for rinsing your sponge. Rinsing your sponge occasionally will keep sand from scratching your car’s paint. Start from the top of your car and work to the bottom. Be sure to clean your wheels, any dirt left on them will cause corrosion. To dry, choose a lint-free towel to protect the paint finish.

Next, it’s time to wax your car. Make sure your car is cool to the touch, or the wax won’t dry as quickly, making the process more difficult. Apply a protective wax finish in small sections. Work in small circular motions. Allow it to dry and then buff it out with a microfiber towel.

Interior Essentials

Upkeep on your car’s interior involves cleaning it’s upholstery, trim, carpets, consoles, and doors. This process should take about 30 minutes. Begin by picking up trash, which can be very dangerous if left on your car’s floor. Next, you’re going to vacuum. Take out your floor mats and place them outside of your car. Clean those first. Next, comb any bare carpet on the inside of your car. Then, vacuum the seats and make sure to get into the tight spaces.After cleaning your floors, take a moist cloth and wipe down your dash, center console, and trim. Get into tiny crevices with a cotton swab. When you’ve finished cleaning the trim, it’s on to the upholstery. Use an all-purpose carpet cleaner spray. Apply it to the fabric, scrub it in, and then use a dry cloth to absorb the excess product. Be sure not to scrub too hard, any excess abrasion will damage the material. When you finish cleaning, apply a protector like Scotch Guard or 303 Fabric Guard.

Wipe all leather or faux-leather upholstery clean. Most leather in cars has a vinyl coating which protects it from damage. So conditioning is not as important than with untreated leather. How often should you clean your leather? Four times a year is enough.