Most personal finance experts would agree that keeping your vehicle for up to 10 years is a sound economic decision. The economics of keeping a vehicle that long is overwhelmingly compelling. So why is it so rare to find someone who has owned the same car for so long? After all, most cars today still work well after a few hundred thousand kilometers. So why do people keep buying a new car when the one they have is fine? peer pressure? Maybe it looks outdated? This could be true, especially if the new edition sees major styling changes. Maybe it’s because people are worried about the likelihood of a major mechanical problem.
We’ve found that buying that new car is going to be a lot harder when you can keep it looking new through a proven strategy. So what can be done to slow down the aging process? How can a car be used regularly and not age. There is no specific activity, but several things that contribute to a common goal. Below is a list of ways to keep your car looking like new.
1. By far the best way to keep your vehicle looking new is to leave it in the garage at night. Most people think the damage comes from the grueling midday heat and dust burning the dirt into the paintwork and plastic, but the most destructive time is at night when the cool moisture condenses on the car’s surface. This is the cause of the problem. We live here in Los Angeles in a basin where cars drive around all day. Exhaust fumes, pollution and road grime rise into the atmosphere during hot days and are suspended there until the cool sea air rushes in and traps the pollution in the moisture that condenses on the car. That morning dew that sits on the vehicle’s horizontal surfaces is a sulphur/acidic toxic cocktail made from all the junk in our air. It eats into the paint, the paneling around the doors, yellows the headlights and destroys the rubber parts. No test laboratory can recreate that! The humidity isn’t terribly bad, but if this process is done every night for 5 to 8 years, it will take its toll on the outside.
2. Keep the vehicle under an overhang at night. The next best thing for a garage would be to protect the vehicle from dew at night. Read the reason in the paragraph above again. The next best long term protection is the overhang. (Car covers are helpful if the vehicle has been at the airport for 2 weeks or in your driveway for a week. It’s a good idea as a daily defense, but over time it becomes a chore and too dirty to put on the car. )
3. Regular waxing. Regular waxing is every 3 to 4 months or every 5,000 miles. So if your vehicle has driven 20,000 miles it should have 4 coats of wax. Waxing gives the car a wafer-thin layer of protection from the elements. As the vehicle ages, attention to the exterior should increase. Occasionally the paint should be polished to restore surface clarity. Polishing the paintwork every 1 1/2 years or every 15,000 miles will extend the life of the wax and keep the paintwork in top condition.
4. Regular exterior washes keep the vehicle free of dust and dirt. The longer dirt and dust sit on the paintwork, the sooner it begins to adhere to the surface.
5. 3M Paint Protection Film is the best way to prevent stone chipping in the paintwork. By applying this film to the bumper and bonnet, the vehicle’s original paintwork is protected from damage. This film is removable and has no long-term effect on the paintwork. It is conceivable that this foil could be removed 10 years after installation and the paintwork would look as it did on the day it rolled off the assembly line. Truly the best long-term solution for the everyday driver.
6. Window tint. Protect the interior from fading and drying out with a lifetime warranty film. During the day, the interior of the vehicle is exposed to the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. Window tint blocks 100% of ultraviolet rays. It also reduces internal heat and reduces glare. With regular interior detailing and window tinting, the interior looks like it did the day it was installed. In addition, the window tint improves comfort for the passenger and driver.
7. Cleaning the engine every six months ensures good visibility of the fluid levels. It can improve preventive maintenance inspection and keep the engine running cooler. Also, mechanics respect a clean engine and are more likely to clean up after themselves.
8. Regularly removing small door dents and dents. The cost of keeping your doors “bell free” is really reasonable and the paintless dent removal process is non-invasive. It’s impossible to stop a daily driver from getting a doorbell ring at some point, but the good news is they can be sent out and restored to their original position. No painting or bondo is required and the vehicle retains its original factory paintwork.
9. Deep cleaning detail. The vehicle should receive a complete detailing every 1.5 to 2 years. Most people will wait until the vehicle is so bad that something needs to be done. For a potted plant, this is the equivalent of waiting for the leaves to turn brown before watering.
10. Maintaining a like-new vehicle after 10 years requires preventative or preventative care. Planned detail dates over a period of 1 year help to keep the vehicle on track. The paint job doesn’t remind you that it needs waxing. So don’t wait until you notice the car is getting a little shabby before acting. Finally, the mechanical part of the vehicle is just as important. We strongly recommend compliance with all scheduled mechanical maintenance.