Florida is hell-bent on destroying your vehicle’s exterior! Salt, sand, sunshine, and a plague of clear-coat melting insects are a constant threat from the moment you drive off the lot. While this may sound like the cost of doing business in Florida, there are some simple steps you can take to stave off undo wear and tear on your vehicle.
1. WASH REGULARLY
Hang in there… I know that sounds obvious, but it’s a critical step here in Florida. Washing your vehicle isn’t just about showing Greg next door that you’re better than him (though that’s important). Regular washing removes the dirt, grime, and harmful chemicals that cling to your vehicle. If left unaddressed, these harsh compounds can eat right through your clear coat, causing unsightly damage and depreciation.
We recommend that you wash your vehicle at least once every two weeks. Once a week would be better, but best practices and reality don’t always jive.
In addition, if you happen to get targeted by one of those pterodactyl sized birds that patrol our skies, you should remove the deposit as quickly as possible. Same goes for swarms of love bugs, tree sap attacks, trips to the beach, and other apocalyptic misfortunes common to Florida.
For best results and the sweetest caress, we recommend that you hand wash your vehicle as often as possible. While those $5 drive-thru carwashes are convenient and look like a rave, they are rough on your vehicle and can cause damage over time.
Hand-washing takes more time, but the result is a cleaner, healthier car!
2. GET WAXED
If you aren’t used to waxing your vehicle, this may sound a little extreme. However, if your vehicle spends most of its time outside in the elements, you should really wax it every three months. Wax not only provides that sexy shine, it creates a layer of protection from UV rays and all of those aforementioned elements. If your vehicle spends most of its time covered or in the garage, you can get away with less frequent waxing.
There are three primary kinds of wax: Spray-ons, liquids, and pastes.
Spray-on wax is the easiest to apply and remove, but tends to be the least durable. It’s great for new vehicles or vehicles that are washed and waxed regularly.
Liquid waxes are a great option for older vehicles that may require a deeper cleaning. They tend to provide a good level of shine and durability.
Paste waxes require a bit more work to apply, but they are generally more durable and hold their shine for longer.
Regardless of which you choose to use, be sure that your vehicle is thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated with a chemical cleaner before applying wax. If possible, get your vehicle out of the sun and cooled down before applying wax. Sunshine and heat will cause the wax to harden prematurely and make it harder to remove.
3. CERAMIC COATING
Ceramic coating is where auto detailing and science meet. Ceramic coating is a chemical polymer solution applied to the exterior of your vehicle. This coating provides an added layer of protection from UV rays and all of those other nasties we’ve discussed. It’s also hydrophobic so water and water-based grime bead up and eventually slide off. In many cases, a quick high pressure wash will have your vehicle looking clean and shiny again!
Best of all — it requires minimal maintenance and can protect your ride for years.
Now, while ceramic coating can do a lot to protect your vehicle, it’s not a miracle worker.
- It doesn’t prevents scratches, dents, and dings (though it can help to minimize damage).
- It won’t prevent water spots caused by minerals in water
- And it doesn’t mean you can stop washing your vehicle
Ceramic coating is also a time and labor intensive process. When the coating is applied, it locks in whatever lies beneath. Scratches, swirls, chemicals, and organic residue all need to be repaired or removed before the coating is applied.
It’s also imperative that the coating is applied correctly. It’s designed to harden and stay on your vehicle for a long time. Get it wrong and it can be a bear to fix!
THE BOTTOM LINE
This is, of course, a top level look at maintaining your vehicle’s exterior. There are as many products on the market as there are potholes in Florida’s roads and it can be a bit overwhelming. However, if you focus on the basics and are consistent, you can keep your vehicle’s paint healthy and beautiful for years to come.
If you would like some assistance protecting your vehicle from the Florida smackdown, we can help! Our full-service Auto Salon offers a wide range of auto detailing services for any budget. To learn more or schedule an appointment, give us a call at (877) 808-4488.