Most personal finance experts would agree that keeping your vehicle for up to 10 years is a good economical decision. The economics of keeping a vehicle that long are overwhelmingly convincing. So why is it so rare to find someone who owns the same car that long? After all, today most cars will keep working long after a couple hundred thousand miles. So, why do people keep buying a new car when there is nothing wrong with the one they have? Peer pressure? Maybe it looks out of date? This might be true, especially when the new edition undergoes major styling changes. Maybe it is because people start worrying about the likelihood of a major mechanical problem.
We have found that if you can keep it looking new through a proven strategy it will be much more difficult to make that new car purchase. So what can be done to slow down the aging process? How can a car be used on a regular basis and not age. There is no one particular activity, but rather several things that contribute to a common goal. The following is a list of ways to keep the appearance of your car looking like new.
1. By far, the number one way to keep your vehicle looking like new is to KEEP IT IN THE GARAGE AT NIGHT. Most people think the damage results from the grueling midday heat and dust that bake the dirt into the paint and plastic, however, the most destructive time is at night, when the cool moisture condensates on the surface of the car. This is the source of the problem. We live in a basin here in Los Angeles which is packed with automobiles moving about all day. The exhaust, pollution and road grime, rise up into the atmosphere during the hot days and are suspended there until the cool sea air moves in and captures the pollution in the moisture that will condensate on the car. That morning dew sitting on the horizontal surfaces of the vehicle is a sulfur /acidy toxic cocktail of all the junk in our air. It eats into the paint, the trim around the doors, yellows headlights and destroys the rubber parts. No test lab can recreate that! The moisture is not horribly bad, but if this process is done every night for 5 to 8 years, it will take its toll on the exterior.
2. Keep the vehicle under an overhang at night. The next best thing to a garage would be to keep the vehicle from getting dew on it at night. Reread the reason in the paragraph above. The next best long term protection is the overhang. (Car covers are helpful when the vehicle will sit at the airport for 2 weeks or in your driveway for a week. As a daily defense, it is a good idea, but with time it is a hassle as well as too dirty to put on the car. )
3. Regular waxing. Regular waxing is every 3 to 4 months or every 5,000 miles. So by the time your vehicle has 20,000 miles on it, it should have 4 coats of wax. Waxing gives the car a micro thin layer of protection from the elements. As the vehicle gets older, the attention to the exterior should increase. Occasionally, the paint should be polished to restore clarity to the surface. Polishing the paint every 1 1/2 years or ever 15,000 miles will increase the life of the wax, and maintain the paint in top condition.
4. Regular washes on the exterior will keep the vehicle free of dust and contaminants. The longer dirt and dust sit on the paint, the more likely it will start to adhere to the surface.
5. Paint protection film by 3M is the best way to keep the paint rock chip free. By applying this film to the bumper and hood, it will defend the original vehicle paint from damage. This film is removable and does not have any long term effect to the paint. Conceivably, this film could be removed in 10 years after installation, and the paint would look like the day it came 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 vehicles interior is vulnerable to the harmful effects of the suns UV Rays. Window tint blocks out 100% of the ultraviolet rays. It also reduces the internal heat and cuts down on glare. With regular interior detailing and window tint, the interior will look like the day it was installed. Also, window tint improves the comfort of the passenger and drivers.
7. Biannual cleaning of the motor will ensure proper visibility of fluid levels. It can improve preventative maintenance inspection and keeps the motor running cooler. Furthermore, mechanics respect a clean motor and are more likely to clean up after themselves.
8. Periodic removal of small door dings and dents. The cost of keeping your doors "ding" free is really reasonable and the process of Paintless Dent Removal is non invasive. It is impossible to keep a daily driver from eventually getting a door ding, but the good news is that they can be messaged out and restored to its original position. No painting or bondo is necessary and the vehicle maintains its original factory paint.
9. Deep cleaning Detail. Every 1.5 to 2 years the vehicle should get a complete detail. Most people will wait until the vehicle is so bad, something has to be done. For a potted plant, that is the equivalence of waiting until the leaves are turning brown before it gets watered.
10. Achieving a like new vehicle after 10 years will require preemptive or preventive care. Scheduled detailing appointments over a 1 year time period will help to keep the vehicle on track. The paint job cannot remind you it needs waxing. So do not wait until you notice the car getting a little shabby before you act. Lastly, the mechanical part of the vehicle is just as important. We strongly recommend the adherence to all schedule mechanical maintenance.