Caring for your car is as crucial to its appearance and longevity as performing regular maintenance. You wouldn't ignore an errant rattle or a low engine oil level, so you shouldn't leave your car's appearance to the whims of birds and the natural elements. That's why we've rounded up a collection of car care products that will keep the car you've always wanted, and finally obtained, looking its best.
Try some, or all of the following solutions for keeping your car looking as high-end as it did when it rolled off the line:
The Holistic Solution
There are plenty of ways to learn about proper car care, and too many of them involve first ruining a paint job or body work. Get it right the first time by using Meguiar's ultimate car care kit. Composed of liquid wax, rubbing compound, polish, post-wash wax, protectant shine, microfiber cloths, a mitt, and several applicator pads, the supplies are must-haves for beginners and car care veterans alike. Buy this kit and prepare to spend many a loving afternoon caressing, polishing, and admiring some sheetmetal.
Go Semi-Pro With Clay
Advanced students in the area of car care consider the clay bar treatment the pinnacle of exterior car care. Think of clay as an exfoliating treatment for your car's skin; when applied properly, it eliminates graininess and grittiness from the paint surface—making waxing easier and longer-lasting. The California Gold clay bar system from Mother's is as easy to learn to use as it is to apply. This package includes clay bars as well as spray, making it a superb starter kit as well as handy to keep in the garage after a thorough wash.
Few experiences are more unpleasant than returning to the valet stand to find unfortunately placed scratches left by an absentminded attendant. Cool your inner rage with the peace of mind that you can probably solve the problem in your driveway. 3M rubbing compound eliminates most scratches quickly and precisely.
The Griot Garage catalog is full of great products, but we can't live without the interior cleaner. There are more surface types in car interiors than ever before, from white leather to piano-black trim, which each require regular cleaning in order to maintain their luster and ward off dirt that gathers. Keep a bottle of this cleaning solvent in your trunk, whether you need to show off the interior or want to feel like you've just purchased a new car.
Feed Your Leather
Lexol's 907 leather care kit comprises leather cleaner and conditioner, as well as applicator sponges, to remove stains and marks on high-end upholstery. In an age when even inexpensive, sporty Mazdas are offered with white interiors, this leather care kit is a must-have for unexpected stains and expected wear and tear. Bonus: No greasy residue.
Banish the Trash
If you spend any appreciable amount of time in your car, you need a trash solution. We're fans of the High Road TrashStash leakproof car litter bag, which hangs neatly on the backside of most car seats. Like many in-car garbage solutions, this one is leak-proof and holds items as large as bottles, but it also closes—a must-have feature to prevent lasting odors, and access by curious children and pets.
One of the joys of getting into the car for a late-night drive is the ability to cruise without major hassles of traffic. Keep your headlights clean and clear with the 3M quick headlight renewal kit. Easily remove dirt and grime that have collected in and around your headlights, and see clearly and brightly. It only takes a few minutes to remove that dull yellow haze.
Protect Your Perimeter
Keeping your car free of nicks and dents in urban environments is difficult enough, what with a network of harried drivers and endless traffic jams. And when it comes to parking, keeping your car safe is a guessing game and a free-for-all, leaving you little oversight once you walk away from your car. This one wraps around your car's front or rear fasciae to lessen the impact of a careless parker, offers some peace of mind. Just remember to remove it before you drive off.
Here's a solution to keeping dust from gathering in your car's interior: the Black and Decker handheld vacuum cleaner. The dust buster comes with a 16-foot power cord and can be emptied with one hand, and offers various attachments for hard-to-clean surfaces. Best of all, it plugs into a 12-volt outlet, making this handheld vacuum easy to charge and keep handy. If you can't have the HondaVac, it's virtually the next best thing.
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