THE FIRST TWO WEEKS
We wash your vehicle before returning it to you after repairs are completed. If you can avoid washing it for the first couple of weeks after picking it up, that is ideal. This is purely a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. If you do want or need to wash it within the first two weeks, follow the washing guidelines below. By all means, do not use a commercial car wash within the first 30 days.
THE FIRST THREE MONTHS
Caring properly for you vehicle's new paint job is critical for its longevity. We recommend not waxing your vehicle for at least the first three months after picking it up. New paint needs to be able to "breath" to completely dry and cure. Waxing seals the paint and prevents this process from working as it should. This is a hard rule; don't wax your vehicle for at least the first three months.
Always wash your vehicle in the shade. Hand wash your vehicle with cool water containing a mild car wash soap, using a soft cloth, mitt, or sponge. If available, use a second bucket containing clean water to rinse the dirt out of the cloth, mitt, or sponge each time before dipping it into the suds. Never dry wipe your vehicle as this can cause scratching. Thoroughly rinse your vehicle before drying with a soft chamois cloth or clean microfiber towel.
Always wash your vehicle before waxing. Always use a good quality, non-abrasive wax or polish formulated for clear coat finishes and apply according to the products instructions. Do not use silicone-containing waxes or polishes. Periodic waxing is an important step in properly maintaining your vehicle's finish.
Sometimes minor surface scratches can be buffed out of your vehicle's clear coat. When done properly, a scratch will completely disappear and cannot be seen or felt after buffing. A good rule of thumb, which ironically uses your thumbnail, is, if you can catch the scratch with your thumb or finger nail, it probably cannot be buffed. When that situation occurs, it is sometimes possible to wet sand the surface first, prior to buffing. This is best left to the professionals. DIRECT COLLISION has professional detailers on staff that can advise you on what can and what cannot be done in regards to removing surface scratches.
If you're lucky enough to find the mess while it's still wet, use a damp cloth and wipe it off immediately. However, if, when you find it, it is dried and caked on, soak a paper towel with warm water and place it on the mess until it loosens and gets soft. Then, taking a damp cloth, wipe it clean. Bird droppings contain acids that will etch into painted surfaces if not dealt with quickly. Be mindful of where you park. Parking under trees or wires should be avoided.
HOUSEHOLD SOAPS AND DETERGENTS
Never, under any circumstances should you use a soap designated for cleaning dishes or clothes, or other areas of your house. These soaps can and will damage your paint over time. Only use soap designated for use on car finishes. Car wash soap can be purchased at just about any automotive parts store.
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS?
- Do not set objects on your vehicle. When objects are moved, even slightly, they can cause surface scratches?and never, ever sit on your car!
- Touch-up chips and deep scratches as soon as possible. Left unattended, a chip or scratch down to the bare metal will begin to rust very quickly. Quick action on your part will help prevent this from happening.
- Avoid gravel roads and following large trucks. Paint can chip fairly easily when it is being hit with small stones, especially within the first 30 days after being painted.
- Do not park under trees that are known to drop sap or near factories with heavy smoke fallout. Tree sap and industrial fallout can spot and damage painted surfaces.
- Do not spill gasoline, oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid, or windshield washer solvent on newly painted surfaces. If you do, rinse off immediately with water.
- Don't scrape ice or snow from a newly painted surface. Your snow scraper can act like a paint scraper if the finish is new.
- Use common sense! If you think some substance or action may be hard on the paint, it probably will.