How To Properly Care For Your New Car - Detailing 101

How To Properly Care For Your New Car - Detailing 101

Buying a new car can be intense; there are so many choices and you want to make sure you get the best deal possible. Then there is all of that paperwork before you can get the keys and drive it home. Then what?

Many people think that because their car is new they don't need to do anything yet. WRONG! You just paid a lot of money for that car and if you want to keep it looking new, just like anything else, you have to take care of it! A new car is not immune to the harsh environmental elements and the clear-coat is not the shield that protects your car, it’s just clear paint and it needs to be protected.

For me, I didn’t even let the dealership wash my new car before I drove it home for fear of scratching my black paint. It even had the white adhesive plastic still on the car from the transport from the factory to the dealership. The car was still in the back and had not hit the lot yet and my words to the salesman were "Do not wash it!". He said, "But it's dirty, don't you want us to detail it for you?". I then politely responded "No thank you, I will wash it when I get home".

Proper Car Care From The Beginning

The time to start proper car care is when you drive home and pull into the driveway. When I got home with my new Camaro I parked right next to the hose and went and got my wash buckets, car wash shampoo, wash mitt and microfiber drying towels before I even pulled into the garage.



Proper car care is important whether your car is brand new or ten years old. The steps are the same, although you may have to spend a little more time on an older car that requires removal of defects like oxidation, swirl or scratches.

Many think that all the steps are not necessary on a new car but your long term protection depends on properly preparing and protecting your car. You wouldn't want to put your paint sealant over bonded contamination or get a less than perfect shine would you?

This article will help you understand the importance of each step in the five step process to care for your car, even if it is not so new anymore.

Step 1 - Washing Your New Car

Wash - Thoroughly wash your car to remove loose dirt and grime.

The first thing you need to know is that the car washing procedure is the number one cause of swirl marks! Don't worry, this can be avoided by using high a quality car wash shampoo, wash mitt and microfiber drying towels. Using two buckets - one for your car wash solution and the other for rinsing your mitt is also very helpful when it comes to avoiding swirl.

With high quality products and a little education your car wash procedure will not only be safer, it will be easier and you will achieve much better results.

For more information on how to properly wash your car read our Detailing 101 – How To Wash Your Car Article.

Step 2 - Claying Your New Car

Clean – Clean your paint with detailing clay to remove bonded surface contamination that is stuck to the paint and is not removed with normal washing.

Most new cars owners think that a new car does not need to be clayed. This is not necessarily true! Contamination doesn’t care if your car is old or new. Even though your car is new it has been subjected to many types environments. Your car started at the factory, sat on a lot waiting for transport via ship, train or truck or a combination of transports, then it may have sat on the lot waiting to be bought for who knows how long. During this time, who knows what was floating around the air on the long journey between the factory and your driveway?

Claying your car with a detail clay or using the Ultima Elastrofoam Cleaning System is not a substitute for polishing your paint, it is a process to be done prior to the polishing process to remove surface contaminants that make your paint rough. When your paint is rough, dirt and grime tend to stick and build up creating even more problems. The simple task of claying will remove the contamination and prepare your car for the polishing and protecting steps.

For more information on properly claying or how to use a Clay Mitt, read our Detailing 101 – How To Detail Clay Your Car Article.

Step 3 - Polishing Your New Car

Polish – Remove defects in your paint, staining and enhance overall shine.

More than likely if your car is new you won't need to remove defects unless your car has been on the lot for a while and been stricken with that dreaded swirl from poor washing procedures by the dealership. This can also be created by dealership detailers who use machine polishers incorrectly.

If your paint is free of defects you will still want to use a pre-wax cleaner like Pinnacle Paintwork Cleansing Lotion to enhance the shine and prepare your paint for paint protectant. This product can be safely and easily applied by either hand or machine.

For more information on properly polish your car read our How To Polish Your Car Article.

Step 4 - Protecting Your New Car

Protect – Protect the paint surface from harsh environmental elements and prevent premature aging with a car wax, paint protectant or paint sealant.

Many new car owners look at the clearcoat as a protective layer that shields their car against harm. This is simply not true. The clearcoat is a tough clear paint that is there to protect your color coat and add depth in shine. It is not a super high tech protectant, it is just clear paint and needs to be protected just like the older single stage paints.

Car waxes, paint protectants and paint sealants all fall into the same "paint protection category". Although some do a better job than others, they all protect against and help prevent premature deterioration caused by the onset of oxidation. With modern technology, a car wax would be "old school" and be less protective than the more advanced paint sealants.

For more information on properly protect your car's paint read our How To Wax Your Car to Perfection Article.

Step 5 - Maintaining Your New Car

Maintain – Maintain your paint with normal washing and quick detailing in between washing.

Quick detailers are also known as waterless wash and are commonly used by detailers and car enthusiasts to put the finishing touch on a freshly detailed vehicle. Quick detailers quickly and easily remove fresh water spots, streaks, dust and other light contamination. It is also a good idea to keep one with you for those dreaded bird bombs for a quick cleanup to avoid permanent damage.

Quick Detail Sprays are a special formulation that evaporate quickly to prevent further spotting, lubricate to prevent scratching and contain gloss enhancers to refresh your just waxed shine. For the car enthusiast, a quick detailer is more than just a convenient time saver, it is a necessity when it comes to keeping your finish looking great.

For more information on properly quick detail your car read our Detailing 101 – How To Quick Detail Your Car Article.