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4-Step Fall Vehicle Finish Maintenance Guide

Time for the Fall Clean Up

After a spring of falling leaves, pollen as well as a brutal summer sun, it is time to take advantage of the cooler weather and give your vehicle a thorough exterior cleaning. Car paint maintenance is one of the keys to keeping your finish looking like new. Here is a 4-Step Fall Vehicle Finish Maintenance tips to that will go a long way toward ensuring a lasting shine. And don’t forget to read our 10-point Fall Care Care Guide.


Vehicle paint often becomes contaminated with things such as tree sap, leaf stains, bird droppings, bugs and other environmental detritus that bond to the surface of your vehicle’s clear coat. After a time these cannot merely be washed away. For instance, this time of year, the falling leaves of the crepe myrtle trees can stain your finish, and eventually damage your vehicle’s finish. Using a clay bar to pull these contaminants out is a simple and effective form of maintenance that anyone can do at home. Here is a great resource on using a clay bar.


Regular washing, combined with dirt and dust can create a network of spider-web-like swirls in your clear coat. Fortunately, it’s easy enough to remove swirls with a good polishing, using the right polish. There are cleaner-polishes out there that can do the job a clay bar does if the cleaning your vehicle needs is moderate. The leaning process removes wax and the polish will restore the shine. You can polish your vehicle by hand, but with the amount of effort required will may want to look into an electric orbital polisher. Polishing will fill in all the swirls and create smooth flawless finish.


A freshly polished vehicle needs a protective layer of wax. Using a carnauba wax will give you a deeper, wet-look shine, but a polymer-based sealant will protect the paint significantly longer, which is important living in a region with a blistering hot sun. Either way, adding that barrier between your paint and the outside world is key to keeping falling leaves, road grime and UV rays from causing further damage. Regularly waxing your vehicle makes the removal of everyday dirt and grime much easier. However, your vehicle eventually needs to have the olde wax cleaned off to be reapplied so it is a good idea to think ahead and block yourself out the time needed for this process a couple times a year.


Washing your vehicle becomes even more important during the fall and winter months, due to the extra punishment caused falling leaves, rain, mud and blowing dirt. Keep your vehicle clean so that none of these potential hazards has a chance to make keeping your finish looking great overly difficult.

Take advantage of the (slightly) cooler temperatures and less direct sun to get your vehicle’s finish back to that new look. It will help you get through the winter ready to greet the end-of-winter-leave-drop and have you prepared for the pollen attack next spring.