Give Your Car A Makeover – A Beginner’s Guide

Now is the Time for a Spring Clean and Some Minor Touch Ups

If your car is looking a little jaded after the long winter, there are some simple measures you can take that will make all the difference

Cars get a hard time of it over the winter. The cleaning regime goes out of the window, the interior seems to attract more dust and dirt and the icy roads can lead to minor bumps and scrapes.

Spring is a time for renewal, and while we’d all like to jump into a brand new car for the new season, that is unlikely to be financially viable. But from a good clean to some simple repairs using basic tools and touch up paint, you can soon have your car looking five years younger with just an afternoon’s effort.

Get everything clean

You really don’t know what you’re facing while it’s covered in dirt and grime, so the first item on the agenda is to clean everything. And that means properly. By all means employ the use of the local car wash to get the worst off, but be prepared to spend some time really scrubbing, both inside and out, to get everything spotless.

Pay particular attention to the interior – after all, you spend far more time sitting inside the car than you do staring at it from the outside, so make it as nice an environment as possible. Remember to clean the fabrics with an appropriate cleaner, and just as you would in the house, test it on a small hidden area first, just in case.

Repairing those chips and scrapes

Isn’t it funny – you sustain a serious accident and smash in the corner of the car, and it is straight off to the bodyshop to get it repaired. But scrape the bumper on the gatepost or be gifted a grazed wheel arch by a careless shopper in the supermarket carpark, and you are more likely to heave a sigh and leave the battle scar to fester.

Sure, you might not bother to go to the experts with such a minor job, but there is really nothing to stop the amateur from either repairing it completely or at least making the damage a hundred times less obvious.

You can obtain touch up paint from your local supplier – all you need is the paint code, which you will find on the chassis plate on the door pillar or under the bonnet. Alternatively, your paint shop can usually look it up, just from your vehicle registration number.

Before you dive into applying the paint, you will need to prepare the affected area. Make sure the chip does not have any loose edges, and if it does, use a toothpick to knock them off. Next, gently sand the area – a sanding pen is ideal for this job. The objective is not to scrape away all the paint, but just to feather out the edges and provide a good key.

If the damage has gone deep and exposed bare metal, you will need to sand deeper to remove all traces of rust, then apply primer before you can use the touch up paint.

Apply the paint to the centre of the chip, and watch as capillary action pullsit in and across. The secret is to go slow and steady. Ideally, you should apply two coats, but allow the first to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

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