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CAR MAINTENANCEProtecting bodywork
If youre taking care to make sure your motor runs at its maximum potential, its well worth devoting a bit of time to keeping the bodywork in tip-top shape. Regular cleaning, polishing and rust maintenance can help you protect your motor from the elements and keep it looking smart and shiny for years to come.
The elements are out to get you, and all kinds of nasty things start to rot away your motor. Short of keeping your car garaged, bathing it regularly in oil, and only driving it when it is sunny (a viable option if you have an expensive classic), the best way to keep your car from deteriorating is to keep it clean.
As you drive around, its inevitable that noxious substances will start to attach themselves to your motor. Exhaust fumes deposit sooty black particles on the bodywork, whilst rotting leaves and bird droppings will eat away at the paint. The air itself will eventually cause the paint on your car to dull, as the outer surface oxidises and starts to lose its sheen. Damage to the paint can expose bare metal to the rain and wind.
The simplest solution to a dull finish is to wash the car every week or so. Warm water, applied evenly over the body of the car, will rinse away specks and light dirt, but special car shampoos are usually denser and less acidic. If the paint on your car is dull, apply polish and elbow-grease in some shine.
For mild cleaning, use a sponge or soft cloth, making sure its not abrasive. Ensure you have no particles of dirt trapped in the sponge, as this can scratch the paint. Don't forget to wash the windows, too - it's traditional to polish them off with newspaper. A general clean like this once a week or so will be enough to wash off debris and corrosive substances.
Every three or four months your motor will benefit from waxing. This works as an invisible barrier between the surface and the elements, and has the added benefit of making your motor shine like new. You can pick up the correct wax for your motor from any garage or motoring store.
Apart from this regular clean make sure that if you spill petrol, engine oil, brake fluid or antifreeze over the paint, you wash it off immediately with plenty of water as soon as you can.
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