Nothing is better than the look of a shiny new car! Whether your car was just driven off the lot or has a few miles on the tires, you can maintain the look of a new car with a few of these easy car care steps.

Wash Every Week

Yes, every week. Your car’s paint picks up a lot of dirt and grime on the streets every day. In order to prevent your paint from appearing dull, you should wash it — by hand — every week. You will be able to wash away the harmful dirt, bugs and bird droppings that damage your paint. Use a light detergent formulated for your car. (Avoid dish detergent that is not formulated for the paint on your car.) Rinse your car well after it has been lathered up.

Dry It, Too

For truly professional finish, don’t let your car air dry. Use a clean microfiber cloth. How you do it matters: Don’t scrunch it up in your fist and scrub away. For proper car care, spread out the whole cloth and drag it across the vehicle, working from top to bottom. Wring the towel out when it gets wet — you can use the same cloth for the entire vehicle.

Use a Liquid Sealant

Conventional wisdom says hard waxes are the way to go, but the newer liquid sealants are more durable (and easier to apply) for precise car detailing. A sealant will only need to be applied once or twice a year but will protect the finish of your car. Follow the directions on the bottle and apply when it is 55 degrees or warmer for best results.

Wheels and Trim

Once a month, wash your wheels and trim, paying special attention to headlights that become cloudy. Also, consider conditioning weather stripping, as it can dry out over time.

Windows and Windshields

Though it may be tempting to grab the Windex, avoid using the glass cleaner you use in your home. These glass cleaners use ammonia that will eat through your weather stripping on your car. Auto-specific glass cleaner is ideal for windshields and windows, which should be cleaned once a month.

Every year or two, it’s a good idea to schedule professional car detailing to get to all the hard-to-reach spots that you may miss on your weekly washes. It may take a bit of work, but regular washes can add years to your car’s paint. It will help you avoid rust and keep your car gleaming as you drive down the road. Protect your vehicle even further with car insurance — your Farm Bureau agent can help you find the right protection for your set of wheels.