How to Keep Your Car Looking Like New as a College Student

If dorm life isn’t for you, then keeping your car in peak condition is key to a successful college career. Though it may not seem like it has an impact, the cleanliness of your vehicle (or lack thereof) can begin to affect the way the car performs and lead to a variety of expensive problems to fix. Learn how to keep your car looking like new and, by extension, running like new.

Wash it Often

For starters, washing your car once a week will keep any dirt, debris, or deposits from drying on—and potentially damaging—your paint. This is ultimately why cleaning your car’s exterior is important, as damaged paint can expose the metal underneath to the elements and make it susceptible to further damage. When washing, be sure to use a wash that’s gentle enough on your paint to not remove any wax or polish. Inadvertently removing this layer of protection can make your car more vulnerable to the environment.

Remove Deposits When You Notice Them

Before you wash your vehicle—or, even better, when you first notice a deposit—it’s crucial that you remove any deposits such as ice or bird droppings to stop them from eating away at the protective layer of paint. They might not seem to be doing any harm, but these things can lead to severe damage if left over time. Ice, for instance, can scrape or chip the paint if you don’t carefully remove it, while bird droppings are slightly acidic and can eat away at your car’s exterior when left to fester. Washing these things away sooner rather than later will stop this process and keep your car looking newer for longer.

Polish and Wax it Regularly

It also doesn’t hurt to have an extra layer of protection on your vehicle. Waxing or polishing your car after washing it will help create a seal over the paint, which will prevent any damaging materials from getting to it. Keep in mind that, while you don’t have to do this every time you wash your car, the protective layer will lose effectiveness over time. It’s recommended that you apply a new layer of wax or polish every six months to ensure your car remains protected.

Pay Attention to Where You Park

Though you might not have the best selection of commuter parking spaces, it’s important that you attempt to park in places with less sun exposure. Constant rays from the sun can cause the paint to fade, leaving your car looking older than it actually is. Finding a form of cover for your vehicle, such as a parking garage or tree canopy, will also help reduce the amount of deposits left on the hood.


  1. Great article! If I may add, clear bra, a urethane film, may be applied on your car’s chip prone metal parts, usually the hood and fender areas. Clear bra works by absorbing the energy from the particles impacting its surface, thus protecting the paint below. A basic clear bra application protects the front of the hood and fenders, but there are many other areas people choose to protect as well. Costly headlight assemblies, fog lights, mirror backs, door edges and door handle areas, rear bumper areas or even the entire front bumper can be protected with this versatile product.


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