New Car Paint
A simplified approach to the endless opinions!

Whether you truly have a new car paint (brand new car) or a car that has been repainted, the tips and strategies I lay out in this page apply to both situations.

Most of you reading this will likely have purchased a brand new car and your emotional attachment is at its highest level. (This is called the Honeymoon Phase)

The good news is that you are here and this shows a clear desire on your part to learn exactly what you need to do in order to maintain the health and beauty of your cars paint.

washing new car paint

"If you maintain your car properly from the beginning, it truly can look brand new for as long as you own your car!"

New Car Paint Requirements:

  • Wash car regularly (see my complete car washing page)
  • Use the "clay bar" or "detailing clay" to decontaminate your paint. (yes; 99% of every brand new car off the dealer lot will have some degree of paint contaminants)
  • Apply a car wax or paint sealant for protection and visual enhancement.

New Car Paint:
Washing car

You can choose to wash your car yourself or take to a local car wash. Regardless of which option you choose, you need to wash your car regularly.

I don't care if you wash your car yourself (more on that strategy later in this page) or you take it to a quality car wash. (Yes, not all car washes are created equal) This is not an option as dirt is your #1 enemy when it comes to the finish on your new car paint. And this doesn't mean once every 6 months whether it needs it or not. This means regularly and consistently. (A minimum of once a month...minimum!)

car wash kit for new car paint

The sun is your cars next biggest enemy but you are limited to how much control your car is exposed to the sun each day. Your best defense is to keep a healthy coat of car wax on your new car paint.

Depending on the type of car wax you choose and the conditions your car is subject to will determine how often waxing your car will require. As a rule, waxing your car every 2-4 months will be optimum.

If your car must endure harsh conditions and based on your commitment to the beauty and protection f your car, you may need to wax more often.

New Car paint:
Decontaminating with the Clay Bar

Life is a jungle out there and the air is filled with unseen pollutants. Never mind the fact that you are breathing these pollutants into your lungs, but the endless particles of pollution is in fact harmful to your car paint.

clay baring new car paint

Next time you have your car washed, glide your hand across the surface of your new car paint ans see if you don't feel a surface that is less than silky smooth. Most likely you your hand will feel what feels like small particles stuck to the paint that will give it a certain unwanted texture.

When done correctly, your paint should feel so silky smooth it will force a smile across your face; truly like waxed glass!

Traditional washing, polishing, and waxing will not remove these embedded pollutants. They need to be removed occasionally as they build-up on your cars paint. There are numerous products available to remove these pollutants. See Clay Bar for the simplified way to arm yourself with full understanding and choosing a quality Clay Bar Kit. 

The decontamination process will take place on a freshly washed car after all the superficial dirt has been washed away first.

New Car Paint:
Waxing Your Car

Yes, I think it is accepted knowledge that your car needs to be waxed on a regular basis. Waxing serves (2) basic and essential tasks:

  1. Protection
  2. Visual enhancement

If you have just bought a new car from a dealership, you must realize that no new car comes with wax from the manufacturer or dealer. New car prep does not mean the dealership is going to wax your car either. So that new car paint of yours is like taking a new-born child out in the sun with no sunblock on their skin.

car care products for new car paint

You can review my selection of best car waxes in helping you choose a quality car wax. Just remember your car should be waxed every 4-6 months under "normal" conditions. If you live in extreme weather conditions and you plan on keeping your car for over 5 years, you might consider applying wax to that new car paint even more frequently.

Don't underestimate the necessary step of decontamination prior to application of your chosen wax. If you fail to do this step, you will get disappointing results regardless of the type of wax you have chosen.

And yes...even that brand new car straight off the dealer lot will in have some form of pollutants already on the car paint from its travel from the factory to the car dealership.

New Car Paint Summary

Hopefully you are now more informed as to the simple and basic rules of caring for, and maintaining your cars paint. With that said, please refer to the following as additional tips to keep your car looking brand new year after year:

  • Clear coat is the top layer of your cars paint. It acts as a protective layer to filter out UV rays. But your clear coat is what you are trying to take care of with the above requirements. People get confused about clear coat vs. car paint. Virtually every car today is finished with a clear coat as the top layer. Think of it as car paint with no color added to it.
  • If you want to polish your car and are considering buying a buffer, you can see my simplified approach to car polishing for the true beginner to achieve professional results.
  • As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure", and your car is no different. If you are just consistent with the basic instructions I have provided here, your car will not only look fabulous year after year, but will retain much more of its original value when you are ready to sell.
applying wax to new car paint

Darren's Professional Tips: Want to save your time and maximize your car detailing efforts. Unless you are a die hard car enthusiast, I actually recommend you find a quality, 100% cloth or hand wash, and take your car there at least every 2 weeks and let the crew there perform the grunt work of car washing.

I know there are many purists who would consider this a betrayal of all things sacred to the processes of auto detailing, but see if you don't find this sequence both a reality and a frustrating revelation:

  • You spend an hour+ dragging out all your glorified car washing equipment and products.
  • You spend an entire morning washing and vacuuming your car.
  • Now after and hour+ of work you feel a sense of accomplishment, but you also feel pretty worn out and exhausted...never mind less than motivated to perform any of the more crucial steps of cosmetic car care that will actually make far more of a positive impact in the long decontamination, polishing, waxing, and interior detailing.

"I am willing to bet your life is busy enough as it is, without the added burden of keeping your car washed. So find a reputable car wash, let them do the grunt work, then bring your car home and perform what I consider the tasks of detailing that are both more fun and will do more to retain the value and beauty of your car than simply washing it."

Yes, you heard me right. A professional detailer recommended you to take your car through a local car wash:

  • Redirect that hour+ of laborious car washing efforts into the more essential and critical parts of cosmetic car care.
  • All that energy expended in the car washing process is now being outsourced to someone else. The energy you save will be better utilized doing the decontaminating, waxing, polishing, and other detailing tasks.

"Really, when you pull back and consider the value of your time, something you will never get back, don't you think it makes sense to maximize your efforts that go into being truly effective rather than just being truly busy and worn out?"

But if you insist and want to go about the car washing process on your own, by all means read my section dedicated to my professional strategies of washing your car. You and your new car paint can truly become one...I just think for most of us, what I propose allows you better use of your precious time.


Darren Priest

  1. Home Page
  2. Auto Paint Detailing
  3. ››
  4. This Page

Show / Hide