Black cars are hard to keep clean because the color black makes blemishes stand out more than any other color. But it’s a great color for hiding imperfections.
My wife and I recently purchased a new car – a Toyota Corolla. It’s black, just like our Ford Fiesta. We’ve also owned a Dodge Charger and an Infiniti Q30 which were black. A lot of luxury cars tend to be black which lends them an air of sophistication.
But while the color black can make any vehicle look sleek, it sure is hard to keep up that showroom gleam. Here are seven ways to keep your black car looking cleaner longer.
1. Wash More Regularly
I just came home to write this article after washing the Corolla. I don’t know about you. But when my car looks good, I feel good. And driving feels exponentially better. Not only does washing your black car more often keep it looking clean longer. But it’s also a good way to prevent corrosion on any car.
How does corrosion happen?
Exposure to heat and oxygen. Heat and oxygen create a chemical process called oxidation which is a type of corrosion in which paint loses its oil content and dries out. As paint oxidizes, it becomes duller. If you love the shine of your car and want to maintain its luster, I can attest that washing your car every week or every two weeks will help it look clean longer.
2. Clean Between Washes
But what if you don’t have the time to wash your car every one to two weeks? Taking my car through an automatic car wash is an effective way I’ve found to keep my black cars clean between washes longer.
I know, going through car washes isn’t the best thing for the long-term health of your paint. I’m certainly not advocating sending your Maserati Gran Turismo or Porsche 911 through an automatic car wash. But for a commuter car like my Toyota Corolla. Going through a car wash between washes helps the paint stay pristine. And you don’t have to use brushes.
Alternatively, just hosing your car down can do a lot to keep the paint look clean longer.
But to really get in there, a quick auto detailer works fantastically. QD products quickly remove water spots, dust and light contaminants on the surface of almost any paint job. It combines a cleaner and protective sealant into a product that’s easy to apply:
- Spray onto a microfiber cloth or directly on the surface of the car.
- Then spread the detail spray across the paint surface; it evaporates in a second.
- Finally, with a second clean microfiber cloth, buff any remaining detail spray.
3. Apply Wax or a Sealant More Often
Waxes and sealants both work to provide an extra layer of protection from the environment. The difference between wax and sealant depends on the car in question. If it’s a garage queen or show car, then you likely want the best shine. In which case you should wax your car.
But if this is your daily driver then you want long lasting durable protection to keep the paint looking show room new longer. How they do their job depends on the specific product you’re using. But on average, sealants give your paint a higher resistance to heat, UV rays and detergent abuse which makes it ideal for a black car you drive daily.
4. Use Cleaning Products Formulated for Cars
If maintaining a cleaning regimen will keep the paint on your black car looking newer longer, then using the right cleaning products is imperative. The right cleaners break down and release grease, grime and other contaminants from your car’s beautiful black paint.
But the wrong stuff can scratch and erode sensitive areas of the paint. That’s why detailers use so many types of automotive cleaning products. They’re formulated for different types of detailing jobs.
Special formulas are used to break down the most stubborn types of grease and grime, that way they can be safely washed away with water. I think specially formulated cleaning products are worth it for the extra boost of confidence driving a clean car gives me.
5. Protect the Clear Coat from Damage
Clear coat is not only used to enhance a car’s paint job, it also protects the paint from harm. Wear, tear and the elements of the road rage against the exterior of your car. You’ll want to maintain this layer to keep a black car or any car color looking clean longer. UV rays are the primary cause of damage to a vehicle’s clear coat.
And as UV rays assault your car, the protectants in clear coat degrade resulting in oxidation which is accelerated by air, rain, snow, road salt, bug splatter and pollen. As the clear coat weakens, your paint gets damaged. The way to protect the clear coat is either by applying paint protection film (PPF), or ceramic coating.
Both options are great at resisting UV rays, dirt, debris, light scratches chemicals, acid rain and extreme temperatures.
6. Get an Annual Detail
Detailing your car annually is a great way to protect your investment and increase its resale value. A full detail includes both the interior as well as exterior of a car.
Specifically, when it comes to the exterior of the car, a full detail includes:
- Treating the exterior with a foam wash.
- Hand washing the vehicle.
- Chemically decontaminating the paint.
- Applying IPA mix to the paint (which combines 50% Isopropyl Alcohol with 50% water).
- And finally, applying one coat of ceramic spray wax to the paint, windows and wheels for 6-12 months of protection.
7. Keep Your Car Covered
To me one of the best ways to keep your car’s paint looking cleaner longer is to keep your car covered. When I was in college, I drove a black Nissan Maxima. The apartment I lived in came with an attached garage. When I went to work, I paid extra to keep my car in a covered garage.
The only time my car was exposed to the elements was when I was parked outside of class. Keeping your car covered will keep the paint from fading, discoloration and cracking due to those UV rays.
It also keeps vinyl and convertible tops from disintegrating. Covering your car also protects it from getting dirty and wet during rain and snow season.