Keeping it shiny away from the trail

Spring’s arrival means it’s auto-show time for many folks out there. Here, then, are a few tips to keep your Jeep looking its best. And, watch for detailing tips, coming soon to the site’s maintenance area.

Avoid paint damage

Unless your Jeep is a dedicated trail rig, this advice shouldn’t be sacrilege. Scratches, rock chips and door dings are the biggest enemy to your Jeep’s finish. Avoiding them is the not-so-secret secret to keeping your Jeep looking its best. All that dust and dirt, rubbed in as you wash or dry, will act like sandpaper and, over time, dull your paint job. A little foresight on the trail and street can save you from headaches down the road.

Proper storage

Start by storing your rig in a garage or covered area whenever possible. If you wheel it, your Jeep already faces more hazards than the typical boring family sedan. A rig that is constantly exposed to sunlight and other environmental hazards will deteriorate much faster. Proper storage not only helps your paint’s longevity, but your interior, too. Consider the long-term effects on your upholstery, dashboard vinyl, leather and cushion foam of  constant exposure to the sun’s ultra-violent rays and heat.

Don’t skip the wax!

A good coating of wax does far more than give your Jeep’s paint added gloss and depth. Wax also offers protection from the weather hazards acid bug splatters or bird droppings and even off-road pin striping. Our trail leader led us through a particularly tight and nasty brush-filled trail once, which left me cringing to think what my once-flawless paint would look like. Imagine my surprise when I discovered nary a scratch on Smokey at all! The two coats of wax (the minimum I’d recommend) I’d applied only a few days before let me save my paint job and still have fun on the trail.

Regularly examine your paint’s condition

We’re all guilty of wasting time staring at our Jeeps, so why not make that habit serve a purpose? Make a habit of regularly inspecting the surface of your Jeep. Watch for new imperfections in need of repair, verify old paint repairs are holding up and look for any road debris that might eat away at your rig’s finish.

Commit to regular detailing

Our Jeeps face exceedingly harsh conditions, both on the trail and on paved roads in daily use. Keep your Jeep looking its best — commit to spending at least one day every month cleaning, it inside and out. (This post has ignored your Jeep’s interior, but keeping it clean and dry is just as important as the exterior.) Frankly, I’d recommend a good wash and wax every two weeks for maximum impact, though I know some who do well to wash their Jeeps annually!

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