How to keep your car look­ing good


Q: The clutch in my Subaru Out­back had been slip­ping so it was re­turned to the dealer. My wife was told the clutch was ‘‘full of sand’’. It was re­paired un­der war­ranty, but how can sand get in­side the clutch? I have driven it once on Stock­ton Beach. It has also been driven off-road around Newnes. Last year my wife and I towed a camper trailer to the Red Cen­tre and back, and dur­ing that trip we drove along the Birdsville Track as far as the flooded Cooper Creek and then the Ood­na­datta Track. I am con­cerned that the re­place­ment clutch will also fill with sand. Guy Free­man, e-mail. A: Subaru’s an­swer: ‘‘As with most brands, gear­boxes are not to­tally sealed units. If the ve­hi­cle is ex­posed to very heavy sand, the clutch may fail and sand could be ev­i­dent dur­ing re­place­ment.’’ You shouldn’t drive through heavy sand.

Q: I have four ve­hi­cles and oc­ca­sion­ally need to charge the bat­ter­ies. The cars are a 1990 Ford Capri, a 2003 Toy­ota Land­cruiser 100 V8, a 2006 Suzuki Swift, and a 2006 Hyundai Getz. Do I need to dis­con­nect the bat­tery be­fore charg­ing? Barry Robert, e-mail. A: There’s no rea­son to dis­con­nect, as long as the ig­ni­tion is off when you do it. WE choose the colour of our car based on how it looks when we see it sitting in the dealer’s show­room, but rarely do we think about how we’re go­ing to keep it look­ing good.

There it sits, per­fectly clean and shin­ing brightly, but how will it look af­ter a few months on the road af­ter it’s been rained on, pelted with hail, buried in snow, sprayed with dust and tar, cov­ered in dirt and grime, and crashed into at the su­per­mar­ket?

The time to think about that is be­fore you buy it. Here are some tips:

Colours that con­tain a lot of pearl or are heavy in me­tal­lic flake can be very dif­fi­cult to match in the event of a fen­der-bender.

If you’ve got your heart set on such a colour buy a car that has been painted in a pre­mium qual­ity paint, like Gla­surit, Speis-Hecker, or Stan­dox, as they have the most ac­cu­rate re­fin­ish­ing for­mu­las for match­ing the fac­tory colours.

Don’t buy black, un­less you like wash­ing your car. Black cars are very hard to keep clean, whereas sil­ver, white and cham­pagne stand up well and don’t re­quire as much work to keep clean.

Don’t get sucked into buy­ing a paint pro­tec­tion prod­uct the dealer tells you will keep your paint pris­tine for the life of the car. They don’t work and they’re a waste of money. Wash your car reg­u­larly us­ing fresh wa­ter only. Dry it with a chamois. Don’t use soap or de­ter­gent, un­less it’s very dirty, and only use a small amount.

Avoid park­ing un­der trees or power lines. Trees will leave sap de­posits on your car, while birds love to perch on power lines and poop on your pride and joy. If you do find de­posits on your car re­move them as soon as pos­si­ble.

The longer you leave them the greater the chance of your paint be­ing dam­aged. Bird poo will eat into your paint if not re­moved.

Wax your car ev­ery six months with a good qual­ity car­nauba wax, one that is hard to ap­ply and hard to re­move. Cars left parked in the street will need to be waxed even more fre­quently.

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