A common question that arises is: when should I detail my car?. Many people think that detailing is something that you do once your car is a few years old, and looks like it needs to be detailed. In many cases, if you have waited until this point, built up soil and road grime has already begun to damage the surfaces on your vehicle. The choice to detail your vehicle comes down to what your goals are with the car. For some, a car is simply a tool to get from place to place. The appearance of the vehicle is not that important to them. This is an issue because neglecting your vehicle’s appearance can have long term effects, such as reducing it’s resale value and making the interior un-healthy for the vehicle occupants. For other individuals, the appearance of their vehicle is very important. This is especially true for enthusiasts who plan to keep their vehicle for many years or want to keep it’s resale value as high as possible. If you desire to keep your vehicle looking great and want it to maintain it’s resale value, detailing needs to be part of your routine maintenance plan from day one. When a vehicle is new, an application of a paint sealant will protect the paint from damaging UV radiation and road grime. Paint sealants also make subsequent cleaning of the vehicle easier, by not allowing soil and road grime to bond to the paint. Interior vinyl, plastic, and leather surfaces should also be protected with a quality UV protectant. There are products available that protect these surfaces, but have a matte finish. Moving forward from the new car period, it is best to make frequent auto detailing part of your vehicle’s routine maintenance schedule. I recommend that a vehicle be detailed twice a year; once in the fall and once in the spring. This will make sure the exterior paint is always protected and dirt and road grime is cleaned off of the paint before it can do damage. These same concepts apply to the interior, as well. Do not wait until your car visibly looks like it needs to be cleaned or detailed. Once you arrive at this point, the soil is already damaging the surfaces on your vehicle. Remember, if you value your car’s appearance and want it to look great and hold it’s value for the long term, auto detailing needs to be part of your routine maintenance schedule. As always, we welcome questions and feedback.