Fresh Off The Lot: New Car Maintenance

new car maintenance

You drive your new baby off the dealership lot and you’re excited and elated. Now what?

Many car owners believe that a brand new car is in pristine condition because, well, it’s new. Unfortunately that is simply not the case. The car has likely been sitting on the lot for an extended period of time, exposed to all of the elements and environmental contaminants.

Car dealerships also love using automatic washes to maintain their inventory, but as you already know, automatic car washes cause swirl marks and dull paint. Gross.


Get your car home and hand wash it. After it’s clean, examine the paint. Are there light swirl marks? Are there any deeper scratches? If either of those questions were answered with a “yes”, you need to correct your paint. The sooner you do it, the better.

Clay first (always, duh) to remove those built up contaminants. Use a light compound and a random orbital machine buffer on the entire car. It’ll remove light swirls, enhance gloss, and generally even out the look of the paint.

After polishing, wipe your vehicle down with an IPA solution (1 part isopropyl alcohol, 4 parts water in a spray bottle). Most importantly, get a protectant on the paint ASAP. If you’ve got a solid chunk of time to spend on your car, use Nano Resin. It’s scratch resistant and very hydrophobic. It also protects paint from staining, fading, and etching for up to 3 years.

If you don’t have a whole afternoon, use PlasmaCoat. It bonds instantly and protects paint for about a year. It contains no harsh chemicals, so you don’t need gloves or a mask to apply it. PlasmaCoat can also be used on wet carbon fiber, chrome, metal trim, and other shiny surfaces.

When your paint is corrected, clean, and protected, get some tire conditioner on your tires to keep them looking brand new.


Thankfully the interior of your new car wasn’t exposed to the elements, but it was probably exposed to a few dealership employees and customers during test drives. Regardless of your interior materials, the new car maintenance is essentially the same.

Use a light cleaner on the interior and then protect it. If you’ve got a leather interior, use a leather coating. If you’ve got upholstery, there’s a protectant for that too. Keeping your interior coated will keep stains away.

Care Counts

This might seem like a lot of work, but new car maintenance is absolutely worth your time and effort.  A new car is a big investment and should be treated as such. Plus, the sooner you protect your vehicle, the less maintenance you’ll have to do down the line.