1K vs. 2K Clear Coat – Which is better?

1K vs. 2K Clear Coat

At ERA Paints, we pride ourselves on offering our customers the best products on the markets, and our 2K clear coat paint is no exception. When it comes to your vehicle, it’s essential to use the best products to extend the car’s longevity.

Alongside the variety of industry-leading information we provide and our range of clear coat repair products, we are excited to offer our own 2K clear coat spray. We feel that our product not only matches market leaders like SprayMax 2K clear coat but goes above and beyond.

In this article, we will outline everything you need to know about 2K clear coat spray, including how to use it and answer questions like, Where can I find 2K clear coat near me?

Mini Cooper Clearcoat Peel

What is clear coat spray paint?

Clear coat is essentially a transparent paint that is used to cover the colored layer of paint underneath. When completing the touch up paint process, the clear coat is the last layer of paint applied to your vehicle. It follows the base coat’s application, which helps the paint bond to the metal, then the spraying of the paint itself.

The clear coat seals off the paint and adds an additional layer of protection, helping prevent scratches and scuffs. The actual thickness of the clear coat can vary from 30 microns to 80 microns thick, depending on the manufacturer. Generally, the coats underneath the clear coat, the base, and paint layers are matte, whereas the clear coat is glossy. It means that the clear coat has functional and aesthetic purposes because it makes your car shine and protects it.

Not all paint jobs require clear coat repair, single-stage paintwork is not covered with a clear coat layer.

What is 1K clear coat?

Most clear coat repair work uses 1K clear coat. It is the standard product that comes with many OEM touch up paint repair kits. It is generally used for touch up paint repairs where owners are looking to give their fix a flawless factory finish.

1K clear coat doesn’t require activating and can be used directly out of the spray canister or paint jar.

What are the advantages of 1K clear coat?

There are several advantages to using 1K clear coat that has made it wildly popular among car enthusiasts and professionals alike, these include:

  1. Cost – 1K clear coat is up to half the price of a 2K clear coat spray can.
  2. Quick-drying – 1K clear coat dries fast.
  3. Ease of use – 1K clear coat doesn’t require any additives or activators to work. Simply apply it to your vehicle, and it will dry.
  4. Weather resistance – 1K clear coat is relatively durable and will protect the paint underneath even in adverse weather.
  5. Polish Ability – Once the clear coat layer has dried, you can get a great shine off it by polishing it.

What is 2K clear coat?

2K clear coat is used in the same way as its 1K cousin. It’s applied once the colored paint layer of your vehicle has dried. The major difference is that a 2K gloss clear coat needs either a catalyst, an activator, or a harder. Generally speaking, most 2K options come in the form of a polyurethane clear coat as it is much more robust.

After activating the hardener, the 2K clear coat must be applied in a timely manner, usually within a few hours. After this point, it can’t be used anymore as the hardener reacts with the clear coat to form a hard finish.

We recommend using gloves, goggles, and a mask when using 2K clear coat spray as it uses an isocyanate hardener.

What are the advantages of 2K clear coat?

Using a 2K clear coat solution for protecting the underlying painted layer of your vehicle has several advantages:

  1. Incredible resistance to scratches and scrapes because of the extra firm finish and is perfect for areas of your car that are prone to surface damage.
  2. Long term sealing of paint repair work compared to other top coat products.
  3. Great for large surfaces.
  4. It works well even in higher temperatures.
  5. Lasting glossy finish
  6. UV protection

How to Repair Peeling Clear Coat

What’s the difference between 1K and 2K clearcoat?

The significant difference between 1K and 2K clear coat is the need for a catalyst to dry. 1K can dry without any additives, whereas a 2K clear coat needs a catalyst to harden. Otherwise, it won’t fully dry.

Generally speaking, 2K clear coat is double the price of the 1K alternative, but for a good reason. 2K clear coat spray cans providers a far superior level of protection. The extra firm layer means that 2K clear coat spray has been the choice of professional painters for years. If your vehicle is ever exposed to extreme conditions in the form of off-roading or even gravel roads, then a 2K clear coat prevents scratches and scrapes. So, while the initial outlay is higher, long term, you avoid the need for additional paint repairs.

How to activate your 2K clear coat

Remember that once your 2K clear coat has been activated, you must use it within 24 hours, or it will permanently harden in the can. Spray Max 2K clear coat instructions are the same as most other brands, to activate it:

  1. Shake the can vigorously for 2 minutes
  2. Take the button from the cap and attach it to the pin on the underside of the can.
  3. Place the top of the can onto something firm.
  4. Push the red button into the pin.
  5. Remove the button and dispose of it
  6. Shake the 2K clear coat can again for two minutes.

How do you apply a 2K clear coat?

Applying a 2K gloss clear coat isn’t difficult, but we have a few tips and tricks to make the process even easier.

  • Ensure the base of your vehicle is smooth before applying paint or clear coat. This avoids a bumpy finish. Use sandpaper to get a smooth finish.
  • Practice applying the clear coat on card or paper before, so you get a feel for the flow rate and how the clear coat spray handles
  • Apply three layers of 2K clear coat. Always start out with a light coat and get heavier with each layer.
  • Spray from around 6-8 inches away. Any closer, and it may drip or bubble. Any further away, and it may not be smooth, especially if it’s windy.
  • Aim to paint on a day that is around 72ºf as it means the clear coat will dry evenly. Also, to get a great finish, never paint in direct sunlight.
  • We offer triggers that attach to the spray cans, and they are a lifesaver in terms of the application process.

If you haven’t got that original factory finish you were hoping for, we have a few tips to improve the clear coats look.

  • With any 2K clear coat that has turned out dull, we recommend polishing it. It is robust, so you can rub it a lot and are unlikely to cause any damage. Giving the area a good polish once it is dry usually solves the issue.
  • If the 2K clear coat paint has turned out coarse or there are drips, you may need to try wet sanding. Only ever lightly sand the area, we never want to affect the base color. So, work with caution. Once the roughness has been smoothed out, clean the area, and add another coat.

When trying to correct any uneven areas or iron out the smoothness, work slowly. You don’t want to rush it and erode the color underneath. If you are having trouble, get in touch with our expert who can help you.

2K Clearcoat: Single-stage vs. two-stage paints

Single-stage painting is an older method of painting vehicles that has been all but replaced by the more modern two-stage painting system. Single-stage painting does not require a 2K gloss clear coat or any other clear coat as all the necessary chemicals for painting are mixed and applied all at once.

Two-stage paint jobs always use a 2K clear coat or the 1K alternative to guarantee the protection of the colored paint and provide a great finish. When done professionally, most paintwork is finished with 2K clear coat spray as it offers maximal protection.

How long does 2K clear coat take to dry?

We regularly get asked, how long does 2K clear coat take to cure? Waiting the right amount of the time to dry prevents any unnecessary damage to the top layer. It also makes it more likely that you’ll achieve a flawless factory finish. Driving too soon, polishing, or waxing the clear coat when it isn’t dry can negatively impact the finish.

If you are completing the full touch up paint process, you will have to wait around an hour to dry before applying the 2K clear coat. We recommend using three layers of clear coat to get full and even coverage of the area. Between each coat, wait at least ten minutes before applying the next.

It takes 24 hours to dry thoroughly; after this time, you can polish the 2K clear coat to bring out that extra shine. However, it can take up to seven days for it to fully cure.

How long does 2K clear coat last?

Most car waxes and other sealants last only a few months, and getting that shine back onto your vehicle requires another round of polishing or waxing.

However, 2K clear coat is likely to last an indefinite amount of time until it is worn away or chipped off by debris. If you live on unsealed roads or regularly take your car off-road, the clear coat isn’t likely to last as long.

To extend the life of your clear coat:

  • * Wash and wax your car regularly. Once every four weeks should be the absolute minimum. This removes any harmful debris and stops it eroding the quality of your 2K clear coat.
  • * Avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun by parking your vehicle in a shaded area.
  • * Use detailing clay to get rid of pollutants that attach themselves to the clear coat.

Why use a 2K clear coat?

Using 2K clear coat is a must for anyone looking to extend the life of their vehicle’s paintwork. It is especially important in areas of your car that interact with chemicals from the roads or are bombarded with debris.

The exceptional protection that it provides keeps your car shining for longer, so it pays for itself in the long run despite a higher upfront cost. On top of that, it’s the stuff that manufacturers use on your vehicle in production, so you know you’re using the best stuff available on the market.

Where is the best place to buy 2K clear coat?

ERA Paints offer a range of industry-leading products that help people across the country take control of their vehicles’ clear coat repair work.

Our helpful guides and outstanding prices have meant customers can repair their vehicles at exceptional prices and avoid costly trips to auto repair shops.

The 2K clear coat we supply is the best quality and will allow you to protect your vehicle’s paint for even longer. Check out our selection of touch up paint products and get fantastic value when purchasing your 2K clear coat paint. On top of that, receive free delivery with every purchase!

We pride ourselves on quality products, competitive prices and outstanding customer satisfaction.

If you are interested in ERA Paints and our strive for vehicle care, follow us on our social media:

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DIY vs Autobody – How Much Does Paint Repair Cost?

DIY vs Autobody – How Much Does Paint Repair Cost?

Nobody likes dings and scratches in their car. In fact, they become a big pain for you. Just imagine, you parked a car. When you come back later, you saw a scratch. It is not only frustrating but also ruins the car’s look. Not to forget that you will be also paying the cost to paint a car.
You can hire some professionals for paint repair or you can carry out yourself. There are many pros and cons to both methods.

Cost to Paint A Car Yourself

If we talk about the supplies then you will be happy to know the cost to paint a car will be under $100. They are also easily available but the biggest problem is the painting job. It takes a lot of time as well as energy such as add dozens of coats of paint and many more.
That is not all, you will also require some machinery such as a paint gun. You can rent these machines but remember it is not available everywhere. You can also count on brushes and paint trays.
Another problem is ventilation. When you are painting, make sure that the area is well-ventilated. The reason is that the dust or dirt can ruin the new paint job while it is drying.
You will also require some extra things which are sandpaper, mineral spirit, and masking tape. Sandpaper is used to remove the grime or rust. To clean your car, you will require mineral spirits. Masking tape will surely protect the area from the paint.

Cost to Paint A Car by Hiring a Professional

If we compare it to the DIY method then the cost to paint the car will be higher than $100. Every painting company charges different rates for different level. You need to analysis your budget first then choose the one that fits.
If you are looking for a basic paint job then it will cost you under $1,000. In basic paint, you can have

  • Few coats of enamel paint (synthetic)
  • Less attention to detail

A standard paint job will cost more than the basic paint job. Approximately, you will be spending around $1,000 to $3,000. What you can expect from standard paint job is

  • Last Longer
  • Will make your car look better
  • Smooth surface
  • No impurities

Last but not least, if you like to show off your car then it is advisable to invest in a showroom quality job. This one is better than the above two paint jobs. It will cost you around $20,000 but on the other side, you will be getting a high-quality paint job. This process will

  • Remove the whole paint on the metal frame
  • Clear out any dents
  • Carefully add dozens of layers of paint

Not to forget that you will also be getting all the benefits of a standard paint job as well.

Which one to choose?

You must be thinking then which one to choose? If your car doesn’t need specialized tools and you are a very patient person then you can easily do it. Another factor might be that you don’t want to spend a lot of money so you consider doing it yourself.
If you have no idea of how to paint a car or you are looking at something which is very hard for you then consider hiring a professional for this job. These people are very good at their work and they will guarantee you that the final product will be amazing then you can expect.

Cost to Repair a Car Bumper

BUMPER REPAIR COST

Assume that your car was crashed, has bumper damage and now it needs to be fixed. How much does it cost to repair a bumper? $200? $400? When the payment bill comes you will surely get surprised.
This happens because of the outdated understanding of a car bumper. In the past, the bumper was a piece of wood, bolted onto metal at the ends of the car. They provided protection if a car bumped into nearby objects. Furthermore, it was easily replaceable, just unscrewing the bolts allowed it to detach.
Now bumpers are more complex. Today, bumpers are integrated with components of the vehicle and have more functions than just protecting. This causes the bumper repair cost to rise. In order to know the cost, you need to understand a modern bumper’s purpose, and the process of fixing or replacing one.

Subaru Bumper Paint ScratchLabor Time

Today’s system of repairing or replacing is much harder than it was in the past. Before taking out the bumper, professionals need to disconnect it from numerous vehicle systems. It does not only consumes time but it also takes trained skills. You must be wondering what kind of systems are in the bumper, below is the list of all systems:

  • Lights
  • Trim
  • Warning Systems
  • Airbag Sensors
  • Air Intakes

Removing all the above parts takes almost 2 – 3 hours and sometimes even more. The average labor cost is $100 per hour.

Paint Labor

After the removal of bumper, it’s time for the paint job. This job starts when the damage to the bumper is repaired. It also includes using body filler(putty), plastic repair material or other materials to repair dents and cracks. The primary objective is to create an exact copy of the original bumper.
After the repair job, sanding is done to the surface of the bumper. Before painting, trim or cutouts are removed. Now it’s time for painting and this includes laying a base coat, coats of colors and clearcoat.
The average time spends in this whole job is around 3 – 4 hours. The paint labor cost almost $100 per hour.

Paint Materials

This includes masking tape, plastic repair material, basecoat paint as well as body filler. You must be thinking that the measuring tape and paint also includes in cost? Yes, auto-body shops charge a flat rate for materials. They charge around $45 per hour on average.

Parts

In any collision, there must some part or component that was damaged. In the worst scenario, because of high damage, a replacement will be made. A replacement of bumper will cost you around $300 – $700. If sensors, lights, cameras or any other component are damaged, then you can expect an increase in overall cost. Even a low-speed collision of a new car could cost up to $1,000.

Overall Bumper Repair Cost

Car bumpers have changed from very simple to complex. Not just tools and parts cost but also time and effort the person whom you hired.
If we sum up all the expenses, you can easily see why car bumper repair costs so much.

  • Labor Time: 2 – 3 hours (rate= $100/hour) will cost= $200 – $300
  • Labor Time: 3 – 4 hours (rate= $100/hour) will cost= $300 – $400
  • Paint Materials: 3 – 4 hours (rate= $45/hour) will cost= $135 – $180
  • Parts: Average cost of parts = $300 – $700

The average bumper repair will cost between $935 and $1,580.
Does this blow your mind? Well, you are not alone. Do you know you can fix a damaged bumper yourself? If you have small scratches or dents then you can easily fix it yourself, but if the bumper is heavily damaged then consider getting it fixed by a professional.
IN THE END, WE KNOW YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF.
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How to Blend Paint on a Car

How to blend when painting a car

 

Learning how to blend new paint with old is a crucial part of the touch up paint process and the easiest way to guarantee that you get the most out of your DIY car paint kit. Thankfully, learning how to blend paint isn’t a complicated process and can even be done by people who have no automotive experience.

 

What is blending?

Figuring out how to blend car paint is the art of making the lines between your vehicles paint and your OEM car touch up paint vanish. You take your car spray paint and apply it to the existing paintwork to give the illusion of them blending into one.

 

Blending your automotive touch up paint gives the same kind of great finish that you would expect when visiting a professional body shop. Learning how to blend spray can paint will provide you with that ideal color match and is a process that we recommend absolutely everyone follows.

 

We outline the best practices to ensure maximal blending below. But we also have a fantastic YouTube video on how to blend paint on a car panel, which highlights the entire process step-by-step. Check it out here.

 

Why is blending your touch up car paint important?

 

Purchasing a car paint repair kit has several benefits. Not only are they significantly cheaper than going to a professional, but you also save yourself a lot of time and can work around your own schedule. However, you shouldn’t have to compromise on a great finish, and this is where blending comes in.

 

Getting instructions on how to blend paint automotive means that you are more likely to get an original factory finish on the work you do at home. On top of that, even with the perfectly matched OEM touch up paint we provide, color differences can still occur because of the environment you paint in, so blending is crucial to minimizing the disparities.

 

Overall, you don’t want to apply auto touch up paint to your vehicle to ruin your beautiful car’s look. That is why blending is essential.

 

When to blend car paint

 

Many of our customers ask how to blend spray paint and assume there is a magical step or product that does the work. However, blending paint is a technique that needs to be applied while you are spraying on your OEM touch up paint.

 

You should constantly be blending the entire time you are applying your OEM touch up paint on your vehicle. You can find an outline of these steps here, but we will outline tips and tricks on how to blend paint auto body below.

 

How to blend paint on a car with a spray can

 

The steps below only apply to use our spray can repair kits as the scratch or scrape when using a paint pot will be too small to blend. As we said previously, these steps need to be applied throughout the entire process as they are a technique rather than a task in their own right.

 

Before painting, you must ensure you have sanded and smoother the area down. The damage should be completely smooth and even, without this, blending is very difficult. Aim to complete the work out of direct sunlight as it can cause the paint to dry unevenly, which may leave a patchier finish. Below are the steps on how to blend spray paint:

 

 

  1. Shake your paint can for 1-2 minutes to mix the color properly
  2. Depress the spray tip to give it a test run and get an idea of the pattern
  3. Start with the edges of the damaged areas first then work in. Your first coat should try and cover the primer, then taper as you go.
  4. As you spray, track the panel’s contours, you are spraying to ensure even coverage and uniformness.
  5. You should wait 5 minutes between layers. When the paint has an even mat look, it’s time for the next coat.
  6. Aim for three to four coats overall and always aim for an even application with relatively wet coats.
  7. After the first few coats, start to extend the spread of each coat by 3 to 4 inches to help it blend with the surrounding paint.
  8. The final coat should fade out and not be heavy.
  9. Wait 20 minutes before applying the clear coat and aim for 2 to 3 coats.
  10. With a clear coat application, it is vital to keep your movement consistent to prevent it from running.

 

Please check out our YouTube video on how to blend urethane paint for more information on the entire process. It gives step by step examples of the above.

 

Let the paint dry completely before you check for the final color match as it can look lighter or darker prior to being completely dry. Discovering how to blend paint on your car will leave you with a superior finish that will make your car shine like it just rolled off the factory floor.

 

What are you waiting for? Get your car paint repair kit today, and get your vehicle shining again.

 

 

 

We pride ourselves on quality products, competitive prices and outstanding customer satisfaction.

 

If you are more interested in ERA Paints and our strive for vehicle care, follow us on our social media:

Facebook • Instagram • Twitter • YouTube

Bumper Repair Cost for Automobiles

Assume that your car was crashed, has bumper damage and now it needs to be fixed. How much does it cost to repair a bumper? $200? $400? When the payment bill comes you will surely get surprised.
This happens because of the outdated understanding of a car bumper. In the past, the bumper was a piece of wood, bolted onto metal at the ends of the car. They provided protection if a car bumped into nearby objects. Furthermore, it was easily replaceable, just unscrewing the bolts allowed it to detach.
Now bumpers are more complex. Today, bumpers are integrated with components of the vehicle and have more functions than just protecting. This causes the bumper repair cost to rise. In order to know the cost, you need to understand a modern bumper’s purpose, and the process of fixing or replacing one.

Automotive Labor Time

Today’s system of repairing or replacing is much harder than it was in the past. Before taking out the bumper, professionals need to disconnect it from numerous vehicle systems. It does not only consumes time but it also takes trained skills. You must be wondering what kind of systems are in the bumper, below is the list of all systems:

  • Lights
  • Trim
  • Warning Systems
  • Airbag Sensors
  • Air Intakes

Removing all the above parts takes almost 2 – 3 hours and sometimes even more. The average labor cost is $100 per hour.

Automotive Paint Labor

After the removal of bumper, it’s time for the paint job. This job starts when the damage to the bumper is repaired. It also includes using body filler(putty), plastic repair material or other materials to repair dents and cracks. The primary objective is to create an exact copy of the original bumper.
After the repair job, sanding is done to the surface of the bumper. Before painting, trim or cutouts are removed. Now it’s time for painting and this includes laying a base coat, coats of colors and clearcoat.
The average time spends in this whole job is around 3 – 4 hours. The paint labor cost almost $100 per hour.

Automotive Paint Materials

This includes masking tape, plastic repair material, basecoat paint as well as body filler. You must be thinking that the measuring tape and paint also includes in cost? Yes, auto-body shops charge a flat rate for materials. They charge around $45 per hour on average.

Bumper Parts

In any collision, there must some part or component that was damaged. In the worst scenario, because of high damage, a replacement will be made. A replacement of bumper will cost you around $300 – $700. If sensors, lights, cameras or any other component are damaged, then you can expect an increase in overall cost. Even a low-speed collision of a new car could cost up to $1,000.

Overall Bumper Repair Cost

Car bumpers have changed from very simple to complex. Not just tools and parts cost but also time and effort the person whom you hired.
If we sum up all the expenses, you can easily see why car bumper repair costs so much.

  • Labor Time: 2 – 3 hours (rate= $100/hour) will cost= $200 – $300
  • Labor Time: 3 – 4 hours (rate= $100/hour) will cost= $300 – $400
  • Paint Materials: 3 – 4 hours (rate= $45/hour) will cost= $135 – $180
  • Parts: Average cost of parts = $300 – $700

The average bumper repair will cost between $935 and $1,580.
Does this blow your mind? Well, you are not alone. Do you know you can fix a damaged bumper yourself? If you have small scratches or dents then you can easily fix it yourself, but if the bumper is heavily damaged then consider getting it fixed by a professional.
IN THE END, WE KNOW YOU CAN DO IT YOURSELF.
Be sure to check out our How-To videos on youtube, our Facebook page, our Twitter and Instagram!

How to Properly Prep a Panel for Automotive Spray Paint

Automotive Spray Paint

At ERA Paints, we many times are asked how to prep a panel for painting and clearcoat. We sell what we feel is the best automotive spray paint around, however if you don’t prep your surface correctly paint of any quality will NOT spray on and adhere properly. So spend a couple of minutes to read an intro to proper prep procedures. While you’re at it, please visit out youtube site where you’ll find lots of prepping & painting videos, along with a comprehensive catalog of How to Find Paint Code videos on your vehicle. Subscribe us at https://youtube.com/erapaints; you’ll be happy you took a look!

Cleaning

First, before doing any bondo-ing, sanding, priming or painting, you should always thoroughly CLEAN the surface. Wash the area with kitchen dish soap (Dawn or similar) and water (rinse thoroughly, dry completely). This process removes dust and dirt from the paint surface.

Wax/Grease Remover

Then use wax/grease remover (rubbing alcohol is an OK subsitute) to remove oils, grease, wax, tar, bugs and other contaminates. Simply put: automotive spray paint or primer will not stick to a contaminated surface – you will end up with fish eyes, paint flaking, etc if your surface is not property prepped. Even the oils from your hands will contaminate paint surfaces, so you should either wash your hands thoroughly before starting, or wear nitrile gloves. Paint does not react well to ANY type of oils and greases. Paint surfaces can also be impacted by contaminates in the air. So never be spraying lubricants like WD-40 or silicon any near your project area – you would be surprised at how such particles suspended in the air can contaminate a paint surface!

Remember that a car paint spray can is pressurized as it comes out of the aerosol can. You’d be surprised at how much air it pushes, and this suspends dust particles in the air. Therefore be sure to sweep the concrete or floor before beginning work and either tape off tires & adjoining panels or wash the mud & dust off from them. You MUST clean off tar or any other types of grime. The paint surface must be COMPLETELY free of any type of contaminates.

You can find all of the best automotive spray paint, automotive touch up paint, supplies and prep kits for your do-it-yourself Auto Touch Up Paint project at https://www.erapaints.com. We specialize in customize-formulated car spray paint specifically matched to your car!

Here’s a video from start to finish on Automotive Spray Paint

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eG7FOM2hUT0
Automotive Spray Paint

Cleaning Your Vehicle Without Washing It

You have a hot date or an important appointment and you rush outside, only to find that your car looks like a hazmat zone. Luckily, you still have five minutes to do something about it. But where do you start?
Take a tip from used-car salesmen and give your car “curb appeal” — a good overall first impression. When you can’t make use of a car wash, even little things can make a world of difference.

Vehicle Care:

The folks at Meguiar’s Inc. know a lot about making cars look good. The company’s core market is enthusiasts who lavish attention on their cars. But Mike Pennington, Meguiar’s director of training and consumer relations, was willing to talk about the gray area between a few swipes with a car duster and a full-on Saturday morning “bucket wash.”
“We don’t want to tell people not to wash their car anymore,” he says. “But if you are willing to put a little time into it, you’ll be surprised at how good your car can look.”

Waxing:

Over at Turtle Wax Inc., Michael Schultz, senior vice president of research and development, says car finishes are more durable and the chemistry of waxes and car-care products has changed. This means that for minor indiscretions — think fingerprints, bird droppings and light dust — you can use a spray detailer to sharpen up the look of your car.
But one expert, who used to prepare cars for photo shoots, sounded a note of caution: Be careful of too obviously cleaning just one section of the car. It might draw attention to how dirty the rest of it is.

How to keep your car looking good:

Here are six tricks you can use to keep up the good looks of your car between car washes. Think of it as triage for a dirty car.

Triage Tip 1:

Clean horizontal surfaces with a spray detailer. You don’t have to clean the whole car, just the obvious surfaces that catch dew or light rain and leave water marks. The eyesore areas are the hood, trunk and rear bumper.
Schultz recommends cleaning these surfaces in sections, using a spray detailer and microfiber towel, which is finely woven and makes better contact with the car’s surface. For example, divide the hood in quarters and clean the four sections individually. He estimates you could even clean the entire car this way with spray detailer and only four towels.
Many car enthusiasts worry about scratching or putting swirl marks in the car’s finish. The spray detailer is designed to avoid this by lubricating the dirt so it can be wiped up with a towel. But Schultz stresses the importance of flipping the towel often so you don’t grind dirt into the clear coat — the transparent finish covering the car’s paint.

Triage Tip 2:

A clean windshield is (almost) a clean car. Glass is easy to clean and it sparkles like a jewel once you remove the haze and grime. Visibility is a huge safety factor, but a clean windshield also just makes you feel better about your car. When you’re finished with the outside of the windshield, clean the driver-side window and side mirror, too. And for bonus points, clean the inside of the windshield and rearview mirror.
Keep a bottle of glass cleaner in your trunk, along with a roll of paper towels or the aforementioned microfiber towels. A foam spray cleaner also works well. For the really lazy folks, there’s a squeegee. In addition to cleaning, a squeegee works well in the morning when there is dew all over the windshield. Squeegee off the morning moisture and your glass won’t be left with those horrible drying marks.

Triagec Tip 3:

Take out the trash. It’s a car, not a dumpster. Pull up next to a trash can somewhere and throw away papers, food or other junk that dates from the second Bush administration. Better yet, put a small trash bag in your car and empty it often, Pennington suggests.
While you’re shoveling out your car, you might find a couple bucks’ worth of change. Use it to buy a car deodorizer. Pennington says car interiors can absorb smells, but there are new products that actually absorb dreaded foul odors rather than just mask them. We’ve tested a few and they seem to work.

Triage Tip 4:

Shake out the floor mats. When time is tight and you don’t have a vacuum, you can simply grab your floor mats and shake off all the gravel, loose dirt, sand or — heaven forbid — used ketchup packets. The mat on the driver side probably is secured, so you’ll have to work it off the anchors first. But the other floor mats are unattached and you can simply whisk them out for a quick flapping.

Triage Tip 5:

Clean the wheels and tires. Pennington says that having dirty wheels on a clean car is like wearing old shoes with a new suit. So it makes sense to make the “shoes” look as sharp as possible.
The absolutely laziest way to go is just to use a cotton rag to wipe off the flat center section of your rims. (There’s too much dirt on the rims for one of your microfiber towels to handle.) If time allows, work the rag into the spokes or crevices. You also can use a brush for the hard-to-reach areas.
As tires degrade, the rubber takes on a brownish hue that makes them look dull, Schultz says. So after you’re finished cleaning the wheels, apply tire black with a sponge. Easier still, just use a spray product to get a quick shine.

Triage Tip 6:

Clean anything you touch or look at. When you’re in the car, you spend a lot of time looking at the gauges, the dashboard and the center console. So take that microfiber towel you used on the car’s exterior and quickly clean off a few strategic areas inside the car. The plastic covering for the gauges is a must. Then, wipe the dust off the dashboard and sweep the fingerprints from the center console. Our experts recommend keeping car cleaning wipes in the glove compartment for quick interior touch-ups.
Now that you’re finished, here’s one more suggestion to make your life easier: Be very careful where you park. Sprinklers can undo all your hard work. And if you leave your car under the wrong tree, you might return to find it looking like a rock in the Galapagos Islands.
Quoted from Edmunds.com.

Aftermarket vs Manufacturer Vehicle Parts

When you take your car to the dealership’s service department for repairs, you know you’re getting Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) car parts. However, if you take your car to an independent shop, you’ll most likely get aftermarket car parts. Is there anything wrong with that? Does a less expensive part mean a poorer-quality part? And in what situations should you use only OEM parts?
To answer these questions, we’ve created a list of pros and cons to help you make a more informed decision when choosing what parts go into your car. In this way, you can strike a balance between cost and quality.
oem vehicle parts

Aftermarket Parts

An aftermarket part is any part for a vehicle that is not sourced from the car’s maker. If the parts are direct replacement parts, they will not void your car’s warranty. A number of companies make parts designed to function the same, or in some cases even better than the original. Tom Torbjornsen, host of America’s Car Show, estimates that about 80 percent of independent shops use aftermarket parts. “Be an informed consumer,” said Torbjornsen.”Shop around, make sure you’re dealing with a good mechanic and request high-quality aftermarket parts.”

PROS

Less expensive: Aftermarket parts are usually less expensive than OEM parts; how much you save varies by brand. Shop around to find the best price and to get an idea of how much that part usually costs. If the price of a part seems too good to be true, ask questions about its quality.
Quality can be equal to or greater than OEM: In some cases, you may end up with a better part than you started with. “The aftermarket companies reverse-engineer the part, and work the weaknesses out,” said Torbjornsen. For example, when an automaker designs its brake pads, it has to strike a balance between cost, durability, noise levels and performance.

Why?

If you want better performance and don’t mind some extra brake noise (some brake pads squeak even though they are stopping the car effectively), an aftermarket pad may be your best choice.
More variety: There are hundreds of companies that make aftermarket parts. Some specialize in specific parts, and other companies, like NAPA, make almost any part you can think of. More variety means greater selection and a wider range of prices.
Better availability: You can walk into any gas station, auto parts store or local mechanic, and they’re bound to have a part that fits your car. This gives you more options on where to take your car for service.

CONS

Quality varies greatly: The saying “you get what you pay for” rings true here. Some aftermarket parts are inferior because of the use of lower-quality materials. Stick with aftermarket brands you’re familiar with or are recommended by a mechanic you trust, even if these parts cost a bit more.
Overwhelming selection: If you’re not familiar with aftermarket brands, the selection could be overwhelming, and there’s some chance you may get a bad quality part. Even a part as simple as a spark plug can be made by dozens of different companies and comes in numerous variations. Consult your mechanic for advice or simply stick with the OEM part when the price difference isn’t significant.
May not have a warranty: To keep costs down, some aftermarket parts are sold without a warranty.

OEM Parts

OEM parts are made by the vehicle’s manufacturer. These match the parts that came with your vehicle when it rolled off the assembly line.

PROS

Easier to choose your part: If you go to the parts counter at a dealership and ask for any part, you’ll usually get one type. You don’t have to worry about assessing the quality of different brands and prices.
Greater assurance of quality: The OEM part should work exactly as the one you are replacing. It is what the vehicle was manufactured with and provides a peace of mind in its familiarity and performance.
Comes with a warranty: Most automakers back up their OEM parts with a one-year warranty. And if you get your car repaired at the dealer, they’ll usually stand by their labor as well.

CONS

More expensive: OEM parts will usually cost more than an aftermarket part. When it comes to bodywork, OEM parts tend to cost about 60 percent more, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI). There is more of a burden on parts and service to increase a dealership’s profit, since the sales departments have been underperforming. But the gap in pricing might be closing, says Torbjornsen. “We’ve seen a balance in the scales; dealers are now trying to compete with independent shops.”

Need to be bought at the dealership:

Even though there are other ways of buying OEM parts (eBay, online wholesalers), most people will go to a dealership to buy their car parts. This limits the number of places you can buy from. You can request OEM parts from your local mechanic, but it may take longer to get your vehicle repaired since the parts must be ordered.
Quality may not be superior: You paid the extra money for an OEM part, hoping that it was vastly better than an aftermarket part. But that may not always be the case. As Torbjornsen mentioned earlier, some aftermarket parts are equal to or in some cases better than OEM parts. So you might be paying extra just for the name.

When Should You Request OEM Parts?

When it comes to collision repairs, make sure you are getting OEM parts, since aftermarket body panels may not fit properly or have proper crumple zones for crash safety.
If you lease your car, there are also economic considerations. Since aftermarket parts decrease a vehicle’s book value, using them to repair your vehicle’s body may cost you part or all of your security deposit.
But here’s the rub: In 21 states and the District of Columbia, a body shop’s repair estimate does not have to indicate whether aftermarket parts will be used. You’ll often find that your insurance company will favor aftermarket parts because they are cheaper. If you request OEM parts, some insurance companies ask you to pay an additional fee. Check with your insurance provider beforehand, to see what parts they will cover.

Which Is the Best Way To Go?

All aftermarket parts are not created equal — but all OEM parts are. This creates its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you’re familiar with a number of brands or work on your own car, aftermarket parts can save you a lot of money. If you’re not familiar with aftermarket brands, prefer to have everything done at the dealership and don’t mind paying a bit extra for that peace of mind, OEM is a good choice for you.
Quoted from Edmunds.com.