If you want your car’s paint job to stay looking good for a long time, it’s important to take care of it. Ongoing care of an automotive paint job includes keeping it clean and giving it a good protective wax job periodically. That’s all good for an existing paint job, but there are different considerations for a new paint job.

Whether you just got your car back after collision repair, or you just had it painted for cosmetic reasons, there are special considerations that should be followed within the first 30 to 90 days. When you get your car back from the shop after a paint job, the paint is still going to need time to cure. During this time the paint is vulnerable to certain elements.

Avoid taking your car to a car wash for at least 30 days after a new paint job. Most commercial car washes use stiff brushes or sponges that can scratch the delicate new finish. It’s important to keep your new paint clean so the best thing to do is hand wash it yourself. Use clean cool water, a soft cloth or sponge, and avoid using dish soap or laundry detergent. Pick a shady spot to wash your car, direct sunlight can cause problems.

After you wash your car you might be tempted to put a good coat of wax on it, but make sure you don’t. A new paint job can be damaged by wax or polish. Wait at least 90 days before using wax or polish.

Use common sense to protect your paint job. Stay out of environments where there may be gravel and excessive dirt, keep all chemicals away from the paint until it has time to cure. If you take your car to a quality body shop for paint, they will also advice you as to the proper care of your new paint job. Make sure to follow the directions given to you by your paint shop.