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The world's first weblog written and maintained entirely by a sentient car wash. Automotive cleanliness is my business, my career and my passion. These are my stories; this is my life.

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What Dangers Lurk in the Summer Sun?

Salt, slush and snow can reek havoc on your vehicle's paint job. Thankfully, the summer months offer no dangers to the slick look of your car or truck, right? Wrong! Following are some tips to employ during the hot summer months in order to protect the look (and longevity) of your investment.

What's the number one risk to your paint job? The same thing that makes summer fun: the sun. While today's automotive paints are far superior to those of 20 years ago, ultra-violet rays can still fade the paint over time. The trick is to limit your car's exposure for long periods whenever possible. Park in a garage or shady spot. If your car must absolutely be parked exposed (especially if it's for an extended period of time) consider a car cover. In addition, regular washes AND waxes (kind of like the services Travel Clean Express provides) serve to shield your car's paint and mitigate the damaging effects of UV rays.

Of course, no solution is perfect and shady spots come with their own concerns--namely birds. It's no secret that birds do their business wherever it's convenient for them which, for some reason, always seems to be all over cars. While studies have shown that bird droppings are not acidic enough to damage the paint on your car—when exposed to heat from sunlight—the paint lacquer on your car warms causing it to soften and expand. Conversely, this same heat from the sun will harden any "deposits" made by birds. Then, as the paint lacquer cools (for example, overnight) it contracts, hardens and molds around the texture of the bird dropping. Again, regular washing and waxing to remove the droppings as often as possible greatly reduce the possibility of permanent damage to your vehicle's paint job.

Seriously, could trees be anymore dangerous to your car? Tree sap, though fairly easy to remove at first with a little rubbing alcohol and buffing, becomes much harder to remove once it is baked on by the summer heat. Avoid parking underneath sap producing trees whenever possible and keep a watchful eye to remove any sap that may accumulate on your vehicle. Once again, regular washes and waxes can go a long way toward preserving and protecting your car (noticing any patterns here?).

Finally, a seemingly innocuous threat lurks in the form of sprinklers. Think you're killing two birds with one stone by watering your lawn and washing your car parked in the driveway at the same time? Think again. The water supplied to outdoor spigots contains minerals and impurities that can leave unsightly sunspots on your car when the water dries. But, once again, a nice Travel Clean Express wash and wax can eliminate such threats to your car's shine.

Minor efforts like the care tips discussed above help to ensure a long (and beautiful) life for your car. Sure, looks aren't everything, but when you care about cars as much as I do—every little bit helps.

This summer, drive safe, stay cool, and travel clean.