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I know this seems like common sense, but this is directly from Hyundai so I thought it would be a good post. This might help for those who have experienced some paint problems as well.

The goal in cleaning and detailing is to make your car look as good as when it was brand new. The subtle touches are what make the difference between a car that simply looks nice and one that makes you say, "Wow!" To that end, here are professional tips the do-it-yourselfer can use to achieve a pro-quality detailing job on your own car.

Washing Your Elantra

To keep your car's finish looking new, you should wash it at least once a week, especially in major metropolitan areas where there is a lot of pollution in the air. If at all possible, park your car in a shaded location before getting started. Washing your car in the sun can cause some surfaces to dry faster than you may want them to, leaving residue and unwanted streaks. The beads of water also act as mini magnifying glasses and can make the sunrays more harmful.

It is important to only use a mild, non-sulfate soap made especially for cars. Do not use dish soap or other detergents, as these can strip the wax and damage your paint. Start with a clean wash mitt and never reuse it if you drop it on the ground - it can easily pick up small bits of dirt that will scratch your paint. It is recommended that you use one mitt for the top half of your car and a second clean mitt for the bottom half of your car.

Basic guidelines to bear in mind:

1. First rinse the entire car with water to remove loose dirt and cool the surface.

2. Wash and rinse one section at a time-working from top to bottom-to prevent a section from drying too quickly and leaving deposits or residue. Don't forget to use different mitts for the top and bottom half of your car.

3. Rub the car surface gently to loosen dirt, using plenty of soap and water. Aggressive rubbing can grind dirt right into the finish, leaving scratches and swirls. Car soap is designed to lift the dirt and float it away - the more bubbles you see, the better.

4. Be sure to rinse the wash mitt often to prevent accumulated dirt from scratching the paint. Wash mitts are designed to lift the dirt from the surface and hold it so that it cannot scratch the surface.

5. Use plenty of rinse water to carry away the dirt and soap.

6. Never reuse a mitt that you have dropped.

7. To remove dead insects or tree sap, use a quality "liquid tree sap remover" available at your Hyundai dealer. Never use gasoline, solvents, paint thinner, or other strong cleaners, as they can discolor and damage the paint.

8. To remove pooled water from inside an enclosed mirror, slam the door a couple of times to shake loose as much as possible. Then wrap a terry cloth towel around a credit card and slide it into the housing under the mirror to absorb any remaining moisture.

9. After the final rinse, wipe the excess water from the vehicle surface to prevent water spotting. A soft terry cloth towel or a high-quality chamois are recommended. Keep the towel or chamois clean to help prevent scratching, and wipe the vehicle lightly to soak up water without abrading the surface.

10. If you live in a climate where sand or salt is used on the road surface, be sure to rinse inside the wheel wells, paying special attention to the lower part of the fender where salt and sand may have accumulated. You might want to take a trip to a self-service car wash and use the high-pressure hose for this extra step.

Waxing/Polishing Your Elantra

The finish of your car should be waxed at least once every three months and polished twice a year. In the winter, you can give your finish extra protection with carnauba wax, by applying one coat; then when the first coat is as hard as possible, apply the second coat.

1. Waxing should be done with a dry sponge applicator pad. If the pad is damp, it's possible to trap moisture between the wax and the paint surface. When waxing paint, the best depth and sheen (especially on dark finishes) can be obtained through a show car technique called a triple coat. Here, the first coat is applied in a horizontal motion. The second coat is then applied in a vertical motion. Finally, a third coat is applied diagonally to the first two.

2. The best choice for applying polish is with an all-cotton diaper or tight-weave T-shirt. Also acceptable, but less preferable because of its rougher surface, is a terrycloth towel. Apply the polish to the cloth, not directly to the paint. Work the polish in a linear fashion, such as front-to-rear or side-to-side; this way, any fine swirl marks that are left behind will be less noticeable. If desired, cross-polish the surface by going over it a second time in the direction opposite to the first pass.

3. Keep extra towels, sponges, and foam applicators handy because, should you drop one on the ground, you don't want to continue using it. Even if you can't see the dirt it's picked up, it's not worth the possibility of a single grain of sand gouging a deep scratch into your paint. In fact, it's a good idea to hose down the concrete around the vehicle before you start working on the surrounding paint. Another tip is to treat the trim first with an oil-based rubber/vinyl dressing. The residual oil from this treatment will make it easier to get any polish or wax off later.

4. To get wax or polish out from under trim, slide the edge of a towel along under the trip piece. If you need to go in deeper, try wrapping a cloth around the edge of a credit card.

Cleaning your Elantra's Interior

1. Start by vacuuming loose dirt and dust from the cloth or leather-trimmed upholstery. Then apply a solution of mild soap and water, using a clean cloth or sponge. (Be careful not to soak the upholstery because this can increase the chance of discoloration or mildew.) Wipe the upholstery and repeat as necessary until the surface is clean. Keep in mind that leather upholstery contains sufficient oils. Oils applied to the surface will not enhance the leather and may actually damage the finish. (Note: Never use gasoline, solvents, paint thinner, or other strong cleaners, as they can discolor and damage the upholstery.)

2. Most people don't think of vacuuming and dusting their dashboards, consoles, cup holders or rear window shelf, etc. But dust and common allergens collect inside the car and can be difficult to clean. Dash vents are easiest to clean with a foam swab and mild soap. An alternative is to wrap the handle of a detailing brush with a piece of terry cloth.

3. Next vacuum and clean the floor mats. Vacuum the mats well with the carpet-comb attachment and remove them from the car. Shoe scuffs on the door panels are another area, which is quickly remedied by a spray cleaning solution. Simply spray the product on the door panel and scrub with a soft scrub brush. Rinse with clean water when done.

4. For the carpeting, vacuum as much dirt as possible using the carpet-comb tool. If the stains on the carpet and floor mats are small, or the stains are light, a "spray, scrub and vacuum" product will more-than-likely do the trick. Follow the manufacturer's directions for best results. If the area is large, or the stains are more obvious, it's best to use a professional carpet-cleaning machine. The machine infuses the carpet with the cleaning solution, breaking down the dirt particles and forcing them out of the carpet. At the same time, the machine vacuums the dirty water mixture out of the carpet, leaving it fresh and clean. If you don't own a carpet-cleaning machine, you can rent one at your local supermarket or rental agency. Since most machines infuse the carpet with cleaner and water, be sure to get a good quality cleaning solution. If in doubt, ask a sales associate for assistance.

Detailing your vehicle may take more elbow grease than driving it to the local car wash, but the results obtained will not only make your Hyundai look as good as the day it rolled off the showroom floor, but you'll be the envy of the neighbors as well.

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Looks good.. I'm going to add a few things specifically about waxing the paint and how to keep the surface smooth and as trouble free as possible. Here, I hope people will have a shiny car, but over time if it gets dull, I will be discussing how to bring a shine to the surface.

A new cars paint job is pretty, but over time, does require some maintanance as SuperGLS mentioned. However, as the car ages, it might look as the surface is getting dull. Here, several things can be the cause; the paint has oxidized and/or too much wax has been applied and has built up. Another problem I see is the paint has worn down (by manipulating the surface by physically rubbing on it). Modern waxes do can have some cleaning agents in them, which can wear the paint slightly. As the paint gets thinner, it becomes lighter in color and dulls out without wax being on it. If you have rubbed through the clear coat, the base coat cannot be shined up since it is designed to have a flat paint look to it, which you would have to have it repainted.

Mostly, with an already shiny surface, all you should need is a mild wax/polish of your choice. NXT by Meguires is a product that should be applied as a final product. The drawback to it that it will last 4-6 weeks, meaning it will need to be reapplied every 4-6 weeks. Most people may want a product that lasts longer. I for example want something that can last longer than a month. I don't necessarily have the time to wax my car all the time especially in the winter months. No claybars or rubbing compound should be used.

If by chance you have a scratch, I first have to see if it has gone through the paint. A white looking scratch that isn't deep can be rubbed out, otherwise you will have to touch it up. I don't like clay bars because they can get dried out too fast and may rub too deeply. I use a liquid rubbing compound with a cotton rag (by hand) to remove the scratch.

On a fresh paint job, the color may appear darker than when it gets older. If the paint has been rubbed with a polisher, the color will lighten and appear duller without wax on it. This means the clear coat has worn down. Bringing it back to new is harder, but it can be done. My car is a year old and the paint appears as it were just painted. I never had it professionally detailed, but I have removed several scratches and dings either by the rubbing compound by hand or touch up paint. At no time, has the car had been rubbed by compound or claybar over the entire surface.

If by chance the surface does appear dull and whitish, I like to clean the surface first by washing/drying it first. If soap/water does not get to the dullness, I first try a wax/cleaner on a small area. If that brought the shine back, I then take a product (an enamel reducer) that is used to clean the surface without having any abrasives in a small area to see what it does. The reducer is a product that disolves wax, oils and most contaminates such as road tar without having to remove any of the paint. A claybar (which the mods at EGT prefer to use) can do the same thing, but I prefer not to use an abrasive if I can help it. Since the reducer has no abrasives, I tend to use this, then wax a small area to see if the surface is to my satisfaction. Most of the time, this will do the trick. If not, I go to a mild liquid rubbing compound (if the surface requires it) and test that out.

If the car is shiny yet, you will not need to use everything I mentioned. I do a step-by-step process using the least abrasives needed to do the job. A basic wax job is all that you may need.

I do most polishing by hand. For me, it is easier and using a machine can remove too much paint.
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