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I'm the happy owner of an almost new 2019 Outback Limited. All of my vehicles in the past have been bought fairly heavily used and driven as work trucks, so I honestly never thought or worried much about keeping them too clean. I'm at a point in my life where I'm not needing to use my personal vehicle for field work and was happy to purchase a newer vehicle, which I now want to keep in good shape. Especially ater my first long-weekend road trip into the mountains (which it handled great even on some unmaintained winter roads) and now looking at a car with a lot of road salt, ice/snow, and road sludge splattered on it, and some dog hair and dirt inside.

I've been digging through this forum a lot, but am honestly lost on where to start. No longer dealing with just cloth seats and hard plastic paneling. This vehicle has so many different materials! Leather seats, soft touch (leather??) panels, faux-wood trim, some hard plastics still, cloth floors, windshield I have to be careful cleaning due to Eyesight..All very nice to drive in, but wow..how to I keep it all looking nice?? Same sort of questions on the outside. I got an undercarriage spray since I always have, but didn't purchase the dealer paint protection plan. Is there anything special I should be doing besides running it through a decent carwash like I'm used to?

Anyways, I was hoping the forum could give me some thoughts on what is minimum I need to do on the interior and exterior. What type of products to use and how often? Beyond that, I know there is a lot you can do to to keep it looking brand new, which would be great to know, but I also may not have time for all of that. Just want to try to learn more and differentiate between what is absolutely needed to protect the materials versus what is extra for looks.

Appreciate any help!
 

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I'm the happy owner of an almost new 2019 Outback Limited. All of my vehicles in the past have been bought fairly heavily used and driven as work trucks, so I honestly never thought or worried much about keeping them too clean. I'm at a point in my life where I'm not needing to use my personal vehicle for field work and was happy to purchase a newer vehicle, which I now want to keep in good shape. Especially ater my first long-weekend road trip into the mountains (which it handled great even on some unmaintained winter roads) and now looking at a car with a lot of road salt, ice/snow, and road sludge splattered on it, and some dog hair and dirt inside.

I've been digging through this forum a lot, but am honestly lost on where to start. No longer dealing with just cloth seats and hard plastic paneling. This vehicle has so many different materials! Leather seats, soft touch (leather??) panels, faux-wood trim, some hard plastics still, cloth floors, windshield I have to be careful cleaning due to Eyesight..All very nice to drive in, but wow..how to I keep it all looking nice?? Same sort of questions on the outside. I got an undercarriage spray since I always have, but didn't purchase the dealer paint protection plan. Is there anything special I should be doing besides running it through a decent carwash like I'm used to?

Anyways, I was hoping the forum could give me some thoughts on what is minimum I need to do on the interior and exterior. What type of products to use and how often? Beyond that, I know there is a lot you can do to to keep it looking brand new, which would be great to know, but I also may not have time for all of that. Just want to try to learn more and differentiate between what is absolutely needed to protect the materials versus what is extra for looks.

Appreciate any help!
First, congratulations on the Outback Limited!

I don't know if others will agree with me, but I have found that using Optimum No Rinse I can clean and shine virtually everything as long as you dilute it correctly. It doesn't leave white residue on any plastic, etc.

I don't use regular car washes, but if you do, be aware that eyesight and certain other things need to be turned off before you go into a car wash, because the car might freak out not knowing what's happening.


Between car washes, a capful (about a tablespoon) of Optimum No Rinse per gallon of water lets you wipe down a dusty (not muddy) car to a great but short-lived shine. Car washes don't do a real wax job either, but if you wipe your car down frequently then I find Optimum No Rinse to be sufficient. It will take off things like bird droppings before they damage the paint.

If you have to actually wash your car with soap and water, then after the final rinse another product you could use would be something like Turtle Wax Ceramic Wet Wax. - I haven't used it, but I've used similar products and they do work, but I've since switched to use using Optimum No Rinse frequently. My cars don't get that dirty.

To wipe down most materials in the interior they say to just use a damp cloth. I dampen my cloth with just a few drops (up to a teaspoon) of Optimum No Rinse to a gallon of distilled water, and use that for plastic, cloth, windows, whatever, with a clean, quality microfiber cloth. It picks up dust and oils pretty well and doesn't harm anything. This doesn't replace things like "leather conditioning" but most leather actually has a plastic coating on it to begin with, so just keeping it clean is usually sufficient - but I'm not a car leather expert so if others chime in, take their advice instead. Many use saddle soap and various products. I've never liked using those when I had leather seats.
 

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I wish I had bought the dealer paint warranty. Something hit the right fender and left half a dozen chips through to the undercoating and the other day a bird dropping sat on the hood for no more than a day and it ate clear through the clear coat and pitted the surface.
In over 52 years of driving I've never seen such a weak finish on a car.
 
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I wish I had bought the dealer paint warranty. Something hit the right fender and left half a dozen chips through to the undercoating and the other day a bird dropping sat on the hood for no more than a day and it ate clear through the clear coat and pitted the surface.
In over 52 years of driving I've never seen such a weak finish on a car.
I'd look at the fine print on those paint warranties. My guess is that it doesn't cover damage from objects striking the paint, or bird droppings. I might be wrong, but the extra paint warranties don't seem to be sponsored by SOA so.....

But there's a glimmer of hope - a longshot though.


Dealer told me to call 800-SUBARU-3 and put pressure on them for an answer so I made that call yesterday and they are supposed to call me back by 6:30PM EST today.
Warranty claim rejected . . . but they will fix it as a "Goodwill Gesture".

I assume it's to avoid setting a precedent, but ultimately I'm not as concerned with the reason as I am with getting this fixed with no out of pocket for me.
 

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Didn't see notifications you'd responded earlier in the week SilverOnyx. Thanks for the info on the Optimum No Rinse and especially for the reminder about Eyesight and car washes.

Now going outside to wash off any bird droppings after reading Satchel's post! I imagine tree sap from the pine trees above driveway are going to be a pain to.
 

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Didn't see notifications you'd responded earlier in the week SilverOnyx. Thanks for the info on the Optimum No Rinse and especially for the reminder about Eyesight and car washes.

Now going outside to wash off any bird droppings after reading Satchel's post! I imagine tree sap from the pine trees above driveway are going to be a pain to.
In the old days we used to say it takes a long time for factory paint to fully cure and harden. I know that at one point, because of baking and UV curing and whatever else, that it was considered no longer applicable. Today's low VOC paints though - I wonder if they need more time to fully harden again.
 

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Today's low VOC paints though - I wonder if they need more time to fully harden again.
Here's one metric that may apply - some recent repair work I had done involving repainting a part of it with factory-spec materials, and when picking up the vehicle, they advised me to not wash it for one full week.
 

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Didn't see notifications you'd responded earlier in the week SilverOnyx. Thanks for the info on the Optimum No Rinse and especially for the reminder about Eyesight and car washes.

Now going outside to wash off any bird droppings after reading Satchel's post! I imagine tree sap from the pine trees above driveway are going to be a pain to.

I like Optimum No Rinse (ONR)...the best product I have found to date for washing the exterior of any car. Follow the directions EXACTLY on the bottle and use first quality, clean microfiber towels to apply. I use the 8 oz/gal of water ratio for removing bugs and sap with a plush microfiber towel. Have used this stuff at car shows for years--great product.
 
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