How People’s Perceptions of Your Vehicle Affect Their Opinions About You

by Bill Fetter

People say, “Dress makes the man—or woman.” We don’t like to think that people’s perceptions of us are affected by how we look.

But they are.

Along the same lines, people judge us by our vehicles—by what we drive and how it looks.

“I used to drive a Nissan Altima, which was a very nice car,” said Sandie R., an accountant in the Lehigh Valley. “When my son began driving, I passed that car to him, and I treated myself to a brand new, black BMW 3-series convertible. All of a sudden, people started calling my boss and saying, ‘Your accountant must be paid well to afford that BMW.’”

Perception is everything, and the feelings and opinions people form matter. They influence hiring and purchasing decisions, so these perceptions affect your career—and therefore, your life. The type of vehicle you drive and how you maintain it might even influence how you feel about yourself.

“I used to drive a 14-year-old Honda CR-V, but I passed that to my sons,” said Jennifer Bright, founder of Bright Communications, a custom publisher in Hellertown. “I bought a brand new Honda Pilot, in a premium shimmery teal paint. When I drive my Pilot, I feel like a different person—like the type of person who’s successful enough to own and drive such a valuable vehicle. I had paint protection applied to it, and I wash it frequently, at least monthly. I find that the cleaner my vehicle is, the gentler I drive it. Also, when I meet with potential authors, I think when they see my well-maintained vehicle, it builds their confidence in me and my attention to detail.”

Car Washing 101
People often look at car washing as a chore, but actually, it can be enjoyable—even a hobby. It’s a great reason to be outside and get away from work, and it can even relieve stress. Here’s how to wash your car to keep it clean—and also to prevent scratches and marks that improper car washing can inflict on your vehicle.

The best rule of thumb: Anything that touches your vehicle could scratch it. Most important: Don’t use anything that’s been in your kitchen sink on your car—no scrub pads or scratch rags, ever. Don’t take your car to an automatic car wash (except possibly a touchless one), and never allow your service center to wash it. We recommend washing your vehicle yourself, using the two-bucket method.

Don’t worry if this seems complicated. We have an easyto-follow, no-obligation, educational video at https://www.

High-quality soaps and tools make the job so much easier. To wash your car right, invest in the correct supplies:

Two buckets:

  • Fill one bucket with a soapy solution.
  • Fill the other with clean water to rinse the wash mitt.
  • Grit guards: Place these plastic disks inside the buckets. They keep any grit off of your mitt and car.
  • Microfiber towels: You could buy colored towels and use a color code system:
  • Black towels for rims and door jams
  • Large white or purple towels for drying
  • Red for interior

Two wash mitts:

  • One for the body
  • One for rocker panels and underneath

High-quality, PH neutral car wash soap: Avoid wash/wax combinations because they don’t leave vehicles really clean. (Trying to do two things at the same time often means you’re doing two things badly.) Drying aid/detailing spray: One brand to try is Gyeon Ceramic Detailer.

Bug and grime remover, such as Gyeon Bug and Grime: Follow the directions on the label for safe use.

Use the least amount of pressure possible to wash and dry your car. Drag the wash mitt and towel across the car, using the weight of the towel to dry; don’t press. If you find yourself rubbing to get rid of something like a bug or tar, stop! You are going to scratch the paint. You need a special cleaning agent, such as Gyeon Tar, for whatever it is you’re trying to rub off.

Pro tip: If you ever drop a wash mitt or towel on the ground – STOP. Set the towel aside and go get a clean one. Never use a dropped mitt or towel on your car.

If you use these tips to wash your vehicle, it will look better than 95 percent of other vehicles on the road. People will notice.

At Immaculate Paint Protection, we love educating our customers. It’s a way to share our passion with other people excited about their vehicle. We teach each of our customers how to correctly wash their cars, so they get the maximum benefit out of our paint protection services.

About the author: Bill Fetter’s passion for cars started at an early age, as he loved anything with wheels. Through his childhood, Bill observed his dad’s work as a mechanical engineer turned marketing manager and proud lifelong employee of General Motors. During high school, Bill honed his passion for cars by hand-washing and detailing his neighbors’ vehicles. Knowing he wanted to be in the automotive industry, Bill earned a degree in Industrial Engineering from Kettering University in Flint, Michigan. He’s worked as an engineer in the automotive manufacturing, medical device, steel industry, and pharmaceutical manufacturing fields.

Bill and his team share their passion for protecting new vehicles with the finest paint protection films and ceramic coating available at Immaculate Paint Protection,

Related Articles