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`DETAILING' CAN KEEP CAR ON THE FAST TRACK

Ever wonder how your neighbor keeps his car looking showroom new? Or why some cars five to 10 years older than yours actually look newer?

The answer may be that they spend the time and money to detail their cars."Detailing" is one of the hottest concepts in car care today. Although auto insiders have used professional detailers and have known of their methods for decades, many car owners have only recently discovered its benefits. By detailing, you can keep your car looking its best for as long as you own it.

If you need more than that new car look for motivation, detailing your car should also save money. Regularly detailed cars cost less to run. Finding fuel, oil and water leaks, worn hoses and fan belts and misaligned tires is easy during detailing and can save you much time and money by preventing major problems and costly repairs. A car that is clean inside and out will be worth more when you decide to trade or sell it.

Another compelling reason to keep up your car is that you will probably own it for a much longer period of time. In 1971 the average age of cars on the road was 5 3/4 years. Today, the average is almost 7 1/2 years. In today's economic climate, it makes sense to keep your car longer. Auto detailing protects your investment by prolonging the life of your car.

But having your car professionally detailed can be almost as expensive as repairs, costing anywhere from $60 to $100 each time. That is why more and more people are learning how to detail their cars themselves. By doing so, you can accomplish professional detailer perfection at a fraction of the cost.

A new book by Chilton Book Company "Auto Detailing: The Professional Way" is available for anyone who details his or her own vehicle. Whether you're a professional or weekend detailer, "Auto Detailing" will take you through repairs and restoration, from scratched windshields to ripped carpeting to under-chassis rust. Tips from the pros, prepping secrets and a list of common detailing products will help you detail your car from bumper to bumper.