Your ride may not have been designed to love the outdoors as much as you do. While all vehicles are designed to operate in the elements, not all of them are made to withstand a rugged outdoor life. So, if you adore wide open spaces and want your ride to survive (and even thrive) in the outdoors, take these tips to heart.

1) Wax Away

If your car isn’t going to spend much of its life in your garage or tucked away in underground parking, then you need to make sure it gets an extra layer of protection from the elements and hazards of the road.

The first thing you want to do is wax, and wax regularly. Every three months is good. Waxing your car protects it from the sun, preventing colour fading over time. It will also help protect your vehicle from minor nicks caused by rocks or errant shopping carts.

2) Undercoat

Once you’ve dealt with the visible exterior of your ride, you want to address it’s often ignored underside with a thorough undercoating. Undercoating is not included as a standard feature of most cars you buy, which means it’s something you’re going to have to pay for, either from your dealer or a licensed automotive garage.

You can do it yourself, but it involves using a heavy-duty toxic spray, so unless you are a professional, it’s best to leave it to them. For a few hundred dollars, this will seriously prolong the life of your car.

Undercoating is applied all over the undercarriage of your vehicle: to the exhaust pipe, muffler, suspension, wheel wells, gas tank, frame, floor board and pan – basically everywhere. This powerful treatment helps protect these areas from corrosion and rust, and this is particularly important when you are regularly exposing your ride to the elements.

3) Cover Your Seats

Whether you’ve spent the day hiking through the mud or riding the waves, one thing is for certain: your car seats aren’t meant to withstand dirt and salt as much as you are. When you get back into your vehicle to drive home, you often bring the weather with you.

While most seats can take a lot, over time, dirt and salt will eat away at the seat’s material, leaving you with worn and discoloured upholstery that will significantly reduce the value of your vehicle.

Quality, custom car seat covers are the best way to protect your car’s interior. You don’t want to skimp on excellence. Go for a brand that makes car seat covers their business, like My Custom Car. A one-size-fits-all solution won’t do if you’re serious about keeping your upholstery in excellent condition. Custom seats won’t slip or slide, leaving areas exposed and your interior looking dumpy: they stay put.

A reliable brand will also carry car seat covers in a variety of materials, like neoprene or canvas, which is perfect for people with more active lifestyles since they are tougher but equally stylish.

In the end, it’s about making sure your car is equipped to handle your lifestyle. These three simple tips will do just that: prepare your ride for a long-haul in the outdoors.

Read more from Andrea Tyler