Originally Posted by ripto
So I'm curious as to the advice you guys have that I should follow regarding proper exterior care.
The key with keeping a car clean: keeping a car clean is easy if you do it often, and if you do it often it is easy.
A clay bar is a good idea even on a new car. If you park outside, you'll probably need to clay it regularly. If you park inside, well some of my cars don't see a clay bar for a couple years.
For actual protection, I'd recommend Optimum Optiseal and Optimum Car Wax for ease of use. The Optiseal is applied and flashes off, the Car Wax is sprayed on and wiped off. Optiseal is more critical IMO, but the Car Wax leaves a nice gloss on top of Optiseal. I can clay a car and use both products in under an hour.
Don't forget to wax your wheels. I'm using a sealant (Finish Kare 1000P) which lasts a long time even on wheels that see high temps. The wax makes it really easy to remove brake dust, I use a small California Car Duster to keep wheels clean between washes.