Spring Cleaning Your Vehicle

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Tips for Cleaning Your Car and Getting it Ready for Summer Fun!

Springtime…everything smells fresh and clean outside!  How does your car smell?? Are there a few lingering odors from food crumbs, spilled drinks, or stale gym clothes?  Even a dirty cabin air filter may smell musty and/or nasty when you turn on your fan or air conditioning.  Spring is a good time to give your car a good interior clean (and exterior wash and wax), especially before you head out on that summer road trip!

Keeping your car clean inside and out is an important aspect to your automobile service.  Cleaning your car will not only help maintain the value of your vehicle, it will help prevent small rodents from being attracted to smells of food in your car.  Rodents can wreak havoc in your engine compartment or interior by building nests or gnawing on colorful wires, often creating an electrical nightmare. 

Here are a few tips on self-cleaning your vehicle:

Interior Car Cleaning   

Carpet and Floor Mats: Remove floor mats – wash rubber mats with a pressure washer and/or scrub brush.  Then, vacuum dirt and crumbs from the carpets and around the seats.  An Air Blow Gun can help get particles out from small crevices, both alongside the seats or in the dash or console.  If you have stains in the carpet, Spot Shot is my go-to cleaner (can be purchased at most any grocery store) for getting out tough spots.  

Seats:  Depending upon whether you have cloth or leather seats will determine what type of cleaner you should use.  There are many good leather cleaners on the market – be sure and check your Owner’s Manual for their recommendations, and use something safe for your vehicle’s interior.  While you are vacuuming, be sure and vacuum the seat crevices too!

Dashboard and plastic surfaces:  There are many products on the market, beyond what you can find in the local automotive stores.  Check Google for ratings from people who attend car shows – they use what will cleans the best and what will leave the least residue. 

Interior Windows:  What is that hazy film that accumulates on the inside of your windshield?  It is a combination of gasses released from the plastic on your dashboard, as well as smog and exhaust from your car.  When your car is heated up in the summer sun, the plastic emits gasses that adhere to the inside of your windshield.  If you have smokers in your car, that just makes the whole problem worse.  There are several commercial window cleaners, but a good homemade window cleaner recipe is 1 cup water, 1 cup vinegar, and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol.  A drop or two (only a small amount!) of Dawn detergent also helps cut greasy residue. 

Exterior Car Cleaning Tips:

First, be sure and rinse your car well BEFORE you use the sudsy brush at the self-car wash or before rubbing the surface with soap and water.  If you don’t, you will scratch the paint surface by rubbing the sand and dust particles into the paint.  

Wash, dry, and wax your car in the shade.  Bright sun will make your car dry too quickly, before you have time to wipe the windows. Water spots will form quickly and will be difficult to remove. If you try to wax your car in the sun, the wax will dry too quickly and will be much more difficult to buff to a bright shine! 2019 Car Bibles Review and Buying Guide recommends Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax.

Wash and dry your car, top to bottom, and wash and wax in sections so the soapy water doesn’t dry on the car.  Rinse as you go.  After the last rinse, use clean, dry towels to dry the car.  Microfiber towels work great for reducing streaks on the paint as well as on the windows.

If this all sounds like too much for you, but you LOVE a clean car, consider using one of our local auto detailing services.  We have used Chase at Auto Detailing Delivered, both personally and professionally.  He comes to our home (or shop) and has everything he needs in his van to do the job right.  I know we got a better price for a van we were selling because it looked so good!

Happy Spring Cleaning!  We at Honest Accurate Auto Service wish you safe driving on your summer vacations – be sure your routine auto service is up to date on your car too!

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