Spring Cleaning Your Car

Your car is your second largest asset! Use these tips to keep it in tip top shape.

Spring cleaning isn’t exclusive to houses. Vehicles are often left neglected in the seasonal cleaning frenzy. But don’t overlook your car — it has just taken a frosty beating during winter, from enduring constant freezing and thawing to trekking through corrosive road salt and whatever other winter-related afflictions abound. This spring season, give your car a little TLC.

Interior

If you have to wade through trash to reach the backseat, it’s time for a thorough interior car cleaning. Even if you don’t treat your car like a trash can, subtle accumulation of dust and dirt occurs. Drive to a gas station or car wash to use the free vacuum cleaners. Shake out the filthy floor mats, and meticulously push the vacuum crevice tool into every space it will fit.

Head over to the auto store to pick up cleaners to target your car’s specific interior materials. Deep clean the upholstery and carpet, condition the leather and renew plastic surfaces. Polish the windshield and glass with a car-specific glass cleaner — household cleaners will leave behind cloudy streaks. To get in the nooks and crannies you’ll need a can of condensed air. Spray your dashboard to remove the dusty detritus from vents, crevices and the console. For the finishing touch, hang a scented air freshener over your rear-view mirror.

Tires

The condition of your tires affects your car’s gas mileage and ability to successfully brake. By keeping tires inflated to the appropriate pressure, gas mileage can be boosted by three percent or more, according to CBSNews.com. Abraham Lincoln will assist you in determining your tires’ condition with the penny test. Insert a penny into your tire tread: if the treads slip short of reaching Lincoln’s head, your car is rolling on four precarious sheets of rubber and must be replaced on the double.

If you live in a four-season climate, you likely use all-season tires. Before the days of all-season tires, drivers owned two sets: a winter set and a summer set. Today’s “summer” tires, according to Edmunds.com, are marketed as performance and high performance tires. Summer tires are designed to grip the road in warmer climates, while winter versions contain rubber that is designed to grip in icy conditions. BF Goodrich’s g-force tires are marketed as “ultra high performance” and do well in dry and wet weather and on cars built for speed. According to tire chain Discount Tire, these tires can be used all year around, but they don’t give optimal performance in the winter. Drivers would be better off with a winter tire in winter conditions. Winter tires should not be driven all year because they are made of a softer rubber, which will break down faster if driven in warm weather. 

Automotive Bathing

You’re on the road enough, so why not make your car gleam? Unreel the hose and wash off the remnants of the salty winter. Compounded road salt builds up in the wheel wells and the car’s undercarriage, so target those areas first. Along with the salt, tree sap, bug spatter and chemical pollutants threaten your car’s paint job. Drive your car into a shaded area away from direct UV rays; otherwise, water and wax will dry rapidly and leave behind unsightly spots. Slather your car with car-specific soap, slip on a lambs wool or microfiber wash mitt and go to town. Dry your vehicle with a chamois or synthetic fiber cloth.

Miscellaneous Parts

Winter isn’t kind to windshield wipers. In winter, they’re often encased in ice which wreaks havoc on the wiper motor. The blades’ rubber will gradually wear as well. Inspect them carefully and determine if they need to be replaced.

AOL.com suggests applying a small amount of petroleum-based lubricant in squeaky doors and creaking trunk hinges. Use graphite lubricant on the locks.

Does wind noise seem to flow into your car on the highway or does the rain slip in through closed windows? Inspect the weather stripping around the windows and replace cracked and brittle strips straight away.

Did I convince you to do some spring cleaning in your car? I hope so! It will pay off and you’ll have the pleasure of driving a “like new” car!

Have a great week.

Helena

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One Comment

  1. Since I moved to Arizona, I notice a difference with the cleanliness of my car. It stays cleaner – as long as I don’t visit people who live down dirt roads. And there are lots more dirt roads here than in Wisconsin 🙂

    Great tips and yes, everyone likes driving a clean car! I know I do.

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