Did someone write “Wash Me” in the dirt on your back window? Does the inside of your car look more like a college dorm room? It could be time for some spring cleaning — for your car.
You winterized your car and made it through the harsh winter. Now it’s time to, um… spring-ize it! The road salt, sand, and freezing and thawing have taken a toll on your vehicle. And, the cold weather prevented you from keeping your car looking showroom-new. Follow these tips to make sure your car sparkles as the sunny spring days approach.
Give It A Bath
It is your baby, after all. A car that is routinely washed and waxed can add years to the life of the paint and body. To make sure you’re making the most of your one-on-one time with your car, you should:
- Spray the wheel wells and undercarriage to remove salt buildup.
- Be sure to use soap made specifically for cars.
- Don’t wash or wax the car in direct sunlight.
- Dry the car with a soft, natural-fiber cloth. That sandpaper hotel towel won’t cut it.
- Don’t forget to clean the doorjambs. A shiny exterior will soon be forgotten when you open the door to a layer of salt and dirt inside the door.
- Clean the windows (inside and out) with a glass cleaner and lint-free cloth.
Make The Interior Habitable Again
Hanging a pine tree air freshener from the rear view mirror won’t cut it. A clean, cared for interior will help maintain your car’s value, and make the ride more pleasant for your passengers. Here are the basics:
- Vacuum! Take the floor mats out and move the seats forward and back to reach under the seats. Don’t forget the trunk or rear cargo area.
- Use cleaners specific to the type of surface in your car — upholstery, leather, plastic, etc. Any auto parts store will carry these, but many times a household cleaner will work just fine.
- A can of compressed air will help get the dust from the small crevices around the center console, shifter and vents.
Maintain The Moving Parts
It’s also a great time to do some minor routine maintenance to get your car ready for a summer road trip.
- Check your fluids. When the engine is cool, check your oil, coolant and other fluids. If your car’s service manual recommends specific mileage service, see your mechanic.
- Fill the washer fluid.
- Get ready for April showers by checking and replacing your wiper blades if needed.
- Check your tires. Switch from winter treads or get your all-seasons rotated. Become a tire expert with our interactive tire quiz.
If you aren’t car-savvy, you can always get your car inspected by a professional. Otherwise, get ready to open the sunroof, roll down the windows, and enjoy the looks of passing motorists admiring your shiny car.