We usually associate spring with the ability to enjoy the outdoors more, to hang out with friends and most importantly with the fact that it is that season right before summer. For many states in the US, spring is waited and longed for season, putting an end to the rather endless snow and reminding us of what it feels like to be outside without 50 layers of clothes. Spring, however, also signifies that you have to clean the house, start working on the yard/garden and last but no least – clean the car, (Come on maaaan, it stinks).
Spring cleaning your car is almost as important as taking a daily shower. Your car has been slowly rolling into a rusty death all winter long with all the salt on the road and even if you happen to be one of the lucky ones that doesn’t have to deal with ice roads, I am sure your car would enjoy some TLC, a.k.a. tender love and care.
So what can you do to spring clean your car?
- Unless you are going to a car wash, you would like to have a pressure washer to get into those hard to reach spots, if not a regular hose will do.
Get down on your knees and start spraying….yes, you will get wet. Underneath the car, you can spray as much as you want, preferably with high pressure in order to take the salt off and prevent corrosion. When you move on to the engine, make sure you stay clear of all electrical parts around it, for instance you can cover up the distributor and alternator with a plastic bag. If you want to spray the engine itself, be very careful – don’t use high pressure!
- In order to clean the engine well, you might want to get a degreaser and a nylon bristle brush. You can spray the degreaser under the hood and the engine, leave it for a little bit to do its job and then scrub it gently with the nylon brush (no need to press too hard). Rinse off the engine with soft pressure water. You can dry it either with a piece of cloth or a leaf blower. Once you are done with that, take the plastic bag off and start the car, let it run for a bit to speed up the drying process. Here you can find a nice video that will help you out.
- In order to clean the outside of the car, you will just need a lot of soap, a brush with soft bristles and a bucket. Make sure you soap up the car well, and then try to get rid of any sticky and hard to remove particles on the paint and the windows, once done – start rinsing.
Hint: try not to be under the sun, it helps you avoid those nasty water spots
- While we are on this, even though it is not a mandatory spring thing to do, you can still check those pollen filters – if they happen to need replacement, it won’t hurt you to do it now. Also, it is worth taking a look at the windshield water level under the hood, after all you need to keep it clean in the long run.
- If you got over the easy part, it is time to move on to the “fun” one – the interior. You probably have a lot of sand, dust and stains on the carpet, so you can start with a good vacuuming – the floor, the seats, under the seats, the front, the door pockets, the ceiling, etc. Vacuum like this is the last thing you’ll ever do, just pour some blood (not literary of course!) and tears in there, it will show!If you have stains either on the floor or the seats, you can get a fabric cleaner.
Hint: try it on a small part first to make sure it is not going to fade the color out
- If you happen to have leather seats or just want to spark up your dash board, you can use antibacterial wipes – plenty of brands out there and most of them are very affordable, so you don’t have an excuse not to get some. The best thing about the wipes is that they are easy to use and you can see immediate (and long lasting) results on your interior.
Hint: for those leather seats of yours, grab some leather conditioner – it will keep the leather moist and shiny, which is very important especially right before the summer, which causes the leather to crack even more if it is not moisturized well
Don’t forget to spark up those windows (inside and out) – you can use any glass cleaner – or let’s face it – Windex is right there. Get some old newspapers, spray the windows and start wiping them off. Don’t stop until you can see a clear refection in the glass otherwise it’s not done well!
- If you change your tires as the seasons change, make sure you do that now, not when the roads are hot and burning, hopefully there won’t be any more snow until next winter…..or so we want to believe… (if you happen to be living in Chicago you never know right!)
As we have discussed before, the regular maintenance and cleaning of the car improves its reliability, value and life span. So if you want have a car that not only looks good, but works good, then – get to work, and remember your car can say quite few things about you.