It doesn’t seem five minutes since we blogged that it was still winter, and we were exhorting you to make sure your car was fully equipped for bad weather. But now, spring is most definitely in the air and it’s time to prepare for the new season. Now that there’s actually some daylight in which to see your car, these seven quick tips will get your pride and joy looking its best, and help it to recover from the ravages of winter.
Sort out the interior
If the inside of the car is starting to look like a fly-tipping hotspot, start there. First, bin all the sandwich wrappers, coffee cups, fuel receipts and other accumulated trash. Remove any mud and rock salt: apart from looking terrible, they’ll make your carpet wear more quickly. Shake out the mats and wash thoroughly to get rid of any residual muck. Then get to work with a vacuum on the carpets and upholstery.
More interior work
The fabrics in your car soak up all the odours from pets, coffee, food, gym gear, smoke (if applicable) and – we hate to mention it – people. Then they release it all again into the confined interior space. Nice! Obviously, this problem only gets worse over the winter as the car windows are opened less regularly. If your vehicle has more than a hint of eau de locker room, or even if it’s just a bit stale, don’t try to disguise it with an air freshener. Instead, get a purpose-made cleaner and blitz the fabrics.
Wash the exterior
Winter is really tough on car bodywork. For one thing, water, salt and an abundance of other minerals on the road make a corrosive cocktail. If left unchecked, this can attack paint and metal. For this reason, it’s a good idea to make the first spring wash extra-thorough. A pressure washer is ideal: make sure that you clean the sills and under the bumpers and wheel arches. Using a specialist wheel-cleaning compound will help maintain the condition of your alloys and remove unsightly brake dust.
Wax the exterior
For some, waxing the car is a pleasant weekend ritual. For others, it’s a pain in the boot space. What’s certain is that if you can spare the calories, your car will thank you for it. Apart from restoring colour and shine, wax seals the paint, repelling water and any other corrosive elements. Once waxed, the car will be easier to clean again. Just make sure that you avoid applying the wax with anything that might harbour grit.
Clean the inside of the windows – properly
If your car windows are dirty, be prepared for them to mist over at the drop of a hat. That’s because dust and other particles on the window surface make it easier for water to condense. However, cleaning with household window products may only exacerbate the problem due to their high ammonia content. Instead, give your windows a once-over with a specialist car window cleaner.
Clean out the boot
Some sources suggest that removing the stuff that’s built up in your boot will benefit your fuel economy. Actually, that’s pretty unlikely, unless you’re storing bags of cement in there. A better reason for cleaning out your boot is that it’s a reservoir for dirt and odours that you’ve just removed in stages 1-5!
Swap to summer tyres
If you’re one of a growing number of motorists who use summer and winter tyres, don’t forget to swap them over. Winter tyres are, obviously, designed to run at lower temperatures. When they’re exposed to warmer temperatures, they can wear quickly. While not strictly a spring cleaning tip, this is something you might as well do at the same time. Putting it off will end up costing you money in unnecessary wear.
What are you waiting for?
Now’s the time to shake off the winter blues and show your car a little TLC. Apart from the obvious improvements in appearance, a bit of effort invested now will protect your bodywork and – when the time comes – might even benefit the resale value of your car.