New or pre-owned, your car, van, or truck makes a statement. It shows your tender loving care, or it suffers from exposure. Considering the financial commitment the vehicle represents, its worth keeping up its appearance.
1) Wash it deep and frequently. Regular and thorough cleaning keeps the car looking fine. Consumer Reports recommends rinsing “all surfaces thoroughly with water before you begin washing to remove loose dirt and debris that could cause scratching.”
Using recommended car detergents instead of home cleaning product, you should wash then rinse one area after another starting at the top and working down. Experts also use different sponges for wheels and tires than for the car body. They also advise not to wash the car when it is hot or in the sun.
2) Keep floor mats clean. Fabric or synthetic floor mats collect road dirt, gravel, and interior stains. Fabric strains respond to regular care with commercial carpet cleaners. And, you can clean rubberized or synthetic floor mats with soap and water or hose.
Car detailers will remove the mats completely from the car where they will shake dirt out and vacuum them thoroughly. They apply a stain remover where needed and apply a commercially available carpet cleaner to deep clean the nap. And, they may apply a carpet protectant to keep them fresh.
Fabric or rubberized floor mats must be dry before you return them to the freshly vacuumed car floor. That vacuuming also goes for the trunk floor.
3) Keep it covered. Weather and environment are good for your car’s finish. Certain climates hurt more than others, but sun, wind, snow, hail, and other natural forces wear and tear. So, you should keep the car garaged where possible.
Where you do not have access to a garage or carport, it makes sense to invest in a removable car cover. Custom covers for the car’s brand and model cost more than all-purpose covers, but the car’s exterior is the deal breaker when you try to sell the car.
4) Remember the interior. The interior fabrics, plastics, metals, and leathers need care, too. Detailers recommend applying cleaners to the sponges and rags rather than to the surfaces themselves.
The interior can get surprisingly dirty as passengers enter and exit, as the environment enters open windows, and as passengers consume drinks, foods, and cigarettes. Refreshing the surfaces will go far to freshening the cabin environment.
5) Use the best products. The best car waxes deserve some research. Name brand is not the only criteria. In another study, Consumer Reports suggests, “waxing even new cars every two or three months” because their power decreases under the pressure of tree sap, bird droppings, and other contaminants.
Keeping it classy
These 5 car maintenance tips help keep your car looking classy. And, when it does, everything else seems to run better, too. Finding the time to do it correctly can challenge you, but thinking of it as a commitment to protect your return on investment will make it more relaxing than work. To try and save time and be more productive, you may also resort to auto repair software.