- By admin
- In Maintenance
One way or another, it’s been a pretty grim winter for most people and perhaps our cars have not had the attention they need and deserve. Now that we are heading into Spring, with, hopefully, better weather, this might be the time to think about spring-cleaning that hard-working motor.
There’s a lot that can be done. Obviously, minor mechanical issues and fluid levels need to be addressed but also maybe it is time to bring that maintenance schedule up to date and book into your local car servicing garage. If the MOT is due, they can deal with that as well. In the meantime, as vehicles take a beating in Winter, prepare to spring-clean the inside and outside and that’s where we can help: Here’s our tips for some Spring refreshers:
More Than Just A Wash
No doubt the car needs a good wash but a quick rinse with a bucket of soapy water may not be sufficient. Road grime and insect strikes on the windscreen or bodywork all take their toll. It’s worth investing in a product that carefully removes stuck-on detritus and leaves glass sparkling clean. Watch out for any paint chips, hidden under the dirt; they need attending to. Surprisingly, toothpaste cleans headlight glass brilliantly. Not the windscreen though.
It may even be worth going the whole hog and give the vehicle a polish after washing (don’t forget to hose under the wheel arches). The slightly abrasive quality of polish helps remove dirt too stubborn for a wash mitt alone; it removes oxidized paint and smooths out those tiny surface scratches and swirl marks. Remember to apply wax afterwards to protect the paint.
Car interiors gather dust over time especially in the nooks and crannies. Get to work with a small brush and some canned air or a blower in the air vents and clean them out, otherwise the dust will be blown into the car.
With air-conditioning, it pays to run the system all year round. If it has been switched off in the cold months give a full blast. If the cold air seems weak or there’s a smell, get the system re-gassed by your local professional car garage.
If the windscreen wipers seem in good condition, then, to ensure smooth and efficient wiping, give them a clean with a soft cloth and some methylated spirits. Wipe down the full length; you will be surprised how dirty they are. Repeat until the cloth comes away clean. If they are still not cleaning the screen effectively, change them.
Most mainstream motors feature a lot of plastic, textured or otherwise, across the dashboard, centre console and door trims. It is possible to buy products that will clean these surfaces but a soft microfibre cloth and little olive oil or baby oil will do the trick just as well. It will also leave behind a nice, natural smell.
Refresh The Seats
The first job is a thorough vacuuming of the seats, using the tools to get into those hard-to-reach areas. Leather is a very popular material for car seats these days but it needs extra attention. It will crease and age in use, something that is not unattractive, but does make it easier for dirt to lurk.
Cleaning products designed for leather are best, used sparingly, as they nourish the material, but it is better to spray onto a clean microfibre cloth and wipe over rather than spray direct, as it avoids overspray. Always test a small area first and for any stubborn stains, try using a soft toothbrush to work the cleaner in. Wipe over to finish.
Fabric seats are easier. Use a suitable cleaning product to wash them but, crucially, don’t soak them. A damp cloth is sufficient and the job is best done outdoors to let the material air-dry. If the seats get too wet, use a soft towel to absorb the excess. A damp interior can encourage mould.
Don’t forget to vacuum the carpets and mats and wash rubber mats, clean touchscreens and the steering wheel; the latter being a popular place for germs to dwell. Car maintenance is vital; that’s why our local servicing garages have stayed open throughout the current crisis. If in doubt consult the experts; for everything else, roll those sleeves up and get spring-cleaning.