Wave farewell to winter, spring is officially in season. Since temperatures are finally taking a turn for the best, now's the perfect time to break out the washcloth and add a little springtime sparkle to your vehicle. With the added daylight comes more time for your ride to shine, so we've put together a few tips to get your vehicle gleaming both inside and out.
It's what's on the inside that counts, and that's especially true for your car. Dirty fabrics don't do anyone any favors and can make your car look older than it is, especially after weathering a winter's worth of muddy boots. Start by sliding your front seats all the way forward and clean up anything that's fallen through to the forgotten place. After a quick tidy up, take the time to vacuum every surface, even under the floormats, to remove loose debris, which could be scrubbed further into fibers. Then, touch up any visible stains with a multipurpose fabric cleaner and damp towel. Just a few spare minutes and some elbow grease will make even the filthiest fabrics so fresh and so clean.
SHINE & DASH
For your dashboard and other hard surfaces, steer clear of household cleaners and try using surface-appropriate cleaning wipes instead (or a damp microfiber towel). Using the wipes, wipe down the dashboard, center console, inside door pockets, steering wheel and gearshift, to really get the majority of accumulated dirt. As a quick fix for trapped dirt, wrap a wipe around the end of a flathead screwdriver and run it along the buttons and switch crevices. Then finish the job by lightly brushing the vents with a bristled brush to break up and bust that hard-to-reach dust.
FINESSE THE FINISH
In the winter, icy roads are treated with a salt that can damage your car's finish, meaning a post-winter wipe down should be priority one. Before the wash, park in a shaded area and let your car cool down to prevent evaporating liquids from leaving streaks. Start by rinsing your car to remove larger, more abrasive pieces of dirt which, if scrubbed, can scratch the surface. Never use liquid detergent or dish cleaner while washing, as they're formulated to remove more than just dirt and can damage the surface of your vehicle. After washing, make it a point to apply a coat of wax at least twice a season to help protect the finish from the elements. Before applying, shake the wax container, then apply to your car one section at a time. After it dries, Wipe away the residue with a microfiber cloth, and voila! Your car is like new.
WIN AT WINDOWS
Sunny days may be on the way, but so are spring showers. And keeping a clear line of sight on the state of your windows and wipers is a must this time of year. Window interiors are often forgotten, so be sure to give them a quick wipe down before moving on to the exterior. Speaking of, it's best to clean your exterior window surfaces after you've washed, waxed and removed any cleaning residue that might be left over. As a rule of thumb, always avoid household cleaners on auto glass since ammonia damages tinting. When you're all done, give the wipers a once over to check for streak-causing cracks or dryness in the rubber, and replace them if necessary (don't worry, the process is a snap).
MAKE TIME FOR TIRES
Inclement winter weather can further damage roads, leading to more potholes and even more tire wear. If you use winter tires, be sure to switch back to all-season as soon as the threat of snow and ice is over. Winter tires are made of a special rubber that keeps them softer in cold weather, meaning they wear out much faster when temperatures rise. If you use the same tires year-round, try the penny test to see if your tread is at a safe level for the upcoming season. If your tread is safe, move on to checking tire pressure. Inspect all tires, including the spare, and adjust their air levels as necessary to combat the shifting temperature. Properly inflated tires mean better gas mileage, and quick check-ups like this help save you far more than pennies.
Keep these tips in mind, and you'll be in it for the long haul when your next road trip rolls around. If you need a few suggestions, we have a few destinations to check out while the temperature is on the upswing. As America's #1 in collision repair, we certainly know how to handle almost anything the road springs on you, so if your car falls on hard times as you're checking out the foliage, know that we'll be right here to restore the rhythm of your life and get you back on the road.