Often, we are excited when we buy our first car; the prestige that comes along with it. Rarely do we think about the afterlife.
Caring for a car is a challenge to many especially the cleaning part. After that ride, all we are thinking is to check in to that favorite car wash. Let’s pause for a moment and think about DIY.
Majority of the people who wash and wax become too sure this is the best way to give the car a shiny and clean look. However, there is much more to do. Some parts of the interior get ignored or stay for a long period without proper cleaning.
1. Analyze the condition of your car
To be sure that you are on the right track, it is vital to first assess your car and understand the condition of your car. Wash and wax will be just enough for a brand new car to maintain it but for an uncared one, exterior polishing too will do the trick. In addition to this, you will need to check if the tools are safe to use. Read the labels on the cleaning chemicals before use because different brands can be used for different applications. It is essential to keep this in mind so as to avoid messing with your car surface.
2. Deal with dust
The interior could be a turn-off to new car owners. You need no tot worry but one thing to be sure of; DIY is always the surest way to maintain your car as you will handle it with care. Consider starting from the top and work your way down so as to avoid repeating the work because the carpet caught some dust again. Vacuum the dusty air vent, headliner, dash, door panels and other small crevices. Ensure that you also dust the nooks and crannies. Using a toothbrush can be beneficial to scrub deep into textured surfaces. Dampen a small sponge brush with your cleaner to remove stubborn dust particles in hard-to-clean areas.
3. Prepare the surface
Clay barring is the only way to get rid of embedded contaminants. It removes all any particles from the car surface and fixes smoothness of the paint. Choose the clay wisely. A fine clay is less likely to mar the finish. A medium grade can be used only if you will polish afterward. Cut the clay bar into 3 equal pieces. Take one piece and flatten it so that it is easily held. Spray your clay lubricant into one section of the car surface. Glide the clay back and forth across the surface. Try to do it in only one direction as you avoid a circular motion. You will be able to notice it picking the contaminants. Repeat this to the other sections. Throw the clay away if it appears to be immensely contaminated.
4. Rinse with water first
When it comes to cleaning your car, you must rinse it first without using soap or mitt. Rinsing will remove larger particles of dirt such as mud which can scrape the car surface. You can afterward use clean mitts to further clean. This step is important because you will identify scratches, swirls, and ravaged paint that simple cleaning does not get rid of. A simple trick to ensure all particles are removed is to run your hand over the cleaned car. If you still feel some bumps, rinse once more and wipe until all particles are cleaned away.
5. Slide the car seats to clear the junk
Always slide the seats forward and clean all the junk. You will be astonished by what you can find. Vacuum the area pretty well and may use a damp small sponge brush with your cleaner to remove dust particles in hard-to-clean areas. It is hard to imagine how far you have come. Next step is to take out all your car carpets carefully to avoid dirt on the seats and floor. Reach under the pedals, crevices and other areas you had not cleaned and vacuum thoroughly. Dispose of all dirt and crumbs from the car floor. Clean the upper and underside of your carpet and upholstery using a carpet cleaning machine. You can use a rented machine or a medium brush to scrub. Keep in mind that it’s better to use a carpet cleaner.
6. Wash with the right liquid cleaner
It is easy to be tempted to use a liquid dish or hand washing soap. Remember that cleaning your car is not just about removing grease, dirt and old wax; the car surface needs to be maintained. These liquid soaps are likely to suck vital oils hence ruin that pleasant paint finish. Ensure to use the right cleaner specific to your car.
7. Clean that car seat as you go
Stubborn stains and grime can be a headache on both leather and cloth car seats. If you have leather seats buy a leather cleaning kit and always keep it in your vehicle. You will be able to immediately clean up stains from lipstick, say, therefore saving the leather from permanent stains. It is prudent to pretreat the leather with a conditioner before you begin the removal process. Rub in the ink lifter directly on the leather then time approximately 30 minutes before wiping with a clean cloth. Apply the leather cleaner and leather protection cream to finish. For cloth car seats, ensure you remove debris and other visible particles using a vacuum, get into the seams too. Using a car cleaning spray, lightly spray on the seat surface as you brush through using a soft interior brush to massage. Wipe away dirty suds with a microfiber towel before it dries up. Repeat for all sections. Vacuum the area again to dry up the seats.
8. Wash the windows
It is easy to notice that line of grime once you roll down the car window. Pay much attention and don’t be in a hurry to clean them. Ensure that you wash the top edges too. It is important to use an auto window cleaner for best results and wipe down a number of times to ensure that the cleaner is removed. Windex is popular; however, it is wise to use the former since it is composed of ammonia which can damage your car’s window tint.
9. Clean the wheels
Different wheels have different cleaning products formulated for them. Know the type of wheels you have and the friendly cleaning products available. If you are unsure of what type of wheels you have, it is advisable to go for the least powerful type. An acid-free pH balanced aluminum wheel cleaner will do the work for you as it can be used on any type of wheel.
10. Polish to achieve maximum gloss
Invest in a good car polish to clear small imperfections on the surface. Minor scratch and etch can be repaired using a compound. It is easily applied by hand, using an applicator pad or a dual action polisher. Wipe away soon after applying. It may sometimes need more than three applications. You can increase the speed and let the polisher do the work. Try not to skip this step if you want maximum gloss after waxing.
11. Wax to safeguard
Unlike polishing, compared to applying lotion to your skin, waxing acts like sunscreen. It adds extra gloss and safeguards the finish from harmful Ultra-violet rays as well as an element that may embed on the paint. Polymer waxes give better results. Although it is quite expensive than other synthetics, it doesn’t haze as it dries and it’s easier to apply. Be confident to get a mirror-like finish.
12. Organize your car
Your car is almost ready but you need to incorporate some few things just to maintain and ensure the car is not extremely dirty the next time you clean it. Get organized by keeping all your critical car documents in an organizer which you can purchase in Amazon.
13. Take extra measures
Box up all essential items in your boot so that they don’t keep on rolling around noisily at the car back. This includes the leather cleaning kit, washer fluid, and jumper cables, among other things. Cover the back seats with pet hammocks if you are a pet lover to always avoid dirty seats. You can also improvise an in-car trash can especially useful if you have kids or during long distance drives. Place silicon muffin at the bottom of each cup holder. If they get dirty, dispose and replace with new ones. Finally, invest in quality car air fresheners to maintain that fresh fragrance.
14. Extra tips to maintain your car
How simple was that? Compared to that carwash, you will realize that DIY makes you understand your car more. With time you will be used to these steps and it will only seem like doing your own laundry. Cleaning the car yourself will give you a sense of belonging. Long will be the days when your car came back with stains, scratches or with a dull surface after spending your dollars. Lastly, you will need to avoid air-drying, always watch the heat. Cleaning the engine is a tricky venture; therefore, it is advisable to always visit your trusted car dealer. Service your car regularly to keep it in good condition.