As warm weather begins to take the sting from winter driving and cruising with the windows down becomes more desirable, you might begin to notice just how much dirt and crud collect in your vehicle. Just as you do with your home, a good spring cleaning for your car can help you enjoy driving it more, keep it in better condition, and even extend its useful life, saving you money over buying a new vehicle.
A high-quality detail from a reputable auto body shop or a professional detailer can run as high as $200 and even more depending on what services are being performed. If your time is already squeezed tight as it is, this may be a good option for you, as a home detailing in your driveway can take eight hours or more out of your Saturday afternoon.
Professional detailers generally work on a car from the inside out. For your car, begin by pitching all the trash and using a stiff-bristled plastic brush to work all the grit and sand out of the car’s carpet. You’ll notice it flying up all over as you scrub the carpet, but now isn’t the time to break out the steam cleaner. You don’t want that dirt wet just yet. Instead, use a dry vacuum to remove as much debris as possible. Once it’s gone, go ahead and use a carpet cleaner to remove any stains or discoloration.
Clean off all the plastic surfaces with a damp rag, and you’ll notice just how much dust collects in your car when the windows are up all the time. If it hasn’t been changed in a while, excessive dust could indicate that your cabin air filter may need to be changed. Use a household dusting rag to remove the dust, and then use a silicone-based protectant on all surfaces except leather. For leather, use a specialty leather cleaner. This type of chemical doesn’t just clean the surface. It also moisturizes the leather to prevent it from drying out and becoming brittle.
Use an odor freshener directly on the vehicle’s carpet, and then use the scented magazine ads for cologne or perfume stuffed under the seats. They’ll keep the interior smelling good and last for, on average, about two weeks.
The last step to getting your interior in shape is to clean the inside of the windows. Use plain glass cleaner and paper towels, and you’ll be surprised how much dirt and debris comes off. Smokers, in particular, will find that once the haze is removed from the windows, both day and nighttime visibility will be greatly improved. Few people enjoy spending time detailing the interior of their car during the winter, but once you do, it can make an old car feel brand new again.