Your family vehicle is one of the most expensive purchases you will make. It is also the vehicle that will receive the most miles and use from your family. Keeping the family vehicle clean may seem difficult, especially with small children aboard. However, by establishing effective cleaning routines, you not only keep your vehicle looking like new, but you extend its useful life.
Wash It Regularly
Get into the habit of washing your car regularly. Your car picks up a lot of dirt, grime, and debris while out on the road. During the winter months, the mixture of rock salt and ice can deteriorate your car. Washing your car will get rid of materials that could chip away the paint or cause parts to rust. When washing, it is important to avoid harsh soaps that can chip your paint. Always use a separate rag for cleaning the wheels to avoid rubbing additional dust onto your car’s surface. Protect your car from damage to its finish by washing your car once a week.
Clean the Inside
While washing the exterior of your car, it is important to make cleaning the inside another part of your routine. The interior of your car tracks in anything that was on shoes, clothing, fallen hair, and any number of other messes. Cleaning the inside frequently will protect the interior from foreign elements. Wiping the car free of dust and vacuuming once a week will go a long way keeping your car’s cabin clean. Be sure to avoid using harsh chemicals or cleaning products that are not specifically meant for each area of the car. This can cause more harm than good. Occasionally, you may need to have a professional detail your car with equipment that can reach the small spaces that are otherwise difficult to clean.
Avoid Messy Spills
Professional detailers all agree that eating and drinking in a car is a quick way to ruin the interior. Messy spills and crumbs attract pests and even rodents, the food particles also find a way to deteriorate your interior. To keep your car looking new, limit the food and drink consumed in your vehicle. If you can’t banish food entirely, try sticking to just water and foods that do not crumble or stick. This will prevent bad smells, sticky situations, and messy spills from damaging the interior of your vehicle.
Protecting Car Paint
Protecting your car’s paint starts with frequent washes and proper drying. However, to keep your car looking shiny and free from paint chips, there are paint protectant and sealing products available. Polishing with wax will act as a protective layer against UV rays, bird droppings, and bug splatters. Paint sealants have similar protective properties while producing a glassy look. Synthetic coating, also known as ceramic coating, is a liquid polymer that produces a brilliant shine and protects the paint. Ceramic coating is very durable and fulfills multiple purposes. You can prevent the need for waxing by applying the ceramic coating.
When Spills Happen
When a spill does happen, it is important to take care of it as soon as you can. For wet spills like coffee or soda, gently blot the area—don’t scrub—with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. Blotting the area will prevent the liquid from sinking deep into the upholstery. After you successfully blot the liquid, you can use a foaming carpet cleaner and again blot the area clean.
With dried stains, you should lightly dampen the area with water to break up the particles, then blot with carpet cleaner. In either situation, be sure to use paper towels to clean up excess moisture and cleaner, before you vacuum the spot dry.
Clean The Windows
A car’s windows need special treatment. Fingerprints and other cleaning chemicals will make your car’s windows dirty. Not to mention air pollution, and bugs on the windshield. When cleaning your car’s windows, it is important to avoid using household glass cleaning products. These products often contain ammonia which can cause streaks and fog the windows. Ammonia can also severely damage glass tinting. Instead, you should use an automotive glass cleaner and a microfiber towel. Your glass should be cleaned last to avoid other cleaning materials sticking on the glass. Make sure you clean both sides, the tops, and crevices of your windows to effectively achieve a clear view.
Keep Up with Maintenance
To keep your car looking new, you must also keep it running like new. Cars need regularly scheduled maintenance. Your car may run on dirty oil, but it becomes a question of how long and at what performance level. It is always cheaper to change the oil and filter than it is to replace an engine. Keep an eye on other fluid levels like transmission, brake, and coolant fluids. Creating a regular maintenance schedule will help you stay on top of car repairs and avoid costly fixes later down the road.
Clean Inside the Hood
When your car is running, it can get quite hot under your car’s hood. The engine, battery, and fluid components under your hood collect a lot of dirt and grime from the road. Keeping your car looking like new includes keeping the area under the hood clean. Using a gentle cleaner and cloth occasionally, will prevent grime buildup. You can also use air to blow dust and debris from hard-to-reach areas. It is also wise to lubricate the hood hinges and other hinges in your car from time to time. Cleaning inside the hood will not only keep your car looking new but will act as a preventative maintenance measure.
Ultimately, keeping your car in pristine condition starts with establishing cleaning habits. A cleaner car makes the time you spend inside much more enjoyable. A clean car also increases the resale value if you ever decide to upgrade. Spending a little time each week to wipe it down, vacuum it, and clear unnecessary items out, will go a long way in helping your family vehicle look like new.
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