The traditional spring clean may not be required this year due to our extended time at home. Many of us have been in the cycle of tidying, cleaning and decluttering to accommodate working from the spare room or home schooling on the kitchen table for the past 12 months. If the desire is still there though, you may want to turn your attention to your car.
Often forgotten in this annual clean-up and very much out of mind as we’ve spent less time motoring, your vehicle can conjure many lost toys, paperwork, drinks bottles and sweet wrappers without a regular clear out.
Here is our step by step guide to getting your motor back into tip top condition.
We may aim to remove all when we get home, but how many of us actually do it. So the first thing is to grab a plastic bag and remove all the clutter from the door panels, glove box and arm rests. Remember those pockets on the back of the front seats. If you’ve got kids they will hide a multitude of long lost stuff that you can use as bribes for weekly chores.
Don’t forget to clean out your boot too. Carrying excess loads that are not essential will affect the fuel economy of your vehicle, so only keep what you need to carry around.
A good wash
A bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge are often used, but even the best washing up liquids are not designed for this purpose and you run the risk of removing your car's protective wax. Dedicated car shampoos or car washes are milder and specifically designed for automotive paint. If your car is really dirty we would suggest using a pre-wash solution to remove the mud and grime or you will struggle to get that ‘new car’ finish.
Squeaky clean and streak free - the two bucket method
If you’ve ever let the kids wash the car you’ll know that having a streaky finish to your paintwork looks dreadful! To avoid this unforgiving look, the trick is to employ a two bucket technique, one filled with your car shampoo and the other with clean water. This way you can apply the soap solution and rinse in between.
As with the washing up (if anyone does that anymore!) start with the cleaner parts of your car first, starting at the top with the roof and working down to ground level. This will also avoid you spreading any remaining grime all over your paintwork.
If you want to go further you can get tyre shine and wheel cleaners, though a good power wash will usually get them back to their initial shine.
Wax, polish or both?
Car polish is used to remove defects from your paintwork, whilst car wax will create a protective layer or ‘coat’ which will give your car a perfect shine regardless of age. If you love your car, you will want to do both.
Vacuum, clean and you’re done
How much you need to do inside will depend on who is regularly in your car. A good vacuum of the car interior covering the floor, mats and seats with a wipe of the steering wheel, controls, air vents and other surfaces should be enough. There are some great upholstery and cleaning products out there if you need to go a little further and more if you want to clean your windscreen and windows.
After all this effort you will have a sparkling new car, with a ‘just off the forecourt’ look and feel. If you try to remove the clutter and wash regularly you should be able to last to next spring, before you do it all again.