With spring comes sunshine and warmer weather, and a perfect opportunity to clean your vehicle.
The first thing anyone in snowy regions should think about is getting the salt of synthetic deicer off their cars. Whether they’re from a street or a driveway, these materials eat away at a car’s paint, body, frame, brake lines and other items — especially those underneath the vehicle.
That’s why you should take your vehicle to either a detailer like Ming Shine or a full-service car wash and pay for the package that includes the undercarriage wash.
Start on the Exterior
It might seem tempting to start by cleaning the interior, since it’s always warm and cozy inside. But doing so will inevitably leave muddy shoe prints or drips on that beautifully-cleaned interior. Instead, start on the outside of the vehicle.
Rinse away contaminants
It’s absolutely critical to remove any dirt, salt and other potential contaminants from the paint surface before washing the car. Give the car a good rinsing with water from a hose or pressure washer. Be sure to rinse the body panels, the glass, the wheels and wheel wells. Hold off on the soap at first because it can hide mud and dirt underneath. Here you can find out how to wash properly wash your vehicle.
Wash the exterior
After the rinse, give the car a good, soapy wash. Use the car wash mitt in circular motions to work soap over the entire vehicle, working panel-by-panel to ensure that you don’t miss anything, Once the vehicle is clean, rinse it again from the top down.
Pro tip: Use a different sponge or mitt for wheels and tires than the one for the vehicle body. Wheels are filthy and contain tons of small particles that can embed themselves in a mitt and etch clearcoat.
Dry it by hand
Don’t let the vehicle air dry. Even in the most idyllic conditions, that will lead to water spots and a dull paint finish, since the dust in the air will collect on even the slightest moisture. Instead, dry the body from the top down with a microfibre cloth. Again, use a different cloth for the wheels.
Don’t forget the wax and tire shine
Work in small sections at a time, like a fender or trunk lid. Apply the wax in circular motions. Allow it to come to a haze, then buff it off with a clean microfiber cloth. Also, make sure to wipe the tire sidewalls or spray them with a tire shine to really boost the car’s look.
Move To the Interior
Once the exterior is clean and shiny, it’s time to clean the interior.
First, remove everything from the car, including items in the cabin, glove boxes and trunk. This not only gets everything out of the way, but lets you take inventory of what’s necessary to carry and what isn’t.
Wipe the dashboard and door panels
Start by wiping down the dashboard, instrument panel, center console and door panels with an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. These collect a lot of dust, so it’s best to wipe them and disturb that dust before vacuuming.
Brush and vacuum together
With the loose dust out of the way, it’s time to vacuum the rest of the interior.
Use a soft, fine-bristled brush to remove any dust from the vents, seat cushions, door pockets and similar spaces, vacuuming the particles in the process.
Grab a stiffer brush to loosen the dirt and grime packed into the carpets and mats before vacuuming these surfaces. Make sure to vacuum the cupholders and headliner, as well.
Condition the leather
Wipe down the leather seats, steering wheel and shifter boot with a leather conditioner and microfiber cloth. This cleans the leather and helps prevent it from drying out and cracking. Applying a cleaner not meant for leather can dry it out faster.
Use a glass cleaner for vehicles
Before applying the cleaner, wipe down the interior windows with a microfiber cloth. Starting at the top, wipe downward before repeating.
Standard glass cleaners contain ammonia, which can leave streaks or affect window tints. Instead, pair a glass cleaner formulated for vehicles with a microfiber cloth for the best results. Spray a few squirts onto the cloth and wipe the window, starting at the top and working downward in small, circular motions. Then wipe the glass dry with a different clean microfiber cloth.
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