There are some things we all remember to do for our car: changing the oil, airing up the tires, washing the windshield. But other things are easy to let fall by the wayside. Neglecting or forgetting car care can lower your car’s value and cause costly damage. In this article, we walk you through ten interior and exterior car care practices that you might be forgetting!
Remove and Clean Car Floor Mats
Floor mats protect your car’s floor from spills, mud, or other things that might ruin them. And as helpful as they may be, dirt, food, pet hair, and other trash can still find its way underneath the mats. Every couple of weeks or so, remove and clean your car’s floor mats to keep your car in top shape.
To ensure your floors stay in great shape, pull out your floor mats and shake out as much dirt as possible. Vacuum both your mats and your car’s floor. You can then scrub the mats with a special automotive interior soap. Rinse them clean and allow them to air dry completely before reinstalling them.
Rotating your tires typically involves moving your front tires to the back and your back tires to the front of your vehicle. Unfortunately, many car owners neglect tire rotation which can be detrimental to both the tires and the car.
The experts recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. This keeps the tire’s wear even and helps your car drive more smoothly. An easy rule of thumb is asking your mechanic to rotate your tires at every other oil change.
Replace Engine Air Filter
Your air filter prevents dust, dirt, and anything else from getting into your engine. But like air filters in your home, you need to regularly change your car’s air filters. Over time, they get clogged, and a clogged air filter can impact your engine’s efficiency and performance.
Different makes and models require filter changes at varying intervals. A good rule of thumb is to change it every 30,000 miles or every three years. This keeps your engine from taking in dirt and debris and helps it run smoothly.
Regularly Wash Your Car
You can add years to the life of your car’s exterior simply by washing it regularly. Your car drives through all kinds of grime: mud, dirt, and even tar and road salts. If you don’t routinely wash these elements from your car, over time, they can wreak havoc on your car’s paint job.
Regularly washing your car improves its resale value as it prevents rusting, dulling, and even scratches. A bi-weekly car wash keeps your car looking great and staves off damage that results from an irregular wash routine.
Wax Your Car
A regular waxing schedule can preserve your car’s paint job for decades. When you properly wax your vehicle, you protect its topcoat which serves as a barrier between the outside world and the base paint layer. If your clear coat wears away, the paint can fade, become discolored, or even rust. But applying wax keeps that topcoat in pristine condition. This not only protects your car from damage, but it also preserves that “new car” shine we all love.
There’s no set schedule for waxing your car. You can wax as often as every two months or as little as twice a year. Regardless how often you choose to wax your car, remember to always wash your car beforehand. This removes dirt and grime that might damage your car’s topcoat during the wax application.
Don’t Forget the Trunk
It’s easy to forget trunk cleaning and maintenance: out of sight, out of mind. But just like the rest of your car’s interior, the trunk needs regular cleaning too. Every time you vacuum your car’s cabin, take care of the trunk. It’s likely housing a ton of leaves, crumbs, and dirt that you can easily vacuum away in just minutes.
Use Cleaning Products Designed for Cars
When you wash your car, do you reach under the sink for the dish soap? We’ve all been guilty of this at some point, but if you want to give your car the best clean, put the dish soap back in the kitchen! Washing your car with cleaning products designed for automotive use will give you the best results and the deepest clean.
Car shampoos typically have lubricants to reduce scratching. Their formulas have enough power to cut through grime but are gentle enough to preserve your wax and paint sealants. Your car will look better and the clear coat will last longer if you use an automotive shampoo to clean your car.
Disinfect Your Steering Wheel
Your steering wheel houses a ton of bacteria. In fact, CBS reports that a typical steering wheel has nine times as many germs as a public toilet seat. Gross.
Thankfully, killing these germs is easy: use a disinfectant. Disinfecting wipes or sprays will do the job just fine. Keeping a container of disinfecting cloths in your car makes this part of car care simple and convenient. A few times a week, wipe down your steering wheel and gear shift. This takes just seconds and will give you peace of mind that your steering wheel is clean and germ-free!
Your car’s cupholders carry more than just your morning coffee. Have you looked inside them recently? Unfortunately, car cupholders serve as the catch-all for spilled liquids, food crumbs, dirt, and other debris that you don’t want sitting around in your car.
Thankfully, cleaning cupholders is simple. Using a wet cloth, soak your cupholders to loosen stuck-on residue. Wipe them down, and once they’re dry, insert a liner or cup holder protector to prevent future messes. Regular cleaning of your cupholders ensures they stay clean and don’t leave a sticky residue on your cups’ bottoms!
Wipe Down Your Dashboard
The dashboard might be one of the most neglected areas of your car even though you see it every time you get in! It doesn’t take long for dust, dirt, or even coffee splashes to leave a mess on your car’s dashboard. With regular simple cleaning, your dashboard can look great all year long.
Using a clean cloth, wipe down your dashboard with an automotive interior cleaner. Using a product designed specifically for a car’s interior ensures you won’t strip the dash. Most of these special cleaners have a conditioning element that leaves your dashboard polished.
ConclusionAs a car owner, you know it takes a lot to keep your car looking and running as it should. Hopefully our list of interior and exterior car care tips helps you take care of your vehicle so you can drive it for years to come!
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