You might be in the mood for spring cleaning your home, but this year, consider extending that effort to your car as well. Keeping your car clean and well maintained can not only improve its longevity but might actually increase its value.
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What the numbers show
A survey of over 1,000 UK drivers found that most Brits aren’t being as careful with their cars as they should be, according to Moneyshake.
In fact, 25% of those surveyed admitted to almost never cleaning or checking their car and 18% believe that cleaning their cars once or twice a year is more than enough.
Almost a third of drivers (30%) wash their cars every two months, which is considered too infrequent and not ideal for the ‘health’ of your vehicle. “Every two to three weeks is much safer for the vehicle’s paintwork and outer mechanisms,” says Klavs Simkus, Founder and CEO of car inspection specialists CarExamer.
And to help you get started, Moneyshake has put together some tips to make the most of spring cleaning your vehicle.
1. Wash your car regularly
This is especially important in winter when the salt and slush can seriously damage the exterior of your vehicle. During winter, washing the undercarriage and bumpers is essential, as these are the areas most likely to corrode.
Simkus points out that it’s important to always wash your car after a motorway journey: “Especially in the middle of summer or winter, where things like insects and pollen may be problematic, or when grit or hail can cause issues.”
Make sure you add a wax polish a couple of times a year, before summer and winter kick in. A good layer of wax will help minimise damage to your car.
2. Give your engine a do-over
If there’s one thing most people ignore during their car spring cleaning it’s the engine. According to Moneyshake, once a year you should give your engine a thorough cleaning as well.
Using a bristle brush and some detergent is recommended for cleaning off grease and dirt. This makes it easier to spot leaks and can help the engine run cooler.
Just remember to cover sensitive components like the air intake with a plastic bag before getting to work.
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3. Keep your dashboard clean and shiny
A damp cloth is all you need to keep the dashboard, gauges and the inside of your doors looking like new. There are even special sprays you can use to add some shine and ‘new car smell’ when cleaning. Some sprays also help to protect the material, reducing cracks and discolouring.
Cleaning the dashboard regularly can prevent the glass from getting scratched by dirt and debris. It also allows for better vision when you’re driving and looking at the gauges.
4. Make sure door and window seals remain waterproof
Clean seals well so there’s no mud, mould or debris stuck that might damage the material. Then apply some protectant (but avoid oil-based products that can damage the rubber) to keep the weatherstrip in good condition.
5. Keep your upholstery in top shape with regular cleaning
Vinyl seats are the easiest to clean, as a sponge or wet cloth is enough to improve their look.
For leather seats, Moneyshake recommends using special leather sprays, as they not only clean and get rid of stains but also protect the leather from cracking.
Fabric seats might be the trickiest to clean, as stains can settle into the material rather quickly. Look for speciality products or try a carpet cleaning spray or solution to clean up the seats before stains have a chance to dry and settle.
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