Written by: New Angle Glass
Winter is probably the harshest season for cars, owing to salted roads, vicious temperature swings, potholes, ice, and neglect. Now that spring is here, it’s time to wipe away the grime and make your car look like new.
Clear Out The Trash
When you’re cleaning any car, much less a winter-weather-beaten one, start by removing all the junk you’ve been ignoring. Have a garbage bag and a “keep” box handy, because you’ll want to hang on to some of the stuff. Be thorough: Get under and beside the seats and in the trunk.
Vacuum the Inside
You’ll want to work from the top down, because gravity dictates that stuff stirred up works its way floorward. Also, yank out the salt-caked floor mats for a quick pass with the vacuum. Then use a house or shop vac and a rigid tool such as a screwdriver to work dirt out of the creases.
This step is optional but worth the satisfying results. Grab a spray bottle of automotive-upholstery-and-carpet cleaner and a heavy-duty scrub brush to clean the soft parts of the interior. Spray the seats or anything cloth- covered; scrub, then wipe down. Repeat at least one more time, moving to the carpet for the same job. Being thorough with the carpet is important, as it can act like a filthy, salty, wet rag that accelerates rusting. When you’re done, pull the drain plugs under the floor and let things air out for a few days. You’ll be amazed at how much better the car smells.
Power-Wash the Floor Mats
The floor mats are without question the parts of the interior that take winter abuse the hardest. If you’ve got all-rubber floor mats, they won’t take long to clean, but carpeted mats will likely take two passes with a power washer to get all the salt and dirt out. If you don’t have a power washer, use one at a self-service car wash. Let the mats dry thoroughly before putting them back into the car or you could be begging for mold growth in the carpet.
Swap Your Tires
If you live in far-north climates, it makes sense to own sets of summer and winter tires. Make sure to swap them out in a timely manner. Leaving winter tires on too long will result in excess wear, because they soften with warmer temperatures.
When cleaning out door and body drain holes, we’ve found that the best method is to repurpose a plug-installation tool used in tire repair. Cut up an old shop rag or sock and stick it into the slot of the tool just the way you would a tire plug. The setup makes dragging out dirt and plant matter very easy, and the fabric scrap is easily replaced when it gets grimy.Ditch Winter Windshield WipersWipers get beaten up pretty bad in the winter, and torn-up old wipers in a summer downpour will leave you blind.Lube the HingesHit each door, trunk, and hood hinge with white lithium grease to prevent squeaks and premature wear.Clean the Windows
Ever notice how your windows fog up really bad during damp spring weather? Part of that has to do with how dirty the inside of your windscreen is, but you can take steps to prevent this. First, wash your windows with a good car-window cleaner; the ammonia in household stuff will make the fogging worse. Fog has a harder time clinging to a clean surface, and you can go a step further by wiping down the interior of the glass with an antifogging agent.
Wash the Car
This seems obvious, but there are some subtleties. As with the interior, you want to clean the car from the top down, rinsing frequently. Don’t start at the rocker panels and move to the roof—it drags dirt around and scratches the clear coat. When the body is clean, spend a few dollars at your local automatic car wash and get the underbody flushed. This will dislodge the road salt that is doing its best to turn the unibody into Swiss cheese.
Replace the Cabin Air Filter
This filter keeps dirt, pollen, and plant matter from entering the ventilation system. It gets dirtiest during autumn, when falling leaves work their way into the cabin-intake system.
Don’t Forget the Trunk
Add a bag of sand, gravel, or kitty litter to the trunk as ballast to improve traction in slippery conditions and to have something to throw under the tires when the car’s stuck. But come spring, remove the bag and other winter gear to improve fuel economy and free up space.
Wipe Down the Entry
Scrub door sills to keep your pants clean, and dust off any nooks missed during a car wash. Rub door seals with mineral oil or use silicone spray to keep them supple.
And While You’re At It
Since you’re already poking around the car, take a few more minutes for regular upkeep.
☐ Inspect tread depth.
☐ Test your tire pressure—including the spare.
☐ Change the oil.
☐ Add washer fluid.
☐ Clean the wheels and tires.
☐ Dump a bottle of fuel-system cleaner into the gas tank.
If your windshield is cracked or damaged please call New Angle Glass right away to set up an appointment. We make it easy…. We deal with your insurance company and we can come to you! Call today 899-642-7373
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