Get your car road trip ready!
Whether you’re about to set off on a road trip, or just coming back from one, we have some great tips and tricks to keep your car spic and span so you can drive comfortably this summer.
There are many reasons for cleaning your car, and it’s not just so it looks good. A clean car can reduce distractions when driving, ease wear and tear on the car’s interior and exterior, prevent corrosion and rust, remove allergens from the ventilation system and boost its resale value.
With this in mind, it’s time to roll up those sleeves, put on some sun cream, and get those buckets filled.
Starting on the inside
Let’s start the clean up by removing all unnecessary items from your car!
Remove all rubbish, any spare jackets, hats, children’s toys, empty lunch boxes, etc. Ditch the air freshener hanging off the rear view mirror, and empty all the door pockets. Visual clutter, especially on the dashboard, can diminish your focus and may cause distractions while driving.
If you have children, one of the best ways to keep your car organised is to hang a shoe organiser over the backs of the front seats. Keep sun cream, drink bottles, toys, sunglasses, first aid kits, or dog leads all neat and tidy; and off the car floor and seats.
Next you should hoover your car. It’s important to do this before you clean hard surfaces - as hoovering can kick up dust.
If you have a dry carpet shampoo, sprinkle it over the floor, cloth seats and boot. If you don’t have a specialist product just use baking soda. If your car is really filthy, take a dry brush and rub the powder into the surfaces. Leave it to sit for a few minutes, then hoover it off.
Washing your car can be very therapeutic but to make sure you leave it in better condition than it was to start with, there are a few things you need to do.
Before you wash the car, make sure all of your cleaning accessories are free from dirt. If you don’t have access to a power washer at home, ensure that your bucket is sparkling and that any sponges and cloths are also clean.
It really is worthwhile using a specialist shampoo. Avoid using washing up liquid as this can sometimes remove protective waxes on the car and leave a residue on the paint.
The first step is to rinse the car with water to wash away debris. You can throw buckets of warm water over the car or use a hose if you have one. The reason for rinsing the car first is to remove surface dirt, as you don’t want to be rubbing in the dirt as this will scratch the paintwork.
Wash the car from the top down. The lower parts of the car are the dirtiest and you don’t want to be washing these parts first as you could transfer dirt upwards, again, increasing the risk of damaging the paintwork. Ideally, wash the entire car once to get the heavy dirt off it before then going at it properly.
You should always dunk your sponge into the plain water to remove grit before putting it into the soapy water. The key to a good home car wash is to use loads and loads of fresh clean water. The aim is to wash your car without transferring any dirt on to it as the dirt will scratch the paint work.
When the car is sparkling rinse again with the hose. Then dry off with a micro-fibre cloth.
Don't forget your wheels!
There are numerous dedicated wheel cleaning products on the market to help get rid of that brown/black brake dust that can build up on wheels. These can be quite acidic so it’s best to wear gloves when using them. Alternatively, you can also use the same baking soda paste that you used on your car seats to get your wheels clean. Just take a damp cloth and rub the paste all over your rims, then rinse off with warm water. Watch as the dirt and grime disappear.
You can also give the tyres some added protecting by applying a tyre cleaner and coating. Using a product with UV protection will help to slow down the deterioration of the rubber.
Of course, you can just leave the car with the professionals and get a full exterior detailing and interior valet. This will save you time but will cost you more than buying a cleaning kit and doing the job yourself.
And there is something to be said in the pleasure gained from getting your hands dirty to clean your car and admiring your hard work when you are done.
When all that’s done, you can kick up your feet and relax in the summer sun, or get you summer playlist ready so you can hit the road again!
Information correct as of date of publishing. This blog will not be updated or edited so the information may become outdated.