Spring is a great time to clean and maintain your car. Follow these tips to make sure your car stands out in the warm, sunny weather.
• Take out any unnecessary items. Weight can affect the condition of your car, as well as your mileage over time.
• Clean the plastic surfaces with a mild spray and cloth and vacuum the remaining surfaces. For leather surfaces, use a leather cleaner.
• It is important to give your vehicle a good hand wash a couple of times a year. Make sure that your car is not in direct sunlight when washing. Use soap specifically for cars, and a hose with a mist-spray nozzle. Wash the fender and bumper areas last. Always blast the underside of the car with the hose to remove buildup. Dry the vehicle with a drying cloth instead of letting it air dry.
• Once your vehicle has been cleaned, look for chips, scratches, and rust. Repair any abrasions with a touch-up kit.
• Wax your car if you want it to shine. According to Consumer Reports, “Paste waxes are easier to use than liquid waxes; liquid waxes cleaned the best; and spray waxes were easiest to use and left the fewest stains on plastic parts, but they didn’t last as long as other waxes.”
• Windshield wipers – Check your wipers; if they leave streaks or miss areas, it’s time for new ones. Most blades typically last 6 months, but you can extend the life by wiping them with cloth and glass cleaner.
• Tires – Check the tread on your tires and make sure they are properly inflated.
• Under the hood – Clean engine parts carefully with soap and water, being careful around electrical connections. If you find encrustation on the battery, clean it with water and baking soda.
• Headlights – At around the five-year mark, many headlights become ineffective due to cloudy or yellow lenses. This can be dangerous and should be addressed. Headlight restoration kits can be found at hardware stores for less than $20.
• Locks and hinges – Use lubricant on your locks and hinges. Check your owner’s manual, as some recommend graphite lubricant on your locks.
If you don’t have time to perform these tasks at once, try this checklist from OnStar that breaks jobs into small 10-minute-or-less increments.