Many drivers rarely give their car a second glance, but our motors do need a bit of TLC. So here are half a dozen ways you can clean and care for your car in the harsh winter weather
Think of them a bit like a faithful pet: the more you look after them, the more they’ll look after you. These six simple car care tips will keep your motor firing on all cylinders over the the coldest months of the year.
Clean and care for your car: Clear it out
A car that’s full of rubbish doesn’t just look, feel and generally smell unpleasant. It can be dangerous and cost you money. You don’t want that empty water bottle that you chucked in the back quietly working its way forwards and getting stuck beneath the brake pedal. And the more weight your car is carrying in the way of clutter – whether that’s a child’s pushchair or a couple of sets of golf clubs in the boot – the more fuel it’ll use.
Clean and care for your car: Clean it up
Giving your car a good wash is the best way to get to know it. By getting busy with the sponge, you’ll appreciate all the effort that’s gone into designing its curves and creases. And you’ll see what condition it’s really in. Is that scratch where you scraped it against a car park bollard going rusty? And how badly scuffed are those alloy wheels? They’re questions you can answer if you give your motor a bit of love and attention. It’s a good way of burning off that extra portion of mince pies too.
Clean and care for your car: Get SMART
Small and Medium Area Repair Technology, usually known as SMART repairs, are a way to repair all the cosmetic scrapes and scratches your car has acquired during its life. A lot of SMART repairers work out of vans so they’ll come to you. Many bring their own gazebos along so they can work on your drive or in a car park whatever the weather. For peace of mind, choose one who’s a member of an accredited body such as the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association. They’re skilled at matching up paint colours so by the time they finish you should never know the car was damaged in the first place. On top of that, having a SMART repair could pay for itself: should you sell the car, you’ll get more money for it.
Clean and care for your car: Wax on, wax off
Winter is tough on cars. On top of the usual road grime, itself exaggerated by bad weather, there’s extra salt on the road too. Once you’ve washed your car, why not wax it? And if you’re really keen, you could clay bar it before the waxing. This removes impurities from the paintwork and leaves the bodywork feeling and looking showroom smooth. Wax it and you’ll be surprised how bright and new your car looks. More importantly, that wax will help protect the paint against the worst winter can throw at it.
Clean and care for your car: Don’t forget the inside
It’s all very well cleaning up the bodywork but why not do the inside too? There is a wide range of products on the market dedicated to cleaning interiors. For cloth seats, best-selling weekly car magazine Auto Express recommends Comma Interior Cleaner . If you’ve got leather seats, you’ll be surprised at the effect dedicated leather cleaners and then leather food will have. Again, Auto Express recommends Wonder Wheels Leather Clean and Feed .
Clean and care for your car: Bring in the experts
If you’re still feeling lethargic from Christmas excess, call in a mobile valet service. Also known as ‘detailers’, you will be surprised by how they leave your car looking like new. Many go on training courses with experts from companies such as Autoglym and they have the products, equipment and knowhow to make even the shabbiest car sparkle.