Car spring clean: six things you should know

Car spring clean

Easter weekend is a good opportunity to give your car some post-winter TLC (Picture © Autoglym)

Spring has sprung and the Easter weekend presents the ideal opportunity to work off some chocolate by doing a car spring clean. Now’s a good time to do it because winter equals salt on the road, which means the car’s bodywork will have been drenched with corrosive liquid for months on end.

Not only does giving it a good clean enable you to spruce up the bodywork, it also means you’ll be up close and personal with your car and able to check for any other wear and tear. As well as regular maintenance such as checking the fluids, here are six top tips for a car spring clean that your motor will really thank you for. 

Car spring clean: Get the inside out

One survey revealed that 50 per cent of cars are only cleaned inside once a year so give yours a treat. First of all empty the car entirely. This will allow you to bin all the rubbish and put away the winter kit such as collapsible shovels that hopefully you won’t need any more. Take out the mats as well. You can thoroughly clean these using a shampoo and hosepipe away from the car. Then hang them up to dry.

Car spring clean: start at the top

Cleaning product supplier Autoglym recommends using the soft brush vacuum cleaner attachment for the dash and vents. Turn the ventilation system’s fan on full when you’re cleaning vents to blow any dust out. As with all cleaning, start at the top and work down. Take a moist cloth and wipe the flat surfaces that attract dust. Pay attention to switches as these attract a lot of dirt. Be careful you don’t use an overly damp cloth on them: you don’t want moisture getting into any electrics. A soft, dry tooth brush is good for getting in around the edge of switches. Then give the carpets a good vacuum.

Car spring clean: bodywork

First of all rinse off the bodywork. The mud and grit attached to it will be highly abrasive so you want to use your hose pipe’s most powerful setting to blast it off. In this instance start at the bottom and work up. Next, fill two buckets with luke-warm water, get a sponge and good quality car shampoo. Put the recommended amount of shampoo in one bucket and starting from the top and working down, wash one side of the car. Use the second bucket to rinse your sponge. That way you shouldn’t be rubbing tiny bits of grit into the paintwork while shampooing.

Car spring clean: drying time

Before the shampoo has had time to dry, use the hose pipe to rinse the car. Again, work from the top down. If you don’t want the car to end up looking streaky, you need to dry it. A chamois leather was the traditional way of doing this. However, there are synthetic alternatives that claim to be as, if not more, effective.

Car spring clean: remember the door shuts

Mud and road grime gets into the door shuts (the area of bodywork exposed when the doors are opened). If you can regulate your hose pipe’s flow, use a concentrated jet but not so powerful that it splashes the interior. Alternatively, use a sponge with the car shampoo and working from the top down, wash off all the grime. The result will give you a new-car look and stop people getting dirty when they get in the car.

Car spring clean: wheely clean

A limo driver’s secret for making their car look instantly clean is to give the wheels a good clean. These get covered in both road dirt and corrosive brake dust so it’s important to de-gunk them. Use a wheel cleaner which is designed to remove brake residue (check in the handbook whether any substances aren’t suitable for use with your wheels), then use a soft brush to get into all the nooks and crannies. Clean under the arches too, employing a stiff brush or spatula to get caked-on dirt off. Then use the hose pipe to rinse.

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