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9 Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your Car

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When you think of “spring cleaning,” you probably focus on sprucing up your living space at home and work space in the office, but no doubt you spend a lot of time in the car too. Thus, this spring season, make sure you spring clean your car and prepare it for warm weather by following these crucial car-cleaning tips.

Some of the things on this list will be similar to what you did to prepare your car for winter, so how much spring cleaning you have to do now will depend on how much elbow grease you put into sprucing up your car four months ago.

In addition to these spring cleaning practices, we recommend taking your vehicle to a shop for an oil change, air condition test, and general inspection before taking your summer road trips.


Two Birds with One Stone: How spring cleaning your car can help increase its trade-in value


Don’t Neglect These 9 Crucial Car-Cleaning Practices

 

messy car clutter junk piles

Photo: eflon via CC

9. Toss the Junk

We’d venture an assumption that you went into hibernation mode when the weather got cold and thus filled your car with drink bottles, fast food wrappers, and crumpled napkins. Grab a plastic grocery bag and fill it with all the junk that’s lying around in your car–in the door crevices, arm rest, seat pockets, trunk, and floor. Don’t neglect the tiny items too, like chewing gum wrappers!

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man washing cleaning car interior wiping leather seats

8. Clean the Upholstery

Now that you’ve uncovered your seats and floor, they’re probably covered in crumbs, dirt, and fur. Vacuum every nook and cranny inside the cabin, then wipe the surfaces down with a microfiber cloth–including the ceiling! If you see stains or caked-on filth, scrub the areas with a brush; let it dry by leaving the doors open and blowing a fan over it. If you have leather seats, use a protective solution to rejuvenate the material.

While you’re at it, dust off the dashboard and displays so you can see and breathe better. Pet-proof your car for spring by following this handy guide.

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7. Wash the Exterior

Your car’s exterior has been doused in road salt and dirty slush for months; you need to rinse that off or else it will lead a deteriorating finish and rust. Use a hose and soft brush to cleanse the outer surfaces, especially around the rocker panels and underneath, where it’s closest to the pavement and hidden from the rain. Pay attention to the hubcaps and wheel wells, which can be just as filthy. Use a squeegee to remove water from the surface of the car once you’re done rinsing it. For more advice, follow this step-by-step guide.

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how to remove bugs on car bumper

This will be a mess to clean…
Photo: Florida Fish & Wildlife via CC

6. Brighten the Headlights

Headlights are vital to seeing–and being seen–on the road; the glass on car’s headlights can easily grow hazy with filth. Scrub off the dirt and bugs until you can see through the glass clearly again. If you’re not sure how to do that, we’re glad to give you some easy instructions!

Take a minute to make sure all your bulbs–headlights, hazards, and turn signals–are still working, and replace any broken bulbs.

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Windshield Wiper Instructions

Click here for a useful video on how to change your car’s wipers!

5. Replace the Wiper Blades

With April showers on their way, you’re in for some heavy showers. Make sure you’re prepared to see through your windshield by replacing your old wiper blades (which should be changed every six months) with ones designed to handle heavy rainfall (like these ones). If you recently replaced the wipers already, just take some rubbing alcohol and clean off any grime so streaks aren’t left.

Spray some Rain-X on your windshield to make extra sure that rain won’t be a problem this spring.

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New tires

4. Swap Out the Tires

You probably equipped your vehicle with heavy-duty winter tires designed for extreme cold. Such tires aren’t meant for year-round driving, particularly in the rain and heat, so take those winter tires back off and put back on the all-season set. If you need assistance doing this, take your car into a service garage where a tire change will take only a couple minutes.

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Car Battery Maintenance

3. Tidy Up Under the Hood

You’d be surprised how many autumn leaves and clods of dirt can collect in your car’s engine. Clean out whatever debris you see and wipe up any messes; wipe with a wet rage if necessary but be careful not to douse the engine in water.  Look for corrosion on the battery and scrub the nodes with baking soda to remove any oxidation (click for more info on car battery maintenance).

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It doesn’t hurt to put a new air freshener up!

2. Dust the Vents

Breathing is important when you’re riding in the car, especially if you have allergies. The air vents can collect lots of floating dust over the winter, so take a foam brush and wipe between the grating. You can also spray a can of compressed air into the vent to loosen things up, then use a vacuum cleaner hose to suck all that out.

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The 2016 Buick Verano features color-keyed carpet and mats.

1. Scrub the Mats

The car’s floor mats are most likely the worst part of your car, after months of tracking in winter salt, mud, slush, and debris from your boots. Remove the mats and shake them out, then give them a solid scrubbing–especially if they’re carpeted mats. Power washers are best for cleaning those puppies out–don’t worry, they can handle the force. It’s important to be thorough about cleaning these since there’s a high chance of mold developing on them.

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Sources: Tip Hero, Road Loans