Why should you plan to spring clean your car? To maintain or increase its performance, its fuel economy, reduce its emissions, and assure its longevity. Here is a checklist to help you get it done.
- If you’re using your car for storage – if you have clothing, boots, half-empty bottles of motor oil or transmission fluid, a waste bag that is overflowing, books, old mail, pillows and the like riding around in the backseat or the trunk – you’re adding weight. Extra weight affects your fuel economy and therefore your emissions. It’s time to move your unnecessary stuff out of the car and either into your home, donate it to the thrift store, or deep-six it at the dumpster.
- Strap on a dust mask (if you have allergies), grab a clean microfiber cloth and wipe all the interior surfaces – dashboard, seat covers, door covers, armrests, windshield, and windows. Use a cotton swab to get into the nooks and crannies. When those surfaces have been wiped clean, it’s time to vacuum the insides thoroughly, including the carpet. Once the vacuuming is complete, you can give the vinyl and/or leather surfaces a going-over with Wizard’s Leather Plus. It’s great for protecting surfaces and getting longer wear out of seat covers and dashboards (as well as useful on furniture, luggage, and apparel).
- Get the gunky film off the windshield and window interiors. That film can cause nighttime glare and is especially dangerous when it’s pouring down rain. Use a streak-free glass cleaner otherwise the streaks you create can annoy you come dark.
- Now for the outside “bath.” Start at the automatic car wash and make sure you get the package that sprays the undercarriage. Just don’t get the wax finish if you plan to detail the exterior back home. Car washes can leave a fine film on the exterior, especially leaving brake dust on the wheels and tires. We recommend Wizard’s Detailing Kit for DIY detailing or get the individual solutions you need most: Wizard’s Bug Release (excellent if you’re on the road a lot after dark); Crud Release for the wheels, rocker panels, and vinyl trim (but avoid chrome finishes); a gallon of concentrated Wash for a super clean exterior; and any of Wizard’s waxes or sealants such as Supreme Seal or Shine Master and the Mist and Shine professional detailing liquid.
- Under the hood, a simple tune-up is in order. Start the year off right with new plugs, plug wires, air filter, oil change, and if your car has around 80 thousand miles, a transmission flush may be just what the doctor ordered. Top off the coolant and windshield washer fluid then make sure the pressure in the tires is spot-on. If you didn’t have the radiator flushed in the fall, make time and plan to have that done as soon as possible. You don’t want it to overheat when temperatures rise.