Basic maintenance: Interior and exterior car care (Pt. 1)

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Soviet Chaika car interior, specifically dash board, front seat and driver side front door. Re-upholstered at some point, but overall in original condition.

Cleaning your car should include interior car care. (Photo Credit: Public Domain/DL24/Wikipedia)

Basic maintenance of an automobile is something anyone can do. It’s not merely function, however. Form has a great deal to do with it. Here are some tips for keeping up with both exterior care care and interior car care so that the whole vehicle shines.

Basic maintenance tips – Interior car care

Borrowing from marketing consultant Simon Sinek’s concept of “The Golden Circle,” success in an endeavor is more likely to come when you work from the inside out. The same is true for interior car care; if what’s inside is a dirty ball of chaos, you’ll want to work on that, rather than raising up a nice outer façade to hide the inner turmoil.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 1 – Park in the shade

The sun’s ultraviolet rays and blistering heat are horrible for your upholstery, leather or otherwise. Cracking and fading will occur at a highly accelerated rate if you leave your car out in the sun all day. Go for an enclosed garage, carport or even a tree or car shade for the front window. Not only will you save the condition of your car’s interior and exterior, but you’ll keep it cool for when you return (and only when you and yours return – you shouldn’t be leaving pets or children alone in any car, hot or cold).

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 2 – Get in there with vac and sponge

Yes, your car is sponge-worthy. Every time you wash your car, the interior vacuum and sponge-down should be part of the basic maintenance and cleaning routine. A powerful corded or industrial tank vacuum (cordless motors aren’t powerful enough) is the tool for the job when dirt, grime and spilled liquids threaten the sanctity of your clean machine. Use a sponge dipped in water and mild detergent on vinyl surfaces, and to soak up leftover liquid spills.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 3 – Gauge your approach to gauges

The dashboard gauges tell you a lot about the inner workings and proper function of your vehicle. If you scratch the faces with an abrasive cleanser or cloth, you’re not only defacing your vehicle, you’re making it that much more unsafe to operate. If sunlight catches scratches just right, you can’t read a thing. With a soft, damp cloth, lightly wipe the dust off the clear plastic (if you’re 99 percent) or glass (1 percent) lenses.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 4 – A mat in winter

If you have any desire to maintain the floor carpeting in your vehicle, you’ll need good floor mats. The best type to buy, particularly if you live in an area susceptible to harsh winter weather, is heavy-duty rubber and plastic. Salt, slush, mud, leaves and more can be kept off the carpet. For cleaning the mats or sucking up the dust that does make it to your carpet and upholstery, fire up a powerful vacuum. Wash rubber and plastic mats with water by hand when needed.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 4 – Blast the heck out of those mats

Wait, did I say wipe the mats by hand and vacuum? You can do more, hose jockey. To get the toughest dirt out, blast those mats with a high-pressure hose. Before re-inserting them into the car, allow them to dry in the sun.

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Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 5 – Aid for carpet mats with nasty stains

Sometimes, carpet floor mats can become sullied by unspeakable stains. You don’t really want to know what they are, you just want to get rid of them immediately. When hose, vacuum and sponge aren’t enough, buy a foam rug cleaning solution. Scrub it around the affected area hard with a wet scrub brush, allow the area to dry, then vacuum the residue.

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Exterior car care – let’s have a visual–sjaj6bI



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