Basic maintenance: Interior and exterior car care (Pt. 2)

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Left front exterior view of a 1967 American Motors (AMC) automobile with side windows down. The Marlin is a two-door fastback (hardtop - no "B-pillar") and inished in white with red interior.

With some exterior car care, it'll keep that shine. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/CZmarlin/Wikipedia)

You care about the basic maintenance required to produce a happy vehicle. That maintenance applies to both interior car care and exterior car care. CLICK HERE if you missed the beginning of this article.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 6 – Be kind to rubber seals

Cleaning rubber weatherstripping around doors and windows should be part of your basic maintenance routine. But whatever you do, don’t use an oil-based product like WD-40, as this can promote cracking, which in turn defeats the purpose of the stripping and makes it look like a stinky, tattered black tar worm that chased Brer Rabbit through his worst fever dreams and came out the wrong end of the briar patch the worse for wear. Instead, use Armor-All or a similar rubber protectant – or even silicone – to maintain the rubber. You’ll preserve the look, maintain the insulation and even make the doors less likely to stick during cold weather.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 7 – Fixing the dead seals

If you find that the weatherstripping has already begun to leak, assess the damage. If the leaks are small, a brush-on seam sealer may be an option, used along with trim adhesive. Stick the damaged portion down and attempt to seal. However, if the damage is more extensive, try more potent caulking and foam rods, which are available at auto parts stores. The rods go directly into hollowed out areas of the weatherstripping. Just be sure to match the colors of what you already have.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 8 – Treat your leather right

Leather is a rather durable substance for car seats to be made from, and for the most part, such seats don’t require excessive maintenance. After a few years, soiling can become apparent. Fortunately, a common leather cleaner can work out most stains and grime. Leather protectant intended for top-coated grain leather can then be used to keep the leather supple.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 10 – Treat your upholstery right

If your car seats are deep on the shag, household upholstery cleaning foam can get out the dirt. Just don’t use too much, or the fabric will become saturated and discolored. Wipe away excess foam with a clean cloth, taking care to go with the grain to maintain a pleasing fabric texture.

Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 11 – Protect your sitting carpet

While you’re at it, go with Scotchguard on your clean upholstered car seats. After testing on an inconspicuous part of the seat for color fastness, treat the fabric as directed. This will help the upholstery resist all kinds of noxious dirt and stains.

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Interior car care basic maintenance tip No. 12 – Cover for the baby

Even in a relatively giant baby seat, your infant is going to spill liquids and spit up all over the place. It’s one of life’s rights of passage, and you can be prepared – at least when it comes to keeping up with the basic maintenance of interior car care. Do this by putting a towel under that baby seat to catch the overflow of human and food debris. Heavy plastic under the towel helps keep liquid from soaking through. Just make sure that you can still secure the child seat properly with all of that underneath.

Basic maintenance tips – Exterior car care

Continuing with the cleaning from the inside out philosophy, the exterior of your car is next, and it is important. If you show up to pick up your date in a car with caked on dirt, leaves, squished bugs and bird droppings, you will not make a good first impression. Scratching is also a bit unsightly. Deal with it all as part of your basic maintenance routine.

Exterior car care basic maintenance tip No. 1 – Once again, stay out of the sun

Your car’s paint job protects body panels against rust. UV rays cause paint to break down and fade over time, making it both less attractive and more likely to permit corrosion. Park in the shade or use a full car cover to protect your investment.

Exterior car care basic maintenance tip No. 2 – Get on the touch-ups

If you see nicks in the paint, don’t wait. Procrastination can lead to rust-related paint damage that’s expensive to repair. Even minor scratches in such areas as around door edges can become a problem if neglected.

CLICK HERE for more basic maintenance tips for your car, including maintaining the finish.



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