Five ways to give your car a makeover once spring arrives; from a thorough clean, polishing and waxing, cleaning the upholstery and basic body and paint repairs.
Five ways to rejuvenate your motor after the ravages of winter
Once the days lengthen and winter gives way to spring, it could be worth giving your car an interior and exterior refresh. From a basic clean up to paint and basic body repairs if required, there’s much you can do to cheer your car up.
It’s fair to say during the colder months car care may take the proverbial back seat; a quick visit to the local car wash is sometimes as much attention as our pride and joy receives. When spring arrives then it’s more appropriate to spend more time outdoors working on the car.
Here are five ways to improve your car’s appearance:
A quick wash down occasionally in winter is no substitute for a thorough clean, and this is the obvious starting point to cheering your car up for the spring.
If you have access to a pressure jet this is ideal for getting under the wheel arches and removing any caked on winter mud and washing away grit and salts used to keep the roads clear of ice.
Use a decent quality car shampoo to wash the exterior and the glass and rinse off throughly with a hose or plenty of buckets of clean warm water. A wash mitt is better than a sponge for washing, but check it’s clean and hasn’t got any grit in it as this can scratch paintwork and glass.
Use plenty of drying cloths - preferably micro fibre types - and use a fresh one on glass areas.
Polish and wax
Following on from cleaning above is polishing and waxing. Always clean the car directly before any polishing and waxing and do the following to deep clean and protect your bodywork:
- looking like a bar of soap, a clay bar is run over the bodywork to remove the ingrained dirt and debris that washing alone can’t shift. If you’ve had your car a while and it’s never had a clay bar treatment, or not for some time, this is well worth while.
- use a recommended polish and plenty of clean rags to apply it and buff the bodywork.
- choose a good quality wax and apply after polishing. Wax acts as a seal while polish actually removes a tiny micro layer of paint to do its work.
You may think undertaking all three of the above is overkill, but done properly this process should help your car last all through the spring, summer and maybe some of autumn. Ideally you’d repeat the process before winter next sets in.
Paint and body repairs
The winter may have taken its toll in terms of basic chips and dings on the bodywork. These days some of these can be repaired yourself if armed with a little knowledge, technique and appropriate materials and equipment from reputable sources and car paint suppliers
What you attempt yourself obviously depends on your level of skill and willingness to have a go, but there are many instructional articles
and videos online to show how to tackle repairs from basic stone chips to dents and deeper scratching.
If you doubt your ability or feel it’s beyond your scope, then either a mobile repairer or a body shop should be consulted.
Dirt and debris from outside during inclement winter weather and the ravages of use can leave your car’s interior looking pretty bedraggled once spring arrives.
- a thorough vacuuming is an obvious first step; remove the floor mats and ideally give them a good beating to get all dirt and dust out if they’re the carpet variety. Don’t forget hidden areas such as under seats and the boot area and vacuum the upholstery even if it looks clean - a decent vacuum cleaner will lift away particles buried in the fibres.
- clean the inside of the windows with a new microfibre cloth; the windscreen in particular can get dirty with repeated use of the blower for de-misting and de-icing during the winter.
A window cleaning fluid can be used but don’t overdo it and ensure it’s appropriate for car use - a household cleaner may streak or smear. You may find a trace of water and a clean cloth is all you need to do the job.
- along with vacuuming, you may need to remove stains. Water and a clean cloth may suffice but don’t use too much water; simply dampening the cloth should do.
Deeper and more stubborn stains may require something stronger; a decent spot cleaner could do the job but follow the instructions carefully. If you’re in any doubt it may be better to ask a car valeter to do this for you rather than risk ruining your upholstery.
Similarly, leather upholstery requires care if cleaning beyond simply vacuuming is required. Be sure of what you’re doing and ask for professional valeting help if not.
It’s amazing the impact clean wheels in good condition have on your car especially if they’re alloy.
During the winter they may have only had a quick clean on occasion so may need a bit more attention to look their best. Brake dust and difficult to access muck are the main culprits; at the very least use a special alloy wheel cleaning brush to get into the nooks and crannies in conjunction with an alloy wheel cleaning solution.
If your wheels are too dirty to tackle yourself, then valeting may be required.
To complete the wheel cleaning, use a tyre dressing to blacken the tyre walls but don’t overdo it as this can look a bit tacky if your tyres are ‘too slick.’
Enjoy a clean car
It may be psychological, but often a clean car seems to drive better. It’s certainly a more pleasant place to spend time if you take the steps necessary to give you car a makeover, and having those annoying chips and dings repaired really rejuvenates a car.