Overlooked Maintenance: Car Cleanliness
As a dad, you know it's pretty challenging to keep anything clean around small children, including your car! However, car cleanliness is a factor in keeping your vehicle well-maintained, which impacts the life of the car and can have a financial impact to your family in terms of resale value. So, dads, get out the sponges, wax, vacuum, and cleaning products and follow these expert tips on keeping your car looking brand new! Give your kids a sponge and get them involved, too!
- The Exterior: Not only will it preserve your car’s finish for years, but also this simple act can add value to your vehicle. Let's see how and why. First, dirt is the enemy of your car’s finish. Dirt passing over your car when you are driving or blown by the wind acts like sandpaper. Over time, the protective finish (the clear coat) begins to be stripped away and, as a result, the paint no longer has its rich luster and looks tired and old.
- Do it yourself: Wash your car with clean water, use soap made for automobiles, dry with clean cloths, and wax every other time you wash. If you are short on time, then go to the carwash and don’t be cheap. Spring for the best wash and wax and do it at least twice a month (more in the wintertime due to road treatments like salt and other exterior damaging compounds.)
- The Interior: It’s pretty much the same thing as the exterior only different. Here’s why: You have our old friend dirt, plus oil and food, and before you know it: a cruddy car. Let’s start with oil from our hands, our food, even our lotions. All that oil transfers onto the surfaces we touch, the armrest, the seat, the seatback, the dashboard, the door panel and door handles. The oil attracts dirt and dust, which can make dark spots where we made contact. Now multiply by that every time you touch something. In no time your beautiful and cozy environment is looking old, worn, and dirty.
Now add the sun with its UV rays and everything that doesn’t have oil on it becomes “washed out” from the sun’s rays. (Remember, the interior of your car can reach temperatures higher than 120 degrees sitting in direct sunlight.)
Moving on, food spills and debris not only stain your car's interior, but they can create mold and other organisms that not only smell bad, but also can make you sick. High temperatures from the sun add to this process – definitely not good if you have small children.
- Recommendation: There are a number of cleaning and conditioning products available for both cloth and leather. Also, vacuum your carpets as often as you wash your car, more if you have kids. Clean and condition all other surfaces two or three times a year, more if needed.
- What does it all mean? A clean ride can earn you top dollar when you go to sell or trade in your car. A well-maintained car shows potential buyers you really cared for your car - and that adds an implied value of the asking price and increasing your odds of getting it.
One last thing you may not appreciate now, but in the fullness of time you will. During these tough economic times, we’re forced to hold onto our cars longer than planned. So doesn’t it make sense that we take care of our cars now and, in doing so, we take care of our families too?
How neat would it be when you’re pumping gas and the guy next to you asks:
Him: “Nice car- what year is it?”
You: “Oh it’s ten years old.”
Him: “Wow! That thing looks new! You must hardly drive it.”
You: “No, I drive everyday - she has over 150K on her.”
Him: “Wow! You really know how to take of her.”
You: “Thanks man, you have a nice day!”
[As you slide into the driver’s seat and drive off, you smile to yourself for a job well done.]
True story it happens to me all the time - and that, my friend, is the pride of ownership.
Many thanks to Bryan Steward, Automotive Solutions Specialist of BrocSport Engineering, for sharing the expert advice above. Contact Bryan at BryanS@brocsport.com.