After months of long nights, cold temperatures, and sometimes, hazardous road conditions, we finally have spring! This is when most Canadians breathe a sigh of relief and start planning more outdoor activities. It can also mean that you will spend more time on the road than you have in the last few months.
There's one crucial thing to remember: you’ve been driving around during the winter season and your car has the "scars" to show for it. Most people don’t find it practical to clean their vehicles during winter. The effort required to keep a car clean is often negated within minutes of hitting the salt, grime, mud, and dirt from the roads. But now that spring is here, we can think of a clean and shiny vehicle. This may be just the right time to do a good spring cleaning for your vehicle.
City Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GM has five tips you should be following if you want to show off your vehicle at its best now that it can take a shine and hold it.
1. Cleaning Your Tires
Your tires take more abuse than any other part of your car since they are, by design, making constant contact with the road. Regardless of whether the road is dry or wet, your tires have been cutting through dirt, mud, fighting against ice, and, of course for Toronto, accumulating salt from the roads and sidewalks.
If you use winter tires, now is the time to swap them out for your summer or all-season tires and give them a quick wash. However, if you haven’t switched to winter tires during the winter season, this means that your tires have gotten quite dirty, and they show it. There are a couple of things to consider here.
The first is that hosing down your tires, while it will do some cleaning, is not as effective as a dedicated tire cleaner, and these products do exist. Don’t buy a “tire shine” product that just applies a shiny layer of silicon on top of your tire; this can actually be quite damaging. Instead, use a tire cleaner to get rid of the “bloom,” which is the brownish stain that is the result of the antiozonant in the rubber naturally oxidizing due to use.
2. Desalt Your Undercarriage & Wheel Wells
One of the reasons that salt Toronto uses salt on its sidewalks and roads is because it’s corrosive and wears away ice even when the temperature is below freezing. Unfortunately, the corrosive properties of salt do not confine themselves to ice, so when you drive around the city, that salt in the melted ice water is splashing throughout your undercarriage as well as on your wheels and in the wheel well.
If you leave this ice and salt where it is, the corrosive effects will continue, albeit more slowly on the different, harder materials of your vehicle. To prevent this process, you should clean your car’s undercarriage, as well as the wheel wells that houses your tires. Now that roads aren’t being regularly salted, your car benefits from this type of spring maintenance, with better long-term results.
3. Clean Out Your Interior
Salt gets everywhere, and this includes inside your car! Of course, the reason you have an encrusted layer of salt and other dirt in your car—particularly your car mats—is because you’ve been walking on salt over the course of the winter, and that salty snow or ice transferred to your car mats once you got inside.
So now it’s time to clean out your interior. Your mats, of course, are an obvious target. Remove and properly wash them to get those layers of grime out. Don’t ignore the rest of your interior through. Make sure to break out the vacuum and give your car a good once over. Add cleaning the upholstery and fabrics with the appropriate cleaners to your list as well. Now that spring is here; this cleaning will really stick.
4. Empty the Trunk
If you or your entire family enjoyed winter activities like skiing, skating, or sledding, odds are you've probably used your trunk for hauling goods and more. Even if you haven't, the trunk is a go-to space to carry groceries or other purchases when going out shopping, so it's seen a lot of use throughout the year. Now is the time to give the trunk a cleaning.
Declutter your trunk if there’s still “stuff” in it, since plastic bags, receipts, and other small objects may be in there. You may also need to break out more heavy-duty cleaners for grease or fuel stains if anything has stained the fabric in the trunk. And of course, you’ll want to vacuum the trunk for particles once you’re done.
5. Clean & Polish Your Exterior
Finally, there is the exterior of the car itself. How you approach this step depends entirely on your preferences, time, and budget. Some people may simply want to pick a nice day, then break out the hose and cleaners, or apply a soft brush to their car, carefully cleaning the details to rinse things away, and then apply a final coat of wax.
Other people may want the professionals to do it, and that’s an equally valid choice as far as we’re concerned! Just make sure you go to a trusted car wash cleaning service and have everything professionally applied, especially if you’re interested in getting that extra shine.
Finally, even though it's not actually a cleaning tip, City Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GM recommends that your spring maintenance should also include an actual check and tune-up of your vehicle. Don't just give your car a superficial "cleansing"; get important things like oil and brake fluids replenished and have your tire pressure checked. When you have checked all of these essentials off your list, as well as provided your car with a deep clean, you can be rest assured that your vehicle is ready for spring and summer.