Kwik Fit | Wednesday 28th March 2018 2:31pm
With Spring just around the corner (well, hopefully), and the long Easter weekend upon us, what better time to give your car a deep clean? Over the winter months, vehicles can easily become dirty and unkempt both inside and out. If, like most people, you only give your car a proper sprucing-up once or twice a year, then nowís the time to put in some extra elbow grease and get it back in tiptop condition. From the mats and mirrors, to the dashboard and bonnet, you can make sure every nook and cranny has been thoroughly washed, wiped and scrubbed. This is also the perfect time to do some basic maintenance checks to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road.
So, if youíre thinking about giving your wheels a spring clean, this simple guide should provide you with some helpful pointers.
What you need
First things first, youíll need to make sure you have all the essential cleaning items on hand. If you havenít already got them, you can purchase car shampoo, chamois cloths, sponges and window cleaner from most garages or petrol stations. If you want your car to have some extra shine and protection, you may also want to purchase some polish or wax. When washing your car, ideally youíll have access to a hose pipe or pressure washer, and a carpet cleaning machine if possible. Of course, a good old fashioned bucket of water and detergent will also do just fine. If youíre going to do a maintenance inspection - and we recommend you do - make sure you have your ownerís manual at the ready too.
As most drivers will know, the inside of your car can easily become dirty, especially during the winter when shoes constantly bring in mud and debris. Before hoovering the carpets, make sure you take out the mats under each seat and give them a good shake to get rid of any loose dirt. If you want to shampoo your carpets and upholstery, try to choose a warm day when they will dry quickly. However, before doing this itís a good idea to check for any existing wet patches on the carpets, as this can be a sign that rainwater is getting in. If you do find a damp area and you canít figure out where the waterís coming from, take your car to a professional who will be able to locate the source of the problem and fix it.
Next, itís time to give the interior surfaces a wipe down with water. Take care to remove any dust from the dashboard while avoiding getting any electronics wet. Itís also worth cleaning the inside windows with glass cleaner, including the rearview mirror, and to jettison any junk from the compartments (do you really need those receipts from 2013?). Also, if youíre are still displaying your old tax disc, you can now remove this as its no longer necessary to display a tax disc so you can clear some clutter on your windscreen.
You may also want to give your boot a clear out by getting rid of any mess that has accumulated over the winter and giving the carpet a vacuum.
When it comes to the exterior, start by hosing down the car with warm water and soap, beginning at the roof before making your way down to the wheels. Pay particular attention to the wheel arches, as this is where most of the dirt and grime from the road tends to gather. In some cases, a quick hose down wonít be enough and youíll need to remove the hubcaps and scrub the tyres more thoroughly. If you find that some of the mud wonít budge, try leaving it to soak for a while.
Once youíve rinsed off the soap and let it dry, you might decide that you want to add a polish or wax to give the paintwork an extra sheen. Use a chamois cloth to apply the product while following the instructions on the packaging. If youíve never used the wax or polish before, itís worth trying it out on a small, hidden section of the car first to see if it works. If you notice any chips, scratches or rust while doing this, remember that itís always better to deal with these problems now rather than later, as the damage might get worse with time.
Itís also important to pay attention to the exterior windows, which will have no doubt collected a fair amount of grime over the winter. Use a glass cleaner and then buff them with a dry cloth, including the wing mirrors.
Finally, donít forget to check under the bonnet. You can remove any leaves, twigs or other debris yourself, or take it to a garage to have the engine professionally cleaned if it looks particularly dirty.
When cleaning your car, itís also worth taking the time to do some quick maintenance checks and to look out for any signs of damage that might develop into more serious problems in the future.
Start with your tyres, including the spare, keeping an eye out for any cuts, bulges and tears. You should also make sure that your tyres have enough tread. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, but many motor specialists recommended going no lower than 3mm. Donít forget to check the tyre pressure too. If youíre unsure what pressure your tyres should be, look inside the driverís car door, fuel flap or ownerís manual. If your tyres do appear to be worn or damaged, youíll need to get them replaced right away. Also, if youíre using winter tyres, nowís the time to swap them back to summer versions.
Other checks you should do include topping up or changing the oil if needed and making sure that all interior and exterior lights are in good working order. You may also need to buy new windscreen wipers after the winter months.
By giving your car a deep clean and carrying out basic checks now, you can make sure that it not only looks great for the coming months, but that itís also functioning and performing at its best. Once youíre done, you can enjoy a well-earned rest this Easter. But if you run into any problems with your car, donít forget that our centres are open throughout the Easter period. View our Easter opening times.
Wednesday 4th April 2018
Big changes to the MOT test from 20th May 2018 will see a new fault grading system introduced plus tougher regulations from diesel drivers. Find out more about the new Minor, Major and Dangerous MOT categories.
Tuesday 13th March 2018
If youíre looking to get away in your car this year, we take a look at some of the most impressive and awe-inspiring roads you can take across the continent in our latest e-book, from mountain passes to tree-lined forests.