These seven quick and easy maintenance checks can be carried out while you’re giving your car or truck a regular clean. Also included are some bonus cleaning tips for good measure.
The windshield is one of the more important components on your car, so you should check it regularly for chips, cracks and other signs of damage. If you do notice any damage you should determine how severe it is and, in some cases, repair the windshield yourself using a resin repair kit. If it’s a full crack you will need to get a professional to replace it for you.
When you’re cleaning your windshield, make sure you don’t use water that’s either boiling hot or freezing cold. It’s less likely to happen in moderate temperatures, but if you use boiling water on a cold day it could crack your windshield or make existing damage worse and beyond repair.
Some of the most common signs of tire damage are cracks in the outer tire wall, bulges at the bottom where the tire is in contact with the floor and low levels of tread. These signs of damage are easy to spot although to check the tread depth you will need a tool that can measure how much you have left. A quick check of your Tires & Wheels before every journey will save you any problems while traveling.
To get a brand-new looking shine on your tires you could try using some tire shine. It usually comes in a gel or a spray and you can apply it directly to the tire to buff it up and restore that shiny black finish. When applying tire shine be sure not to get it on any other parts of the wheel such as the brakes and alloys.
Although alloys look great on almost any car, they can be a nightmare to keep damage free. It can be far too easy to rub against a curb or have a wayward stone chip the beautiful smooth finish. Most alloy damage is superficial but you need to look out for cracks in the wheel and anything that may pose a safety issue. If you hit a pothole it could crack the rim under the tire which will need to be welded back together by a garage.
Alloy wheels are notoriously difficult to clean, especially alloys with many spokes. The best way to clean alloys and get into those small gaps is with a special wire brush and a toothbrush. This wire brush will enable you to get past to spokes and clean the inner rim as well as the front of the spokes. The toothbrush is small enough to fit in the gaps where the spokes meet the rim and where the wheel nuts sit within the alloy.
There’s not too much to check safety wise on the seats apart from making sure they are still secure and that there isn’t any play when you’re driving. Seats that have become loose at the base or where the back of the seat moves backward and forwards are signs that there could be a safety issue. The other area to check are the seatbelts to ensure they click in properly and pull tight when in use.
Cleaning car upholstery can be incredibly satisfying, especially when your seats come up looking pretty much new. Start with a dry vacuum to remove any loose dirt and then move on to a wet vac. This will penetrate into the fibers of the seats removing both dirt and any lingering odors.
If you have a leather interior it’s worth investing in special leather cleaner and conditioner. This will help to prolong the life of your seats and will protect them against any damage such as spillages and stains.
Most cars come with a plastic trim and it’s mainly used to protect the car from bumps and scrapes in common areas. The trim on the door is for when you’re in a parking lot and someone decides to open their door onto your door. With any luck this will hit the plastic trim and will protect the paintwork. The trim on the front and rear is to protect against minor bumps with other vehicles and misjudgments when parking.
If the trim on your car is looking a bit tired and faded then you can buy back to black gel or spray. This is a great way to rejuvenate old plastic and works by drawing out chemicals in the plastic to restore it back to its former glory. You will need to re-apply it every few months but it will certainly make a noticeable difference to your car once you’ve applied it the first time.
Basic checks on headlights and other lights on your car are important, especially if you plan to do any driving at night. As well as the standard lights remember to check the hazards lights, full beam lights and the brake lights. You may need someone to stand behind your car to confirm that the brake lights are working.
Sometimes the headlights especially can have a misty look to the plastic where it has reacted to oxygen. There are a number of ways you can clean your car headlights including removing the light, scrubbing it with some soapy water and sandpaper and applying new layers of clear coat. Other methods people have used include using toothpaste and baking soda.
Common places to check for damage on the body are on the hood for any chips caused by driving on loose gravel and around the wheel arches for rust that may have been caused by driving on wet roads over a long period. If you have a sunroof or a panoramic roof, you may also want to check this occasionally too for any signs of damage.
To get the best results when cleaning the bodywork, you should start with a cold wash to remove any loose dirt. After that, you can do a warm wash with a sponge or cloth. Make sure to remove any rings and jewelry and the tags from the cloths before starting. These can easily scratch your car, which will just create more work. After a warm wash with some car shampoo you can move on to drying it and polishing. Polishing will help to keep the color of the paint work vibrant, will protect it from damage and will make cleaning your car next time a lot easier.
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