Struggling to keep your ride looking hot? Dirt and grime getting you down? Is your ride looking more flop than fly? If so, don’t stress. There are plenty of simple things you can do to keep your car looking great inside and out. It all starts with having the right tools, materials and equipment on hand. If you want to make sure your ride’s all that it can be, follow the quick guide below.
Washing and Waxing
Keeping your ride clean is important, but the way you clean it is just as important as washing it in the first place. Ditch the dish soap and invest in a decent quality soap formulated specifically for vehicles. This will help keep your paint in good shape, and can even help hide minor scratches and defects. When washing your car, make sure you use a microfiber cloth or something similar. Leave the dishrags for the sink. Dry your car off with a chamois to avoid water spots.
You need a good wax on hand as well. If you want your paint to glow in the sunlight, you need a good coating of wax – apply it at least twice a year, but feel free to wax more often if you like. Make sure you’re getting a quality car wax formulated for your type of paint (you’ll find paint and finish-specific waxes available). Fully buff out all wax after letting it dry. Use a Q-tip or something similar to get into crevices around your door handles, locks and other hard to reach areas.
For your wheels and tires, invest in a good “tire shine” product, but make sure you keep it off your wheels when applying it. This will give them that wet look you want. As a note, if you regularly drive on dirt or gravel, skip this step. Use a specially formulated cleaner and a good brush for your wheels. Some recommend using a wire brush, but a soft bristled brush works just as well and won’t scratch the surface up.
Keeping your ride smoking hot requires more than just washing and waxing the exterior. You need to pay attention to the inside as well. It might not be particularly stylish, but keep a small vacuum on hand to quickly grab dirt and debris from the floorboards or seats (you’ll find tiny models available that can be stowed out of sight easily).
Invest in a good interior cleaner for your seats. If you’re riding on leather, a leather cleaner and conditioner will keep them supple and looking great. Follow the directions on the bottle for use. You should also keep a good glass cleaner on hand to take care of smudges on the inside of your windows. Newspaper makes a handy, affordable glass-cleaning tool (combined with a good cleaner, of course).
Of course, you need a quality upholstery cleaner and a good brush to tackle other parts of the interior. Your carpeting will need regular cleaning, and this is best done with a quality cleaner designed for the task. A decent brush will help you get into deep-seated dirt and grime in the floors as well. Make sure you have a decent set of floor mats as well – opt for a set that matches the interior color of your car (you can choose either rubber or carpet). Toss out your old, worn out floor mats.
Keeping your ride looking fly is all about being prepared. Having the right tools and equipment available at all times (both at home and with you in the car) ensures that your ride won’t look worse for wear.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Mo Riza