Keeping your vehicle clean inside and out can pay big dividends when it comes to maintaining its long-term value. The non-profit Car Care Council suggests some simple steps to keep your vehicle clean and protect it from the elements so it retains its resale and trade-in value.
Declutter - Start the cleaning process by removing excess clutter from inside the car as it can be distracting and hazardous, especially when debris finds its way near the gas and brake pedals. Don't forget to clear out items that have accumulated in the trunk as they can add extra weight and reduce fuel efficiency.
Clean the Interior - The next step is to thoroughly clean the interior, wash the windows, and clean and install floor mats. Be sure to vacuum on a regular basis. A clean and orderly interior allows you to spot issues in the cabin so you can get them repaired before they get worse.
Wash the Exterior - Give the car a good wash from top to bottom using products specifically made for automobiles (not dish detergent). Always clean the tires and wheels before washing the body, and don't use the same washing mitt or cloth for both.
Wax Twice a Year - Waxing not only protects a vehicle's finish, but it also makes subsequent washing easier. Before proceeding, make sure there are no foreign particles on the paint. It is important to note that waxing should be done in the shade, not direct sunlight.
Fix Chips - If there is minor paint damage, cover the paint chips as quickly as possible to prevent further damage. For a quick fix until you can get paint touchup supplies, dab a little clear nail polish on the scratch.
Since many vehicles are sitting idle for long periods these days, it is important to remove the grime and sediment that can build up on the outside of the car to help prevent rust. It's also a good idea to wipe the dashboard, steering wheel, cup holders, door handles, vents and console with a quality, all-purpose automotive cleaner to disinfect the interior areas of the vehicle.
The non-profit Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For the latest car care news, visit the council's online media room at http://media.carcare.org. To order a free copy of the popular Car Care Guide, visit the council's consumer education website at www.carcare.org.
Source: Car Care Council