If you take good care of your car now, you can prevent damage and maintain the value of your car.
Dirt and grime are the enemies of every vehicle and its owner’s greatest worry. Only those who regularly care for and clean their car will be able to enjoy it for a long time to come. In our car care guide, we explain the ten most important cleaning steps for a long car life.
1 PRE-CLEAN THE CAR
Dirt and salt residues accumulate during the cold season, especially in hard-to-reach places such as the underbody and wheel housings. You should remove this winter dirt with a high-pressure cleaner before the actual wash. But be careful: the hard jet can damage the tyres. If an engine wash is due, leave it to the experts – the electrics and contacts under the bonnet are sensitive to water.
2 CLEAN THE WINDSCREEN
After the winter months, the glass is not only dirty on the outside: The heater and fan have also caused a cloudy coating inside. A glass cleaner clears the view – simply spray on and wipe off, not forgetting the mirrors and headlights.
3 CLEAN THE RIMS
To tackle the unholy alliance of brake dust, dirt and salt, spray the wheels with a rim cleaner before going to the car wash. After cleaning, you can preserve them with a protective preparation. Tip: Spray the tyres with a rubber care product before changing them – this refreshes the shine and protects them from becoming brittle.
4 WASH THE CAR
Now your car is ready for a trip through the car wash. The brushes remove the coarsest dirt. To avoid limescale stains after washing, you should remove any water residue with a cloth. Unfortunately, even modern car washes can’t get everywhere: You will have to remove dirt from rain drains, door frames and cut-outs yourself with a little water, cleaner and a sponge.
5 FRESHEN UP THE PAINTWORK
Once the dirt is off, scratches and stone chips often appear. These must be sealed with a touch-up pencil, otherwise, there is a risk of rust. If the paintwork is faded, a polish will give it a new shine. Do not work in the blazing sun and always proceed in sections. Another car care tip: Car wax provides the necessary paint protection afterwards.
6 CARING FOR CHROME AND RUBBER
The seals on the doors and boot are exposed to extreme weather conditions in winter. If they become brittle, there is a risk of leaks. In addition, the doors can stick in the summer when it is hot. Use a rubber care product to make the seals supple again. The chrome trim also deserves special treatment: a polishing paste restores the shine to dull trim. The care product also protects against flash rust. But be careful: the abrasive chrome paste should not get on the paintwork.
7 ENSURE A CLEAR VIEW
Cleaning the windscreen alone is not enough. Only good wiper blades ensure that the windows stay clean. When wipers freeze in winter and are used on ice and snow, cracks can form in the sensitive rubber lip. This leads to streaks on the glass and obstructs visibility. Replace such wipers immediately. Speaking of changing: The antifreeze has no business in the wiper water reservoir in summer. Now it’s a matter of removing insects from the windscreen, for which there are suitable cleaning additives.
8 CHECK THE INTERIOR
First of all, the winter ballast must be removed: snow chains, shovels and ski racks increase vehicle weight and air resistance and thus cause unnecessary extra consumption. Tip: When clearing out, also dry out the spare wheel well – moisture and dirt often collect at this lowest point and cause rust and unpleasant odours. Clean the dry interior with a hoover – or even a high-pressure cleaner if the rubber floor mats are dirty.
9 CARING FOR THE SEATS
Special upholstery cleaners can be used to remove stains from the seats. Rub the foam only on the surface so that the upholstery does not get soaked. Then brush out the dirt. Leather seats need extra care: a polish makes the material supple again and protects against water stains.
10 CLEANING THE COCKPIT
Without regular care, the plastics of the dashboard will fade. Cockpit sprays or special cleaning cloths refresh the colours and keep the material supple. To prevent the cockpit from attracting dust in the future, the products should be antistatic. There are cleaners for glossy or matt surfaces.
By following these steps everyone can make sure they extended the life of their used car as much as possible while making it look as good as when it rolled off the forecourt. Wear and tear is inevitable with any machine, however, no matter how much you look after it. Frequent servicing is a must, and if you want to protect yourself from unforeseen repair costs, it pays to invest in an extended used car warrant. Make sure you use a reputable supplier and read the small print to ensure the level of cover is sufficient for your needs.