GET YOUR CAR READY TO STEP OUT IN THE SUN
By: Dean Fisher, vice president of Operations for CARSTAR and former owner of CARSTAR Yorkville in Yorkville, IL
How to Undo Winter’s Damage and Get Your Car Ready for Warm Weather
The winter months take their toll on cars more than any other season. Your vehicle not only goes through extreme temperature swings, but may also have to deal with ice, salt, potholes, and let’s face it – neglect. Now that the sun is shining and the spring rains have washed the grime off of the roads, it’s time to give your car the pampering that it deserves.
“Every season can be hard on your car,” said Dean Fisher, VP of Operations for CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts. “It is extremely important to not let the residue from one season carry on into the next. The contamination that gets picked up in the winter and early spring can only do more damage once it gets baked in the hot summer sun.”
CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts, which repairs thousands of vehicles across North America each spring, recommends a spring detailing for your car – inside and out. If you have the time and a sunny Saturday, they also offer the following DIY tips for undoing winter damage on your vehicle and getting ready for warm-weather driving. But, it’s important to check local laws about washing your car in your driveway before you start.
Get Rid of the Clutter and Make the Inside of Your Car New Again
It’s pretty easy to let trash and junk pile up inside of our cars. We often get out the car with a handful of groceries or office work, usually leaving behind waste from drinks and snacks or other items that we tell ourselves we’ll get later. Guess what? Later is now.
- Start by opening all of the doors and trunk or rear lift. Dig through every part of the interior, including underneath and between seats. You might be surprised at how much of a trash bag can be filled with what’s been left behind.
- Next, grab a vacuum and get all of the dirt and filth out of the carpet, floor mats, and upholstery. You might even want to give the floor mats and extra bit of attention with a hose and soapy water to clear out all of the deep down debris that the vacuum couldn’t get.
- Finally, it’s time to take care of the windows and dash. Use a quality cleaner, or even light mix of soap and water. Make sure to clean off and dirt and build up, then dry thoroughly with a clean, lint free towel.
Give it a Good Bath
While a quick drive through a car wash will take care of most of the dirt, to get rid of all of the paint-damaging muck, a complete hand wash is a must. With a bucket of clean water, car soap and a non-abrasive cloth, your car can once again have that showroom shine.
- Try and find a nice shaded area to wash your car. Direct sunlight can cause premature drying and leave water spots on the finish.
- Hose down the entire car to get rid of any surface dust.
- Work in sections, starting from the top down, making sure to rinse off one area before starting on the next.
- Don’t forget about the wheels and tires. Brake dust will build up on rims. It’s important to do a complete cleaning of all four wheels while washing your car.
- Dry the car with a soft towel, chamois, or micro-fiber cloth. Again, start from the top and work your way down.
- Be sure to wax your car at regular intervals to add an extra layer of protection to the car’s finish.
Let a Professional Take Care of any Dings, Scars, and Wear
For a $300 to $500 investment, a local body shop can make the following improvements to help your car recover from winter damage:
- Conduct a thorough cleaning of the car’s exterior and interior.
- Restore the headlights to remove scratches and yellow hazing that age the car and diminish visibility.
- Restore black plastic bumpers, door handles and tires to a brand-new finish.
- Repair small scratches in the clear coat and paint to a like-new surface.
- Repair minor dings and dents with paintless dent repair.
- Replace missing or damaged trim or decorative elements.
- Update all of the light bulbs with newer long-lasting bulbs.
- Restore the finish of the car with a full detailing.