How To Protect Your Car’s Interior From Significant Wear And Tear
Even by driving your shiny new wheels off the dealership, the meter starts running slowly downward on its value – Edmunds.com estimated that a Nissan 370Z bought for $29,800 will have dropped to $12,069 in value five years later, a 40 percent reduction.
What can owners do to keep a vehicle’s value as high as possible? A lot, actually. Auto experts recommend taking care of the outside with regular washes throughout the year, extra cleanings during the winter (especially if you live in a place that uses roadway de-icer in winter), and paying attention to all recommended service appointments and oil changes.
What about the interior? What kinds of things can car owners do to make sure everything looks good and stays as clean as possible with your car interior?
Declare the car a no-food and no-drink zone, and be ready to enforce this rule. Kids, family members, co-workers, even yourself, have likely accidentally spilled a snack or meal in your car and have left something behind, whether it’s an old French fry or a spilled milkshake. The former is much easier to clean up than the latter, but aren’t always as easy to notice. You might have to get tough on people who are accustomed to eating meals or at least snacking on the road.
Cover surfaces as much as possible. Start with floor mats, which keep you from tracking in mud or dirt and grinding it into the carpets with your feet. Add seat covers, which can protect seat upholstery, may aid your posture and even help customize the look of your car. There may be plenty of shiny cars out there, but not many with this sort of special seat cover.
Vacuum regularly. Since you’re driving through the car wash frequently (aren’t you?), consider taking a few minutes afterward and using one of the lot’s power vacuums. Or if you’re home, use a shop vac or even your household vacuum. Use the smallest brush setting you have to get into smaller cracks and crevices. Vacuum under seats and mats too.
Keep windows open a crack. Don’t do this if rain is in the forecast, but if you live in a hot region or know that a heat wave is coming, leaving windows slightly open will help vent hot air. According to Allstate, when hot air can’t get out, it has the potential to dry and damage the car interior.
Wipe your seats. If you have leather seats, regular maintenance helps keep them from drying, cracking, getting discolored or stained. Popular Mechanics suggests applying gentle oil at least quarterly and maybe even monthly. They recommend against vinyl or petroleum-based cleaners, which could make the leather look shinier than it should do. If your car interior has cloth or carpet instead, find a gentle cleanser to wipe these or at least try to scrub out any stains with a heavier-duty spot cleaner.
Wipe the glass. Though you think you can see out of the dashboard just fine, grime can build up quickly simply from your breathing, and you may not even realize it until you start scrubbing. The build-up is even greater if you or a passenger is a smoker. But any grime also can be quickly removed even with basic glass cleaner. Combine a favorite cleaner with a soft terrycloth-type towel that won’t leave streaks or particles and wipe the whole thing down.