If you own an old car, probability suggests you either picked up a second-hand car or have held on to the same vehicle for several years. Second-hand cars are outselling new ones, this is down to their reduced prices than their new counterparts. This action of buying used is often deemed to have a worse experience that buying new, this doesn’t have to be the case. With a few tricks and a little bit of work, you can get your old vehicle looking as good as new. Some of these tricks are listed below.
Try ‘hinching’ your vehicle. What is hinching you might be asking? It is big trend on Instagram recently, involving making your house look completely spotless. Try doing this with your car instead! Treating your car to a thorough and deep clean both inside and out can make a huge difference.
To begin get rid of all the objects in your vehicle that aren’t necessary. Yes, this means putting lots of it in a bin liner. Drinks bottles, McDonalds wrappers, papers, whatever you’ve shoved in the glove box and forgotten about, the air freshener that lost its scent several years ago. Check the chair pockets, and the door storage, and the boot.
Carpets, mats and boot
Unravel your vacuum cleaner and give the floors a vigorous clean. Do this to the floor mats and around the boot too. If the floor mats look worse for wear, throw them out and get them replaced — a rubber floor mat is a good way to ensure no mould develops from wet shoes going in and out of your car.
If you want to fully ‘hinch’ your floors, use a nylon brush to scrub the floors and mats before going at it with a hoover. This will bring up any deep-set dirt buried in your car’s carpets.
Headlining and sun visors
Cleaning the sun visors and the roof of your interior makes a considerable difference in the aesthetic of the vehicle. The fabric covering the interior ceiling can become discoloured and cling on to odours, so it is worth taking the time to give it a good clean.
It sounds difficult to clean, but all that has to be done is spray the fabric with upholstery cleaner. Foam-type upholstery cleaners are recommended for this. Follow the instruction on the product, then use a soft-bristled brush to gently brush the headliner. Then, let it dry for a few hours.
If they are particularly unclean, then a deep clean might be in order. This can be done with a steam cleaner, however there is a chance of it damaging the glue which holds the layers of the headliner together.
The seatbelts are the first focus when cleaning the seats. By unravelling the whole belt and placing a clip at the top, it will hold the belt in place meaning the full thing can be cleaned. This can be done by once again using the upholstery cleaner from before and wiping up and down both sides of the seatbelt. Leave the belt clipped to dry for a few hours before letting them roll back in.
Clean the car seats by going at them with a hoover, if they are made of cloth, then get a damp rubber glove or window squeegee. Run the squeegee or damp glove over the seats to pull up deep-set fluff, dust, and pet hair. Then, go at it again with the upholstery cleaner too.
Windows and mirrors
If you used your squeegee for cleaning the seats, ensure that it is properly rinsed and cleaned before using it on the windows. Use this to wipe the windows after spraying them with window or glass cleaner. Wind down your windows slightly to get the grime away from the top of the window and ensure of a streak-free finish.
Air vents, trays and cup holders
If your air vent filters are removable, it’s time to change them up. Give them a clean down, as well as any cup holders or trays your car may have.
If you have air vents that have a removable filter, use this chance as a time to swap them up, give them a clean at the same time. Any cup holders and trays in your car should also be cleaned and if removable they should be removed and wiped again before replacing them back to where they fit.
Using a clean cloth, ideally microfiber, give the grab handles and car pillars a wipe. Depending on the material, you can use the same upholstery cleaner as you used for the headliner and sun visor, or an antibacterial spray.
Use a hoover to go over the entirety of the door panels and any holes or nooks in them. Then, using a leather cleaner where needed and a vinyl cleaner for the rest, wipe down the whole interior door panel. Be sure to check on a small area that the cleaner you are using is safe to use on your door’s interior material.
Dashboard and wheel
Buying dedicated products for cleaning car dashboards is a good option. However, just using warm water and soap will do a similar job with negligible visible difference. Be sure to go lightly with the water though, as you don’t want to risk water running down into the electrics. To get rid of grime and grease, a glass cleaner will do the trick. Also, wash your dashboard in the shade to avoid the sun from drying the product too quickly.
Indicator sticks should also be cleaned thoroughly as they are often forgotten about — it’s one of the dirtiest parts of a car interior.
Exterior cleaning guide
That wraps up all the cleaning necessary on the interior of the vehicle in order to make it look as new as possible. You can head to the car wash if you like, but if you have the time to spare, giving it a clean yourself usually produces better results. This is because you can spend more time on the areas that really need some attention.
It’s recommended that you use the three-bucket system to clean your car:
- Clean, soapy water bucket. No dipping your dirty cloth in here! This bucket is just for soapy water.
- Water bucket. You need to rinse off your dirty cloth before dipping it back into the soapy water bucket use this bucket to do so.
- Wheels and tyres bucket. Wheels are often the dirtiest part so an extra bucket will be needed to clean these.
To begin with you need to wash the car. Use a hose or a microfibre cloth wet with just water and rinse down your car. The idea behind this is that you want to wash away any large amounts of dirt before you get the soapy water involved.
Bugs and insects can be nuisance, especially when they’re sun-roasted onto the front of your car, this can be very difficult to remove. Soap will have a hard time peeling these critters off your car, but there’s an easy trick to remove them. Get a few tumble dryer sheets and a bucket of warm water. Wet the dryer sheet in the warm water, then wipe down the bugs. They will come away much easier this way.
After this go around the whole car with the bucket of soapy water. Remember to rinse your cloth in the water bucket as you go along. For tougher spots, try using a clay bar instead.
To make your headlights glisten make use of some white toothpaste. Just make sure it’s not the gel kind as this will have an adverse effect. With a soft cloth, apply the toothpaste to your headlights. Then, rinse away the toothpaste with water.
Using hand-polish or duel-action polish is the next step after making sure the vehicle is clean wipe this all over the vehicle. Then, apply a final coat of wax to protect the paintwork and that hard-earned shine. Use a power buffer to apply the wax, but then remove it with a soft cloth to ensure an even finish.
There’s no need to use any kind of product to clean the tyres. Simply using water will work great. It’s now time to tackle the alloy wheels. Make sure to use your designated wheels bucket, as brake fluid smeared across your windows next time is not preferable. Don’t use product on the tyres though; simple water will be enough
Replacing old parts with new ones
Now that the entire car is as clean as can be it is time to evaluate the condition of the car, and any parts which might need replacing. There likely will be some of those parts in need of being replaced and it will help the overall appearance of your vehicle. These don’t need to be expensive replacements!
- Seat covers — these are great ways to give your car’s interior a new aesthetic, without the fees of re-upholstering the seats. Plus, you can add a little character with many different designs and patterns to choose from.
- Buy an custom registration plate —They are registration plates which you can customise to your own preferences. There are numerous places that offer private registrations for sale.
- New speakers — for the music lovers, upgrading and replacing the speakers is a good way to revitalise your vehicle without breaking the bank.
- New wheels — even after cleaning your wheels they may look scruffy and worn, this is a sign they are in need of a replacement.
- A fresh coat of paint — although it might be a bit harsh on the budget, giving a vehicle a new lick of paint will make it feel brand new, not just because the scratches and discolouring is fixed, but the colour can be totally changed too.