Car Interior Protection
Cars are often judged by their looks from the outside. But it’s the owners who benefit most from a clean and healthy car interior. Here’s how:
Most people know that cars have an air filter in the engine to ensure the engine uses only clean air.
The air conditioning/interior fan also has an air filter. This is known as the cabin filter. Its job is to filter the air that blows on passengers when the car’s A/C and fan system is in use. Having a clean cabin filter is important because you’ll be breathing in that air unless you only have the windows open.
Cabin filters can become clogged/blocked with debris and decrease your car’s air system performance. Moreover, if cabin filters get mouldy, they can blow bacteria or bad smells into your car. Clean air is, of course, important when travelling with kids.
Commonly, cabin filters are located behind a car’s glove box. Check online or in your car’s owner’s manual for the correct filter size and how to replace it or simply ask a professional.
Products like Armorall work wonders on dashboards. Giving your car interior a clean isn’t complete without going over the dashboard, interior door trim and other vinyl / plastic parts.
Unless you drive a classic car, the days of sun-cracked dashboards aren’t much of an issue for modern cars as materials have greatly improved but having a clean car interior is just as important.
If you drive a sedan or hatchback, don’t forget the rear parcel shelf too.
Footwells are often carpeted, and often get dirty very quickly but will usually only take a quick vacuum to come up clean. However, if the footwells in your car haven’t been cleaned in a long time, it may take a wet/dry vac to get the stains, mud and other gunk out.
Bunnings Hire Shop offers professional cleaning equipment for hire, a great idea as these machines can be expensive.
- Floor mats
Make sure to take your floor mats out of the car and give them a good shake and clean. Most cars have attachments on driver’s side floor mats connecting them to the floor. This is to ensure they don’t slide forward and bunch up behind the pedals. Sometimes, these attachments can break so it’s worth replacing them if yours are damaged.
If items like shoes or floor mats get stuck behind a brake pedal, they can reduce your ability to stop the vehicle. Always keep your driver’s side footwell clear of obstacles.
Car interiors are dominated by seats. Generally, leather seats are easier to clean than cloth seats but need some extra care.
Leather protection and restoration products can make a huge difference, especially if yours are damaged. Typical leather damage includes faded colour and dry/cracked areas and can usually be repaired simply.
If your car has leather seats with permanent stretches or rips, it will likely need professional repair. Damaged car seats can often act as a bargaining chip when selling a car – sellers are likely to knock the price down due to damage.
Cloth seats can be more durable than leather seats but also take a lot of abuse. Food and drink spill, for example, get soaked up and result in bad smells. They might need the wet/dry vac treatment as mentioned above in ‘Footwells’.
Treat your car like a car and not like a kitchen. Many drivers announce a ‘no eating or drinking’ rule when the car is new, then fall back into old habits as the novelty wears off.
Cleaning the inside of a car’s windows is often overlooked as the average car wash includes exterior and a vacuum of the car’s interior.
On the inside, windows can become just as dirty as on the exterior. Dust/smoke particles and handprints or fingerprints are the most common. Catch the early morning or afternoon sun in the right (or wrong) direction and they become really noticeable.
Off-gassing causes a greasy film to build up on windows. Off-gassing, usually known as ‘new car smell’ refers to gasses released by adhesives and materials breaking down inside a car interior. It can be worse in a hot climate.
It can be difficult to access some parts of car windows on the inside when cleaning but the difference is noticeable after a few wipes with a clean microfibre cloth.
At the end of the day
A ‘clean car’ means clean on the outside and inside. A Saturday afternoon might be an expensive time commitment, but giving your car a thorough spring clean can make a huge difference – and increase the life and value of your car.
If you have time, a ceramic coating can add months of protection and shine.
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