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Spring Cleaning Checklist: 5 Steps to Get Your Car Ready for Spring

Extreme weather can take its toll on your car’s interior, body and undercarriage. Use this spring cleaning checklist to help restore your ride to its previous lustre.

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Car washingPhoto: Shutterstock

1. Start from the Bottom

The first step to freshening up your car for spring is to remove salt from the vehicle’s underside. Connect a garden hose to a spigot, drag the hose out to your car and reach directly underneath to wash out every exposed area. If that car detailing method sounds unappealing, you could also take your car to a brushless car wash that includes an undercarriage wash.

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Waxing carPhoto: Shutterstock

2. Wash and Wax Your Car

If you decide to wash the car yourself, choose a liquid or powder cleaner for the body. If there are tar or other stains on the finish, use a stronger formula designed to protect the finish and remove stubborn spots. Stay away from abrasives that can scratch the paint, like steel wool. Once your car is dry, apply wax. For longer-lasting protection, try a synthetic polymer-based wax.

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Car detailingPhoto: Shutterstock

3. Check Your Tires

Because standard car wash cleaners won’t get your tires sufficiently clean, use a tire and wheel cleaner. Liberally apply tire-cleaner to the outer surface, then use a tire brush to vigorously scrub back and forth. When done, apply the cleaner to the wheels, allow the solution to set for a minute, and then use a clean paintbrush to remove any debris. Next, rinse the wheel and tire with a hose. Dry both with a microfibre towel.

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Replacing wiper bladesPhoto: Shutterstock

4. Replace the Wiper Blades

The beginning of spring is a great time to replace wiper blades, especially if the rubber has cracked. Generally, wiper blades last about six months—whenever you notice streaking or skipping on the windshield, it’s time to swap them out. Use any standard window solution to clean the inside of your front and rear windows (there may be more dirt blocking your vision than you realize).

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Cleaning car interiorPhoto: Shutterstock

5. Clean the Interior

The same salt and grime that attacked your car’s exterior during winter probably found its way inside your vehicle. Use a shop vacuum to remove any dirt from between the seats. Then, use a foaming fabric and upholstery cleaner for cloth seats, spot-lifter or stain-remover products for carpeting, and Armour All for any sensitive surfaces.

When it comes to leather and woods, your best bet is to familiarize yourself with your owner’s manual and determine what cleansers are OK to use. For many leathers, any high-UV leather conditioner that’s pH-balanced and contains stain repellents and waterproofing agents should be sufficient. For any wood-grain surfaces, select a product that’s formulated specifically to clean the type of wood in your car.

For more great tips on how to maintain your car and to find the parts you need, visit NAPA Canada.

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