Keeping your car looking its best takes lots of attention to the details, so we asked Dan Maffett to show us some of his favorite car cleaning tips on MotorWeek’s “Your Drive.”
DAN MAFFETT: If you’re doing a detail job on your vehicle at home, there’s a few things you can do to take it to the next level.
For example, look at these wheels. They look phenomenal; but, if you flip them around, you’ll notice they’re actually quite filthy. Taking the wheel off and hitting it with a little bit of degreaser will show you… just a little bit of elbow grease and you can make them a lot cleaner.
Likewise, if you make a trip to your local hardware store you can find utensils like these. Couple common items like these cotton swabs, a standard bristle brush, and even some panels tools like these. You can use these to get into nooks and crannies, cracks and crevices that you wouldn’t be able to get to normally. Even taking a paint stick and a no-lint rag, you can get in between the body gaps to get really hard to reach spots when you’re cleaning.
Also, another tip is when you’re washing your car always start top to bottom. The last thing you want to do is get all the way through your wash, realize you’ve got to spray something off on top, and then all that dirt runs across your fresh, clean paint. Tires are another issue, too, because a lot of people like to use petroleum-based shines. While they look good while it’s sitting in your driveway, soon as that tire starts spinning, it’s going to sling petroleum all down the side. You’re not going to see it at first, but road grime is going to stick to it, and you’ll wonder where all this dark dirt came from. Something like a tire conditioner or spray is gonna be a lot better long-term.
A little tool like this, a micro buffer, is gonna make it really easy to buff your headlights, your taillights, even some nooks and crannies around your door jams. You can even use this same tool with different attachments on the end to agitate dirt in the carpets, the seats and even your headliner. Using that to vibrate loose the dirt and clean it up with a shop-vac while you’re doing it will make cleaning the carpet a cinch.
Also, one of the most overlooked things is your air vents. You’re in your car all the time breathing the air through those vents, so taking a panel gapping tool like this and a nice rag, and getting through those vents nice and tight with an alcohol or even a spray shine will get all that dirt out of there.
If you have any questions or comments, hit us up here at MotorWeek.