Spring cleaning doesn’t stop at home


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Woman hand polishing her car.

Jessica Drendel

As winter comes to a close, it’s easy and somewhat frightening to start thinking about spring cleaning. But when one thinks about the looming work ahead, they have to ask themselves if they’re forgetting something.

The car is easy to forget but is another item that’s very important to clean in the spring. As spring peeks around the corner, taking care of one’s car is more important than ever.

“Your spring wash should be the most thorough of the year,” said Chase Stout, owner of C and J Auto Detail in Nevada, Iowa. He went on to mention that he takes the tires off of the cars he works on to clean behind the wheels and in the wheel wells.

“Don’t neglect the places you can’t see,” he said.

Ryan Davis of Wild Water Car Wash has some more tips.

“Your car should be waxed at least twice a year,” Davis said. “You should be careful of over waxing though. It can cause your paint to fade faster.”

Keeping a vehicle clean can increase its trade-in value at a dealership when one’s ready to upgrade. No matter where or how someone washes their car, both Stout and Davis agree that in these winter months keeping your car moving has huge benefits.

The two also said people should wash their car weekly during the winter or, if that’s not possible, then after every snowfall. Cleaning off bird droppings should they appear is also very important. Stout described customers of his who brought in their cars with stains he described as permanent because it didn’t get cleaned off soon enough.

Vehicle owners shouldn’t neglect the inside either.

“Your dash will take in UV rays so make sure to use a conditioner on it or get a sun shade,” Stout warns. “Don’t let your car get overwhelmed. Clean out trash. Check cracks and crevices.”

Leather seats will need conditioner too, but making sure one knows what’s in the product is a common concern across the board.

“We use environmentally sound soap and products here but no matter where you wash your car, make sure you know what you’re using,” Davis adds. Something else commonly overlooked inside one’s car is the carpets. Road salt accumulates from drivers’ and passengers’ shoes and should be vacuumed out. It’ll look better and keeps the carpeting in better shape too.

Some things Stout and Davis warned about were using anything other than microfiber cloths on the exterior. Terry clothes and other materials leave scratches in the paint or wax. They also said t owners should avoid using dish soap to wash their vehicle.

One of the common ailments for vehicles in Iowa is rust, and checking for it early can help delay the problem.

“It’s mostly the hidden spots: door jams, under the trim, the undercarriage, and the wheel wells,” Stout said.

The best treatment for rust is prevention, Davis explained.

“The earliest signs of rust are bubbling paint. The rust is already there when that happens but that’s what you’ll see first,” he said.

Keeping a car in prime condition during the winter and into the spring is a big deal, but as long as people remember to do it, they’ll be running their car longer and keeping their investment in the best condition possible.