Keep Your Car Looking Great While Traveling
You and your family are only an hour out of town, and already your vehicle looks like you’ve been traveling for a month.
Spills, dust, grime, bird droppings have turned it into a sticky, grimy mess. There’s an answer.
“It doesn’t have to be complicated,” says Jim Dvorak of Mother’s car care products. “Put your favorite car care solutions in a kit.”
Dvorak knows one fastidious car care expert who likes to stuff quick detailer in a wash mitt and store it in the glovebox.
Then there’s the other extreme. Dvorak admits he has succumbed to his extravagant instincts on occasion: A milk crate full of car care products. His take-alongs have included waterless wash and wax, quick detailer, window cleaner, tire and rubber treatments, bug goo removal and the list goes on.
Somewhere in the middle doth the twain meet for most drivers. Dvorak shared his top recommendations.
Car Care Tip #`1. Window cleaner.
No matter what point of the compass you travel, dust and dirt are sure to cloud your view.
“Your dog may slobber or leave paw prints on the windows. Kids are going to leave fingerprints. Road dust and pollen will cover the windshield,” said Dvorak, who habitually wipes down his windows after a day’s travel. “All drivers should clean the windshield and side windows so their families can enjoy the scenery. It enhances picture quality and, more importantly, visibility for safety. A dirty windshield can cause glare, especially when the sun is low on the horizon.”
Car Care Tip #2. Microfiber towels.
Summer spills happen, especially when you’ve got family eating and enjoying those frosty treats inside a moving vehicle.
“Liquid spills, especially sugary drinks, attract dirt and drivers should wipe down spills immediately,” Dvorak said. “Stay on top of such accidents so they don’t seep into seams and damage surfaces.”
Dvorak recommended dampening--not soaking--a microfiber towel and wiping off surfaces. Another benefit to microfiber towels: They’re easy to clean and dry when you get to your destination.
Car Care Tip #3. Interior cleaner.
Spills and food may adhere to surfaces even though you have wiped the area. Vinyl and leather treatments designed for vehicles help break molecular bonds between contaminants and vehicle surfaces.
“Food spills also get sticky and you don’t want it to make a bigger mess,” Dvorak said, referring to problems such as mold and foul odors than can develop from soil buildup and potential transfer throug the interior.
Car Care Tip #4. Vinyl and leather protectant.
Dvorak has heard the stories before. A family goes to the beach, lathers on sunscreen and then slips into the vehicle for their ride back home or to the hotel.
Later, stains appear on your vehicle’s beautiful leather or vinyl seats.
“Towel off sunscreen before entering your vehicle,” Dvorak suggested since it can discolor or damage some interior surcfaces.
Interior protectant keeps your interior looking great while you’re on the road and helps prevent the sun’s UV rays from damaging upholstery.
Car Care Tip #5. Spray-on wash and wax solution.
This is not simply vanity. Traveling means your vehicle is assaulted by all manner of contaminants that can stain the paint and make it an unsightly mess.
“Spray bird droppings with a detailer or waterless car wash,” Dvorak said. "Water will do in a pinch. Let it soak a moment before gently removing removing it with a microfiber towel.
“Remove bug goo, too. Both hazards can damage paint if left on the surface.”
Another upside: A vehicle you are happy, perhaps even proud, to park in front of your relative’s home.
Car Care Tip #6. Storage container.
Keep all of your car care items in a handy, easy-to-access pouch or small shopping bag.