For one, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your car for a longer period of time. Also, if your interior is in mint condition, it improves your odds of getting the top Blue Book price when it’s time to trade in or sell.
The first step in the battle plan is to know your adversaries. You’re already well acquainted with Enemy #1 – the sun. You know what it does to your skin. Think about your poor car and what it goes through every day.
You don’t think twice about moisturizing your skin to prevent wrinkles. Vinyl and leather need moisturizing too, but don’t reach for the Oil of Olay. There are a number of products that can do wonders for your car. Many professional car upholsterers use PB-2 for vinyl, leather, wood and plastic. It sells at most upholstery shops for about twelve dollars a bottle. Summit Racing or Adams Polishes is also a great place to purchase products from with a variety covering all the inside and outside needs.
Aside from protectants, there’s another simple way to keep the sun from attacking the interior. Get a cardboard or reflective sunshade found at most auto parts stores. They are only a few bucks, and they keep 80 percent of the sun’s rays out. Also, if you can afford it, tint your windows. Depending on how much you want to spend, tinting can block up to 35 percent of the sun’s rays and keep your car cooler and more comfortable.
Dashboard covers are another option. You can order them from most auto parts stores for about 35.00 dollars. They’re usually made from carpet and are custom designed for your car model. They fasten down with Velcro and look pretty sharp—not a bad way to cover cracks, or prevent new ones.
So far, we’ve talked a lot about Enemy #1, but Enemy #2—plain old dirt — really goes in for the kill. Again, think about your skin, and how dirt and grime clog the pores and really mess-up a good complexion. Well, dirt is also hard on vinyl, leather and fabric. But unlike your skin, they can’t repair themselves.
Never underestimate the power of even a small particle of dirt, especially when it works its way into the seams of your upholstery. Grit literally cuts away at the threads like tiny scissors, and the same holds true for your carpets.
Vacuuming the upholstery and carpet once a week will help tremendously. And while you’re at it, don’t forget those nooks and crannies. Use a nylon brush or even a toothbrush to get at them. As far as products go, many professional upholsterers use Malco Upholstery Cleaner and Conditioner. Adams Polishes also provides a professional Leather conditioner.
Floor mats are also good for keeping dirt at bay. Just make sure you get the kind with soft rubber tips at the bottom. Hard plastic mats will wear the carpet away. And mats with slick bottoms will slip and slide, trapping dirt underneath.
Now if all of this sounds like too much trouble and you hate to wait in line at the car wash, there’s one other option. A few auto detailers across the country offer mobile service. In other words, they come to you —wherever you may be – with a van equipped with its own water supply, generator, vacuum cleaner, and spray wands — the whole nine yards. This service is really popular with professionals. So while dentists are drilling away, and lawyers are looking for loopholes, the detailer is right outside the office, working up a lather. Customers have even asked them to work on the cars while dinning at exclusive e restaurants. Depending on what city you live in, the price will vary. This might be more than you want to spend. Just remember – a clean car is a happy car, and even a small investment towards that end can end up paying big dividends. Happy Motoring!