Canadian winters are tough on cars. All that built-up salt and grime can trap moisture, which can eventually lead to rust. Now that’s spring is here, it’s time for some deep spring cleaning!

Exterior

When the warm weather and sunny days arrive, it seems that everyone is out washing their cars. But did you know that the best time to wash a car is actually on a cloudy day (or failing that, in the shade)? Water droplets can turn into tiny magnifying glasses when exposed to bright sunlight and damage the finish. And think twice before washing a car that has been sitting in the hot sun for several hours. The water will only dry too quickly on the hot surface and dull the finish.

Good cleaning products go a long way

Not all soaps are meant for car washing. Some are overly abrasive and will damage the finish. Others, like dishwashing liquids, are gentle on the finish but leave behind films that will dull the finish. If you want to achieve that sparkling-clean gleam, the best choice is to use a product that’s gentle on the wax finish but won’t leave behind a greasy film.

Interior

Carpets encrusted with calcium buildup, salt and small rocks… dashboards coated with dust… stained, grimy seats… winter can be just as rough on vehicle interiors as they can be on their exteriors. Your first step to cleanliness is a good vacuum to remove deeply embedded dirt on carpets and fabric seats. Remove as much abrasive matter like salt, calcium, sand and ice melter as possible because they will not only damage the carpets, but possibly the electric components, too. Not getting the results you want with a simple vacuum? Use a product specially designed to dissolve these types of buildup.

While you’re at it, remove the floor mats so that the carpets can dry completely (remember, moisture is enemy number one). This will also help to prevent unpleasant odours or premature corrosion.

Windows

Steer clear of highly concentrated window cleaners, which can scratch a vehicle’s protective lenses and tinted windows. Window cleaners containing ammonia can also damage tinted windows.

Pro tips

  •  To make cleaning windows easier, wash the inside of windows horizontally and the outside vertically. That way, if any streaks are left behind, it will be easier to see which side they’re on.
  • Empty your trunk of winter gear such as bags of salt, shovels and jumper cables. It will lighten your load, lower your fuel consumption and lessen emissions.

The main takeaway? Taking care of your vehicle – both inside and out – will reduce premature wear and preserve its resale value. Plus a clean and fresh-smelling car is so much more enjoyable to drive!