Keeping Your Car Clean

There are some simple things you can do to help keep your automobile looking good throughout the year. And regular maintenance on the appearance of your car-including the seats, dashboard and carpet-will also protect the value of your vehicle.

Keep these helpful hints in mind to keep your car in tip-top shape.

• Have easy access to car kit tools such as a handheld vacuum; all-purpose cleaner; bucket; clean, dry towels; scrub sponge; wash mitt; and car polish or wax.

• Wash your car when it is cool and parked out of direct sunlight to avoid streaking. Wet it down thoroughly, and then wash with warm water and car-wash soap. Start with the roof and work your way down and around, rinsing each section as you finish.

• Use a separate sponge to scrub grimy areas such as windshield wipers and tires.

• Always wash your car after rain or snow to remove acid rain and road salt. This will help prevent paint damage.

• Remove tree sap, bird droppings, gasoline and other harsh materials from your vehicle's finish as quickly as possible.

• When cleaning side windows, start by lowering each window and cleaning the top edge first. Clean these edges with a separate wipe, as they are typically far dirtier than the rest of the window.

• To protect your car's leather interior and dashboard from drying out and cracking, use a leather treatment, such as Refresh Vinyl & Leather Protectant With Cleaner from 3M.

• If your car's leather interior becomes wet, let it dry naturally.

• When vacuuming your car, use a wet/dry vacuum. A firm-bristled brush is good for stirring up the carpet mat so you can get out most of the dirt.

• Wax your car every six months. More frequent waxes may be necessary if you live in a sunny climate or own a red, white or black car, as these colors are more susceptible to UV rays and need greater protection from the sun.

By following these simple suggestions you can put your car on the road to longer lasting beauty, nice while you're driving it, nicer still when you plan to sell it.

CAR CARE: When maintaining your car, don't forget to go inside and protect the interior as well.

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