De-Winterizing Your Ride

 April 15, 2019  9:38 AM

With spring on the doorstep, it’s time to prepare your vehicle for the long sunny drives of the summer. Time to get the salt and winter sludge out of the carpets and wheel wells. Wake up and have a good breakfast because the next few hours is going to be spa day for a battle-worn sherpa on wheels – and we know that it deserves it. It’s carwash day and we are providing you with a laundry list of items to check off while you pamper your dependable steed.


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Start With The Interior


It’s something you can do without too many extra products or tools from the comfort of your driveway. You’ll need a vacuum, some soft cloths, a good drying towel, a water based all-purpose cleaner, something for scrubbing like a hard bristled brush or a scouring pad, and a bucket of warm water

  • Step 1: Gravity–start from the top and work your way to the bottom. Everything will make its way to the carpet so leave the floor mats in place, for now. Using the all purpose cleaner and a soft cloth(preferably microfibre) wipe down any hard surfaces like the dashboard, the console, the inner door panel, the cup holders. Be sure to wipe carefully around the electronics. Don’t need to go ruining a perfectly good stereo.
  • Step 2: Using an oil-based cleaner on vinyl will eventually make the finish crack. So while you wipe everything down with your water based all-purpose cleaner, be sure to dry it with the handy towel you’ve brought out with you.
  • Step 3: Vacuuming the upholstery is pretty straight forward. Make sure to get in the fold of the seats and the seatbelt buckles. If you have leather seats, get a leather protective wipe or solution.
  • Step 4: Now you can pull the floor mats out with everything that fell onto them. Set them aside for now as it’s time to suck up whatever is left on the carpet. Getting the floors, in between and under the seats, even vacuuming the cupholders is a good idea. (So tough to clean)
  • Step 5: Empty the trunk and follow steps 1-4. If you drive an SUV or a hatchback and your trunk isn’t a separate compartment just add it in with the other steps. Only put back what you are going to need.
  • Step 6: Scrub those floor mats with the brush or scouring pad and bucket of water. If needed, use some of that all purpose cleaner that helped you out earlier. Now you can let those dry off while you get a snack or maybe some lunch if you took your time. We still have quite a day ahead of us.
  • Step 7: Ok so we said top to bottom but finishing the interior with the windows is like the bartender polishing his glassware at the end of the night. Everything else is clean enough now so you can let the sparkle out.


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Exterior in Excelsior!


Now that spring has sprung, there is no need for those winter tires. Swap them out for your summer tires or you will find the hot roads may have caused irreparable damage to the rubber. Winter tires are engineered differently to operate in the cold.

We can begin on cleaning the outside of your car. You’ll need a few things.

  • 2 large buckets
  • Car wash sponge or microfiber wash mitt
  • Car shampoo
  • Hose
  • Squeegee
  • That hard bristle scrub brush or scouring pad
  • Car wax
  • Microfiber towels


  1. Fill one bucket with a water and shampoo solution according to the directions on the bottle and the other with only water. One bucket is for suds while the other is for rinsing. This method deters transfering grit and dirt while cleaning.
  2. Give your vehicle a once over with the hose to start. It removes any loose debris and lets everything stuck to your car slightly loosen up and makes shampooing it a little simpler.
  3. This sounds counter intuitive, but try washing your tires and rims first. Some tire cleaners can be harmful to the paint of your car. Scrub them down with the hard bristle brush. You can easily wash it off of your vehicle as we move along, shampooing from the top down.
  4. Shampoo with the sponge and thoroughly rinse the sponge or mitt in the bucket of water. Be sure to constantly rinse with a hose as you wash downwards. Don’t use a nozzle on your hose. It helps to prevent splashing–which is good because you want to dry right after rinsing.
  5. Dry using the squeegee. There are fantastic products like the California Jelly Blade that are paint safe for preventing water spots from developing. Using a squeegee won’t get all the water, so follow up with a microfiber towel– especially in places like the door jams to prevent later dripping.

Pretty straight forward pattern: Shampoo, rinse, dry from the top to the bottom–including the tires.



The Finishing Touches


When it comes to hand waxing your vehicle, be sure to do it in the shade or the comforts of a garage and only apply to very dry vehicle. Product that dries too quickly becomes unnecessarily difficult to buff off and becomes streaky when mixed with water traces

When applying your wax give it the thinnest coat you possibly can. Excess wax turns into much more of a chore to remove. If you feel that the job isn’t good enough re-apply in another super thin coat after buffing off the first one.

You can use a poly foam wax applicator for achieving that pristine even coat and use a quality microfiber towel to hand buff out the residue for the proper sparkle. Now you can get the tire shine and rim protector out.

Last thing would be to use that streak free glass cleaner for the outside of your windows and your mirrors.


Some Finesse


To get rid of the harsh sludge residue from the bottom of your car, rent a pressure washer or go to a local wand car wash. The wand helps reach the hard to hit spots and power of the stream will remove any of the hazardous debris and chemicals used on the roads during the winter months.

Another great thing you can do is get to a mechanic and have the alignment checked and engine professionally shampooed. Let no stain remain and enjoy the smooth ride on crisp looking wheels!






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