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When caring for car-interiors and exteriors, different products have to be used. Specialized tools and different tips and tricks are deployed. Caring consists of three general areas.
Understanding the importance of protecting car-interiors from damaging sunlight and dirt is crucial. Neglection will degrade the resell value of your vehicle quicker than bad paint. A new paint job is far cheaper than trying to replace a car interior. There are many products to clean all car interior surfaces. Good protection extend the life of the surface on which it is applied. The last stage - dressing, gives rubber, plastic, and vinyl the visual appeal of being sparkling new.
Rubber and trim:
The simple fact is that there is far more rubber and trim in and on your car than you suspect. Both rubber and trim pieces are extremely susceptible to the sun damage and can deteriorate faster than any other part of your vehicle. When you are inspecting your trim and rubber look for the tell-tale signs of damage. If anything is dry and brittle, faded, cracked or has peeled, then you must start protecting them from further damage or replacing them. Protecting your car interior shouldn’t really be an option. It is something that must be done, or face the consequences. Dressing your car interior is an option. Those that are perfectionist or those that are looking for an aesthetic bonus will want to apply a dressing. Dressings replenish the lost nutrients and properties to your interior surfaces. Some car interior dressings are also a protectant, meaning they are a critical preventative step. Be careful of products that have a silicon additive. Sometimes products containing silicon can actually do more damage than good to your car interior.
There is a reason why leather was chosen for the car interior seating areas. Sitting on nice supple leather seats can make any long distance journey more enjoyable. Leather that is well taken care of and properly protected has an extremely long life cycle. It is not uncommon for leather to remain in almost showroom condition in cars that are 20+ years old. From classics to exotics, leather is the desired seating surface. But, leather is hungry, and the key to keeping your leather alive and vibrant is to feed it on a regular basis. Leather is an organic surface and must be cared for the same as you would care for your skin. There are thousands of tiny pores that require nutrients and cleaning. When dirt “clogs” these pores the leather cannot breath. As with most things in life, if something cannot breathe – it dies. The same holds true for leather. Removing dirt from these pores will keep new fresh air available to the leather. Cleaning your leather is essential.
Not all cleaners are created equal. Inexpensive cleaners and conditioners contain petroleum distillates, silicon or silicon oils, and additives that give an inferior and greasy finish to your car interior. Many of these chemicals are harmful to leather. Good cleaners will visibly remove dirt without altering the leather’s properties or staining it. Any cleaning residue can easily be removed and they usually are fragrance free.
A good leather conditioner will actually penetrate into the pores of the leather rather than sitting on top of the leather. Absorption is the defining factor because if the conditioner sits on top of the leather, it creates a barrier and prevents the leather from fully being able to breath. When a conditioner is absorbed, it works from the inside to the outside to replenish lost nutrients and to feed the leather in a natural manner.
Glass and windshield:
Clean windows are important for visibility and also it can make your vehicle look more stunning. A car can be spotless, but if it has water etching and marks in its window – it will not be winning any Best of Show awards. Cleaning windows with vinegar and water, and drying them with crunched-up newspaper was the recommendation in the early 1990’s. Not today. Products that clean windows today are technologically advanced scientific glass formulas. They have polymers to make caring for your windows easy, and reflective properties that arguably improve clarity. Unsightly water stains, bugs, wiper streaking, road film and other stubborn residue is difficult to remove unless you are using the right product. Sometimes these types of problems require an industrial strength cleaner. For extremely stubborn problems a light polishing agent can be used to polish the glass. Be careful not to use a highly abrasive product on glass as it can scratch the glass.
Carpet and upholstery:
How many times do you think that you get in, and out of your car in a year? How many times a day do you shuffle your feet around on the floor. Any idea of how many pounds of dirt and rocks you bring into your car over the years? Get the picture? Your car’s carpet and interior gets used and abused. It’s no wonder that these areas of your car show signs of wear and aging long before other parts of your car. It is the most vulnerable area of your car, but it is often the least cared for. Most people neglect these areas because it they are the more difficult and require the most labor. The other aspect is that your interior is not publicly visible. Cleaning the interior is usually only done for your own benefit and for those that are passengers in your car.
The right tools:
Hours and hours are spent on trying to find the best wax, which polish shines the best, what leather conditioner yields the supplest surface. Remember that it is not only the product that is important. The tools or methods in which products are applied are just as important as the product itself. The absolute best wax, polish, tire dressing, or leather cleaner in the world cannot perform to its maximum ability if it is applied using the wrong applicator. The right tool not only ensures that the product is applied properly, but also makes your job easier. The outcome will be better and detailing tools are not as obscure or as expensive as you may think. For example, when was the last time that you cleaned the insides of your vent panels? A pretty hard proposition unless you have the right tool.