With winter behind us here in Post Falls, it’s time to start crossing tasks off your springtime to-do list. The lawn needs to be fed, the flower beds could use landscaping, and the deck chairs can be pulled out of hibernation. But what about your car? I’m sure you’ve been tempted to stop at the local detailing shop on your way home from work. Whoa, whoa, whoa—there’s no need to go that route! Think of all the money you’d save doing it yourself, let alone the pleasure of knowing that no grit-spackled belts or cloths had left their marks on the paint job. Check out these DIY detailing tips instead, and prepare to spend a warm afternoon in your driveway.
- Hand wash! We at Knudtsen Chevrolet of Post Falls believe the best car wash comes from the old-fashioned, sponge-in-hand, suds-all-over, bucket-full-of-water process. A good hand wash will make your Chevy Cruze shine, and the process won’t strip your car’s protective wax layer like some automated carwashes can do.Extra tip – Use a high-quality soap—products from Griot’s Garage or Mothers, for instance, work well with newer Chevy Cruze models—and try a clay bar kit to improve the shine after a wash. And don’t forget the microfiber drying cloth.
- Use toothpaste to clean headlights. Start off with a few dabs of regular toothpaste (make sure the product doesn’t have cooling crystals or extra materials) on a dry cloth or rag. In small circles, start buffing the headlights. Then rinse and repeat as necessary.Extra tip – As a mildly abrasive product, the toothpaste should clean and also polish out imperfections, but overdoing it can also produce small scratches on the plastic of the headlight.
- Use charcoal to clear out smelly cars. You may not know it, but charcoal has an innate ability to absorb smells. Open a bag of charcoal and leave it in the car overnight to get rid of any funky scents that might be lingering. Plus, you can host a BBQ after you’re done.Extra tip – For an additional push toward a clean-smelling car, try pouring baking soda over car mats and seats, then vacuuming it up.
- Use dish detergent on stains. Like most car owners, you’ve no doubt spilled your fair share of coffee on the seat or dashboard. If tended to quickly, a drop of dish soap and a damp washcloth should be able to take the stain right out.Extra tip – A toothbrush is also a handy tool for those hard-to-reach stains inside cup holders and between the parking brake crevices.
- Wax and detail before winter. With winter comes road salt, and with road salt comes vehicle rust and corrosion. The best way to combat this? Prevention. Before the first snowfall, add a layer of car wax. If you need a product recommendation, check out org for a comprehensive list of waxes that may work for you.Extra tip – If the 80s top agent MacGyver gave the world anything, it’s the idea of life hacks. So how do MacGyver-like life hacks help you with car detailing after winter? Try this: use a lawn sprinkler to clean the undercarriage. Let it run and oscillate from front to back of the car for a few minutes. Voila. Good as new.
- Use newspaper and vinegar to wash windows. Newspaper may seem like an odd material to use when cleaning windows, but the truth is it doesn’t leave streaks like paper towels or cloths. Add a bit of vinegar to the newspaper, then wipe away the smudges on the inside of windows and windshield. Extra tip – Vinegar is really a magical thing. Try these vinegar tricks to remove stains, soils, smells, and dirt from your car mats. Just let them dry, shake them out, and run them under a vacuum before reinserting them into the car.
- Use clear nail polish on chipped windshields. For those small, unsightly pebble-sized dings in your windshield, clear nail polish can mask the damaged area and may even (temporarily) prevent cracks. Simply wipe the chipped area with a clean cloth and alcohol, let it dry, and apply a few coats of polish. Extra tip – Chips in windows can escalate into cracks quickly. Nail polish is a helpful, quick fix, but a windshield repair professional should be contacted as soon as possible to prevent further window damage.
- Bonus: Clean spills out of a truck bed. If you have a Chevrolet Silverado or another type of pickup, you know how useful a truck bed can be—and also how messy they get. For most stains, some dish soap, a brush, and hot water will work wonders. If able, invest in a pressure washer to cut the cleanup time in half.
Extra tip – For oil spills, use a healthy amount of WD40 on the stain and let it sit for 20 minutes (or longer). Add some dish soap and scrub or pressure wash the bed squeaky-clean.
Detailing and cleaning your Chevy Cruze or Silverado should be a labor of love, not disdain. Plan your day, take your time, and enjoy the opportunity to save money by doing it all yourself.
For other auto repairs that require a more professional degree of expertise, we welcome you to our auto service department at 1900 E Polston Ave in Post Falls, ID. If you’re in the market for a new Chevrolet near Spokane, WA, review Knudtsen Chevrolet’s new and used vehicle inventory online, and schedule a test drive by calling our Post Falls dealership at (877) 270-3220.