Taking your car through the car wash on a regular basis is a great way to keep the exterior looking good, but what about the interior? Harmful UV rays, wear and tear caused by kids, and everyday dirt can all contribute to a reduced car value—especially if you have leather interiors or a very light color for your upholstery.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your car’s interior. Even better: many of these steps can be taken during your regular washing so you don’t have to take any more time out of your busy schedule.
- UV Protection: Tinting your windows isn’t just beneficial for keeping the sun out of your eyes—it can also keep your interior looking good for years. Some of the most harm done to cars is through prolonged exposure to the sun, which can fade upholstery and cause leather to crack and wear down. Window tints or even a sunshade you put up every time you park can go a long way in keeping the inside in good repair.
- Smart Parking: Where you park can have a big impact on your car’s interior. If you have to park in a parking lot for work, look for shady, protected areas that won’t expose the car to the sun. If you have to park for long periods of time, consider investing in a car cover that will protect against the elements. By being aware of where you’re placing your car and what it will be exposed to, you can prevent damage before it occurs.
- Emergency Cleanup: Spills happen, people get carsick, and fast food grease can get anywhere. Make it a habit to carry emergency wipes and cleaning products in your car at all times so these types of stains don’t have time to settle in. You can do a more in-depth cleaning at the car wash later—for now, it’s best to get the offending material out of the way so it doesn’t soak into the carpet or leather.
- UV/Stain Blockers: Just as you can apply a wax to your car’s paint to keep it protected, so too can you protect the inside against wear and tear. There are specialty sealants that exist for everything from rubber and vinyl to leather and upholstery. Every two to three months, go through your car’s interior and apply the right sealant to the right material.
- Seat Covers: Seat covers have the benefit of being fully removable (and therefore washable), making them ideal when there are kids in your vehicle. You should be able to find universal sizes and sizes for common makes and models of cars at most automotive stores. For specialty vehicles, you may need to find someone who can hand-make the covers to fit.
- Detailing: Having your car detailed every few months (or detailing it yourself every time you wash) is a good habit to get into. Not only is it nice to drive a car that sparkles both inside and out, but detailing often picks up those hard-to-see culprits like dust, sticky residue, and other products that can stain the interior over time.
The inside of your car deserves just as much attention as the outside. With a few preventative steps and regular cleaning, you can keep interior car damage to a minimum for years.