There’s nothing better than that new car smell—it’s not something that can be replicated by any air fresheners or products. It’s the combination of the excitement of a new vehicle, mixed with new car materials and a fresh, clean car that hasn’t seen even a hundred miles of road yet. That new car smell is going to persist for a few months, if you’re diligent about cleaning your car—here are some tips to help you make that new car smell last as long as possible:
1. Don’t eat in your car. Nothing will kill the new car smell as quickly as the oniony scent of a fast food hamburger. If you’re looking to keep your car smelling fresh and new, don’t eat in your car. You can pick up food and take it home, but always let the smell of the food vent by leaving a window cracked. Otherwise, strong smells like onion and garlic can permeate the plastics in your car and leave your car smelling like that for the rest of its days.
2. Vacuum it. Who vacuums a car? You do. You track dirt, stones, sand, and lots of other gross stuff into your car every time you get in, even if you think your shoes are clean. Every time you bring the environment into your car, your car will start to smell more like that environment than it will like a new car. You can prevent this by routinely vacuuming your car to remove all of that dirt and detritus that follows you inside.
3. Don’t leave trash in your car. Old drink cups and soda cans, even if you think they’re empty, probably have a few dregs lingering. When you toss an “empty” can into the back seat, it can leak whatever is left onto the carpet or upholstery. Not only does this have the potential of leaving a stain, it also has the potential to make your car stink. Train yourself to take empty containers and cup with you when you leave the car, so they don’t just stink and fester in the vehicle.
4. Change your air filters. Over time, your car’s air filters will become covered in dust and gunk. This is their job, but this also means that your air conditioning or heating system can start to stink when you turn it on. To avoid this, routinely change your air filters. If changing your air filters doesn’t seem to solve the problem, you might have a more severe situation. Sometimes small rodents and animals will take up residence in your engine block and when they die, can put off some serious stink. If you’re smelling something foul and it’s not your air filters, it’s time to take your car in for a checkup.
5. Make sure nothing is leaking. Oil and coolant leaks (which will usually show up on your driveway) aren’t just bad for your vehicle, they are also bad for your new car smell. Both of these types of leaks can cause problems that can make your car have a funny smell as the leaked liquid burns off as you drive. Pay attention to how your car smells and if it is spotting where you park it.
6. Clean your plastic and leather surfaces. The oils and dirt and germs that people naturally have on their skin can be deposited on the surfaces of your Kia. While these won’t produce their own smell, they can break down the materials in your car and cause them to lose that “new” luster and scent. You can maintain these surfaces by buying a product made specifically for cleaning the dashboard and/or leather in a car and use it routinely to remove oils and grime and to maintain the shine and vitality of those products.
7. Clean the inside of your windows. While this tip won’t necessarily make your car hold on to that new car smell, it is an important part of owning a new car. In the first couple of months (or years), the materials in your car are likely to “outgas.” This means that they will give off fumes, some of which can create a film on the inside of your windows. If you’ve ever tried to drive facing the sun and in the glint of the light, your windows are nearly opaque, it’s probably because of this film, which will return, even if you’ve cleaned it off before. Routinely clean the inside of your windows when you have a new car to avoid this problem.
8. Clean your headlights. Nothing can reveal the age of a car faster than its headlights. Dingy, filmy, and clouded headlights don’t just make your car look old, it also makes it more difficult to see properly on a dark night. Clean your headlights with a headlamp product. You may need something abrasive if the clouding is extensive. If there is condensation on the interior of the headlight, you should bring your car into our shop to see if there is a leak or if the fitting is secure.
9. Replace your windshield wipers. Your windshield wipers are going to be one of the first things to need replacing in your vehicle. In general, they will only last a year before the rubber starts to break down and becomes far less effective when it comes to wicking away snow and rain.
10. Regularly wax the car’s exterior. Wax is like sunscreen for your car—it protects the paint from the sun, from scratches, from environmental damage, and more. If you love how water just beads and rolls off of your new car, you can maintain that effect by regularly waxing your vehicle’s exterior.