Spring is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to clean off the road grime and salt residue of winter and time to get your Kia ready for your spring and summer road trips. Spring is all about getting a clean start, and after months of harsh weather and the salt, deicer, and other chemicals used to combat that harsh weather on the road, most cars are ready for a deep cleaning. Here are some expert tips for cleaning your Kia and preparing for warmer weather:
1. Get rid of trash
Before taking your car through the power wash, hand washing it, or even vacuuming out the interior, grab an empty grocery sack and go through every cubby, slot, and storage area in your car, removing all of the trash that’s accumulated over the season. Most people spend more time in their cars during the winter, as driving is warmer and faster than traveling on foot. This extra time probably means extra receipts, straw wrappers, and just general refuse. Before any other cleaning efforts, make sure to get rid of this rubbish.
2. Switch in your normal tires
If you opted for snow tires for the winter (which is always a good idea), as soon as the snow pack starts to melt is the perfect time to trade out those snow tires for your regular set. This will keep your snow tires from getting too worn down when you don’t actually need to use them, and may actually be better for spring weather, which is more prone to rain showers than snow flurries. Once temperatures start to rise and there is no sign of any more winter weather in your future, it’s time to give the snow tires a break.
3. Detail the wheels
Even if you are planning to take your Kia through the carwash, you might want to give your wheels and tires a little extra attention. Even the best automatic carwash can’t compare to some good old fashioned elbow grease. Your tires and wheels probably have a good coating of road grime from a winter of dirty slush and deicer on the road. Take a bristle brush and some soapy water and really get into the crevices and grooves of your wheels. Then, spray down the tires, removing anything embedded in the tread. If you have snow tires and are taking them off, giving them a thorough clean before shelving them will make them ready to go come next November.
4. Give it a hand wash
While an automatic carwash might be faster than hand washing your Kia, it usually wastes more water and may not be as detailed as you want to be to get your vehicle looking showroom ready again. You know where your car has the most built up dirt, so you know where the car needs more attention. If you do choose to hand wash your car, make sure to use a soap that is designed for cars. Dirt, especially built up dirt, can scratch your paint if your just rub it around with water and soap that isn’t actually designed to remove dirt from car paint.
5. Dry the car
Even if the daily temperatures are rising into the 50s and 60s, temperatures could still occasional drop below freezing during the spring. That means you want your car to be completely dry before those cold temperatures hit. Use a soft cloth to dry off your car after the wash will make sure that the water doesn’t have a chance to freeze and possibly damage your vehicle.
6. Clean the undercarriage
This is where visiting the automatic carwash with your Kia might be the only option. The underside of your car is likely coated in grime and chemicals from a long winter of driving. Especially if your community uses salt to deice your roads, you are going to want to make sure that the salty residue is completely cleaned off of your car’s metal components, as that salt can speed up the erosion process. Make sure to pick the setting on the wash that provides a thorough undercarriage wash.
7. Vacuum the interior
If you have a suitable shop vacuum or other vacuum that you don’t mind taking outside, you can do this in your own driveway. Otherwise, many carwashes have vacuums you can use, for free or for a few cents. Make sure to lift up the floor mats and vacuum up any salt or pebbles that has ventured underneath those mats. If those mats are stained from a winter of muddy or grimy shoes, you might consider giving them a spray down with a hose or a run over with a wet vac.
8. Clean the interior
Using either a gentle all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner formulated specifically for car interiors, wipe down the dashboards, console, cup holders, and all other plastic, leather, or composite materials in the car. Use a pen or a pencil, wrapped in a cloth, to get into the crevices and edges, removing stubborn crumbs and dust. Don’t neglect the doorjambs, where salt and dirt can hide. Once you’re done with this step, you might want to cruise around your neighborhood with the windows rolled down to air out the smell of the cleaner.
9. Schedule a maintenance appointment
Spring is the perfect time to get your oil changed and your fluids checked. You can bring your Kia into our maintenance department and we will make sure you are running smoothly and have all the fluids you need to keep running smoothly as temperatures continue to heat up.
10. Replace your wiper blades
Your wipers have taken a beating during the winter. In preparation for April showers, replace the old wiper blades with a set of brand new ones to make sure they’ll do their job when the rain does come.