It’s definitely time for spring cleaning if someone writes “wash me” on your vehicle.

Even if your car hasn’t reached that point, a good cleaning of the inside and outside prevents the buildup of damaging chemicals and dirt, reduces the potential for road salt-induced rust and helps ensure proper visibility needed for safe driving.

The first step is to remove the clutter from inside the car. Items that have accumulated in the trunk can add extra weight and reduce gas mileage. Once you’ve done that, thoroughly clean and vacuum the interior and wash the windows.

When washing the outside, make sure to include the tires and wheels and the underside and fenders to eliminate any road salt or grime. It’s best to clean the wheels and tires with a mitt and then use a separate mitt to wash the bodywork, to avoid contaminating the vehicle’s paint with debris from the wheels and tires.

Starting at the roof area, wash one section at a time, thoroughly rinsing away the soap as you go. Work your way down toward the front, sides and rear of the vehicle.

Then give the car a final rinse by removing the spray nozzle from the hose and letting water cascade down the surfaces of the vehicle. To avoid water spots, dry the vehicle with a chamois or other product made for drying.

The last step is to wax the car. Waxing should be done out of direct sunlight and every six months.

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