When you buy a car, you take on a good bit of responsibility. You must stay legal, make your loan payments on time if you purchased with a loan, and take good care of your car. Proper vehicle maintenance is crucial to keeping your car safe and comfortable for a long time. You can invest in taking your car to a professional detailing business, but you can also do the detailing yourself. 

Proper detailing can increase the longevity of your car

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Detailing the inside of a car | Getty Images

According to the Detail Experts, the average American keeps a car for five to six years before the car is sold or traded for another. Whether you follow the average American’s path or like to keep your cars for much longer, it is still important to maintain your car well. Detailing the inside and outside of your car will go far in the longevity of the car as well as its resell value. 

Here are four reasons why detail helps extend the life of your car:

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  • Tires: Keeping your high-quality tires healthy will help reduce the likelihood of accidents, keep you on the road longer, and add to the car’s beauty. 
  • Lights: Dull and foggy headlights can make your car look old and decrease its appeal. Brighter headlights offer more visibility at night and help give your car that “brand new look.” 
  • Interior: The interior of your car takes a daily beating. Spills, stains, and daily foot traffic can diminish the life of the upholstery. Keeping the interior clean helps fight against these damaging effects. 
  • Paint: The tires, lights, and interior are essential, but where would the car be without an excellent paint job? It is the first thing people see. Dull and patchy paint jobs can give the appearance of a poorly maintained vehicle. 

Make sure you have the proper detailing supplies. Erie Insurance lists several supplies you must have on hand to detail your car at home properly. Shop your home first to keep your bill low, and then go shopping for what you don’t have. This list includes items for detailing the interior and the exterior of the car.  

  • Buckets
  • Soap: Some soaps can damage the paint, so be sure you have soap explicitly made for car washes. 
  • Wash mitt
  • Wheel cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Microfiber towels
  • Clay bar
  • Car wax
  • Foam pad applicator
  • Leather cleaner
  • Vacuum
  • Fabric/carpet cleaner
  • Brushes

Seven steps to detail the inside of your car

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Once you have finished thoroughly detailing the outside of your car, it is time to move to the interior. Before you know it, you will be driving around with that intoxicating new car smell. 

  1. Clean interior parts: Use a microfiber towel and a spray cleaning solution and wipe down all interior surfaces and panels. Pay special attention to high-touch areas (ex. Door handles, armrests, and the steering wheel). Use the brushes for the more hard-to-reach areas like air vents to get rid of dust and dirt. 
  2. Clean the seats: For leather seats, use a leather cleaner to wipe them down. Cloth seats will need a car upholstery cleaner. 
  3. Vacuum the carpet: Remove all mats and vacuum the carpets thoroughly. Take your time to get all the dirt out. 
  4. Wash the floor mats: Rubber all-weather mats can be scrubbed with soap and water. Carpet mats can be vacuumed and scrubbed with a carpet cleaner.
  5. Scrub the carpet: Use your carpet cleaner to remove any remaining dirt and stains from the carpet. You can use a spray cleaner or a steam carpet cleaner. Make sure you let the carpets dry before putting the mats back in. 
  6. Clean the glass: Wash your windows with a glass cleaning. Don’t forget the windshield and back window.
  7. Apply a deodorizer: This one is optional. Spray an automotive deodorizer for that extra clean touch. 

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