So that the car looks like new again: Find out here how to properly care for the interior of your car and prepare it for sale.
Of course, you know that it is not only external values that count. Also with the car. Especially the interior of a vehicle with all its different materials needs attention. Regular care helps to maintain the value of the vehicle.
But at least as important is thorough preparation of the car interior for the sale of the car. Not only does this make the car look better, but the preparation can also even contribute to an increase in value. Whether a sale is imminent or just like that: the following tips are also useful if you simply want to do something good for your car. Let's start with the basics.
What does car preparation mean and what does it involve?
Do you remember how your car looked, smelled and felt when you bought it? Well, this is the state you put the car back in when you do a tune-up.
This article primarily refers to the preparation of the car interior. This includes things like a thorough cleaning, minor repairs, removal of odours and maintenance of materials.
Can I recondition my car myself?
Do you have time, leisure and the necessary spark of perfectionism? Of course, you can do the interior preparation yourself. But it is also possible to hire a professional. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself that will help you make this decision:
How dirty, damaged and worn is the interior of your car?
Are there sensitive materials inside the car?
Would you have to buy a lot of different care and cleaning products that just stand around and add up in price?
Have you decided to prepare the interior of your car yourself? Then read on!
Step by step
Prepare and maintain the interior of your car yourself
The good news: interior care is not magic. What you need most of all is some time, leisure and at least the following things:
- Tub with warm water
- Microfibre cloths
- Window cleaner
If you have any other car-specific cleaning products, make sure you have them ready. Attention: Under no circumstances should you use ordinary household cleaning agents (except window cleaners) in your car, as these can attack the partially sensitive surfaces. Well, everything ready? Let's go!
Clean out all objects from the car. Do not forget the shelves and compartments! Also, remove the floor mats: knock them out well and vacuum them. If they are very dirty, go behind them with a rough sponge and warm water. None is usually necessary.
A standard household hoover will do the job well in most cases. If you have the attachments at hand, all the better. It is important to clean the cracks in the upholstery thoroughly: A lot of dirt gets stuck in the crack between the seat and backrest. The dashboard is also easy to remove dust with a hoover. If you have a dog: Lint rolls or adhesive tape help to remove the stubborn hairs.
If the seats are not terribly dirty, cleaning with a hoover is sufficient. But especially before a sale, it is recommended to clean the upholstery really thoroughly. With upholstery foam. Read the instructions for use carefully and in the best case, test the product beforehand in an invisible place. By the way: even if you only want to get rid of one stain, it is worth cleaning the entire seat to avoid leaving marks. Do you have leather or partly leather seats? Then in most cases, you will find instructions for cleaning them in the manual.
Ideally, mirrors and window panes should first be wiped dry and then cleaned with a window cleaning agent: spray, wipe clean, dry. When cleaning the windscreen, make sure that everything around the rear-view mirror is cleaned. You can often remove adhesives like the vignette yourself with a little patience, remove them with a scraper or soak them in a solvent.
Simply use a microfibre cloth and some lukewarm water for the storage surfaces. For the ventilation grooves, you can use a brush, for example. This will remove dust and small stains. Usually, this is enough and you don't even need additional interior cleaning products to clean your cockpit. If you use additional chemical-based products, you should be very careful, otherwise, the materials will be damaged or ugly stains will appear, leaving different brightness levels or changing the colour. This is the case, for example, if you want to prepare plastic surfaces in the interior.
Don't forget doors
they are often particularly dirty: car doors and door panels can also be cleaned well with a damp microfibre cloth. This is usually quite sufficient, especially with plastic. Stubborn stains on the soles of shoes can be tackled with cleaner. Rubber seals must also be cared for to prevent them becoming brittle. There are special cleaning cloths or lotions for this purpose.
It is often forgotten. Of course, it depends on what kind of material your headliner is made of. Normally, most of it can be removed with the all-purpose warm water and microfibre cloth. If necessary, you may need upholstery or carpet cleaner. But be careful: first cover the surfaces underneath with plastic or something similar, to make sure nothing drips. The recommended tool for washing is a soft scrubbing brush. Do not use a cloth, chenille sponge or lambskin glove, as they leave lint. If your top has dirt, stains or bird droppings, use a small and stiff upholstery scrub brush.
On a convertible, the top often has dirt stains or even bird droppings. As a cleaning agent, it is best to use a surfactant-free or soap-free car shampoo. You should not use a cotton cloth, chenille-coated sponge or lambskin glove for cleaning, as they leave behind fluff. Cleaning a convertible top is best done with a slightly softer brush, as hard bristles could otherwise scratch the plastic windows in particular. Finally, rinse the soft top thoroughly with a strong water jet to remove all shampoo and dirt..
Before you bring in a fragrance, you should find out and remove any unpleasant odours. So don't use scented trees to combat odours, but don't store leftover food, cigarette butts or stinking sports equipment in the car unnecessarily. You should also have your air conditioner serviced at regular intervals: it can also cause strange odours that get trapped inside the car. If you cannot get stubborn odours out of the car, contact a specialist.
Nothing to worry about
As you can see, in most cases, interior maintenance and preparation are actually quite straightforward. The fewer unnecessary things lying around and the more regularly you invest a few minutes to remove obvious stains or dust, the fresher and tidier your car will look in the long run. The good news is that with a hoover, microfibre cloths and lukewarm water, you can do most things yourself in a simple and uncomplicated way.