Our Northwest

Try these hacks for detailing your car

Tuesday, March 28, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

washing car wheelAfter a soggy Northwest winter that's left even ducks and slugs craving a drought, consider boosting your spirits by detailing your car for sunny travel.

Spring hasn't exactly sprung, but warmer days loom ahead as we slide into April. One of my colleagues sent me a link to "30 hacks for cleaning your car," and even though I'm a pickup owner who proudly washes his truck just once a year, I'm familiar with some of these helpful tips because I've tried them on my classic Chevies.

I can't vouch for all of these hacks. Some of them sound a little bizarre. But here are several that have worked for me.

A good friend for your wheels – bleach powder like Bon Ami is good for cleaning alloy wheels, like those made of aluminum or magnesium. I found that using steel wool, or even Comet, can leave scratches. But Bon Ami is strong without being harsh. The hack suggests spraying Lysol onto the powder for even better results.

tootherpaste on toothbrushColgate helps you see – if your headlights (the covers, not the bulbs themselves) are grimy and oxidized, scrub them with toothpaste, then rinse. You'll be surprised at how they shine. Some toothpaste is grittier than others, so you might choose Colgate instead of, for example, Crest. My dentist gave me a list of toothpaste brands ranked by abrasiveness, because too much grit harms tooth enamel. Colgate is effective, yet relatively mild.

Remove old bumper stickers – WD-40 works well. Spray enough on the sticker to soak it, then wait awhile. The sticker should come off with ease.

Extend the life of wiper blades – this one I haven't tried, but I'm including it because I recently paid $30 for Jiffy Lube to install new wiper blades, yet they left streaks from the get-go. This hack says to wipe your aging wipers with ample rubbing alcohol to make them supple again. Worth trying.

dirty vent filter from carClay your car – sounds odd, but it works. If you have stubborn dirt, stains, or other contaminants stuck on your paint, rub it with a clay bar. Believe it or not, clay is less abrasive than some cleaners. It's reusable, and cheap.

Find that secret stink – if your car smells bad even after scrubbing the whole interior, locate and replace any filters on your vents or heaters. Many owners don't even know their cars have these filters, so they go unchanged for years.

can of Schweppes club sodaSchweppervescence for your upholstery – club soda works well for removing stains. Coffee, cola, ketchup, whatever, just soak it with club soda using a towel, and lift. Pass the Schweppes!

Read the full article to find some truly odd hacks, like using cheap vodka as windshield-wiper fluid.

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