The scorching Arizona sun and unforgiving desert climate can really punish vehicles, both inside and out. Think back to the last haboob that blew through town and the effect it had on your car’s exterior and interior.
Because you want to keep your new Honda from your Valley Honda Dealers near Phoenix looking its best for many, many miles down the road, we consulted some expert car detailers and asked them to describe some of the best ways to maintain your Honda’s exterior and interior appearance.
- Use A Sock To Clean Cup Holders
Over time, your new Honda’s cup holders will become grimy, greasy, and yucky. But how do you get down in there and remove all of that grime and gunk? The answer: Take an old sock and put it over the bottom of a travel mug. Spray the sock with household cleaner and then twist the travel mug into the cup holder. This should get most of the dirt out. Use a wooden barbecue skewer to clean out the crevices and finish with spritz or two of cleaner and a microfiber cloth.
- Blast Dirt With Compressed Air
Get a couple of cans of compressed air and use the long straw that comes with them to get deep inside your Honda’s air conditioning vents. Blast out the vents, aiming for the back where most of the dust and debris accumulates. If your Honda is equipped with a cabin air filter, remove it and spray it with the compressed air to remove any dust and dirt.
Additionally, you can use the compressed air to spray along door sills and along nooks and crannies. Pay attention to the edges of the carpet where it tucks in under the plastic. Blow the debris onto the middle of your car’s floor mats where you can easily vacuum it up.
- Cotton Swabs Can Clean Up
Cotton swabs and a used makeup brush are excellent tools for cleaning your HVAC louvers and air vents. A barbecue skewer and soft-bristled toothbrush work perfectly for getting debris out from around buttons and switches.
- Clean Upholstery With A Stiff Brush
Pull out your floor mats and first, go over them with a stiff brush to loosen the dirt. Follow this with vacuuming. Afterward, apply a foaming aerosol/carpet cleaner. Work the cleaner into the fabric and let dry. Vacuum again to remove the cleaner residue and dirt. Repeat this process on the carpets and cloth upholstery. If you are ambitious, you can rent a steam cleaner for a more thorough result.
- Clean & Protect Leather Seats
Experts recommend using a good quality leather cleaner/conditioner that contains aloe to nourish, moisturize, and protect your leather seats.
- Use A Cleaner Made For Plastic Surfaces
Many cleaners and protectants on the market are specifically designed to clean, restore, and protect the luster of plastic surfaces. You should avoid the temptation of using and ammonia-based glass cleaner on any plastic surfaces, as the ammonia could bleach or discolor the plastic. You can also use a non-ammonia glass cleaner for similar results.
- Hand-Washing Is Best
Most of us appreciate the convenience of using a drive-through car wash now and then. But for the best way to thoroughly clean your Honda, you should wash it by hand, preferably in a shady spot. Invest in a soft lamb’s wool car mitt that won’t scratch the paint. Use two buckets, one for soapy water and the other with clean rinse water. A rubber/silicon squeegee and soft chamois should be used to dry the car. Avoid using household dish soap or laundry detergent as they are too harsh for the paint job.
Pro Tip: Buy a clay bar that is specially made for cars and use it along with liquid cleaning wax to smooth out rough surfaces. Lubricate a small area with the liquid wax and pull the clay bar using short straight strokes. Run your hand along the surface, feeling for any spots that are rough or uneven. Repeat until the surface is smooth to the touch. This is also an excellent way to remove bird droppings and other contaminants that can eat through the clear coat and damage the paint.
- Keep Wheels & Tires Looking New
Alloy wheels may look strong, but their surfaces are actually somewhat fragile. While professional car detailers will use an acid-based cleaning solution to remove dirt, grime, brake dust, and other contaminants from both wheels and tires, the caution against using any acid-based or detergent cleaning solutions by non-professionals.
Rather, you should use a degreaser designed specifically for wheels and tires to protect the finish. Read the label of any tire cleaner to check for the utilization of any caustic chemicals that can damage the finish or clear coat on the wheels. Use a sponge to avoid scratching, and a soft-bristled toothbrush works well to clean those hard-to-get-to areas and around the edge of the rim.
Pro Tip: Clean your tires and wheels before you clean, polish, and wax so you can wash off any overspray or residue. And use a tire gel instead of a spray to maximize the shine’s duration. Wait until your tires and wheels are completely dry before driving.
- Proper Polishing & Waxing Techniques
Now that you’ve hand-washed your Honda, the next step is to apply a polish and then wax.
It’s important to know the difference between a polish and wax. Waxes are formulated to protect the paint surface, but they are not designed to give the paint a brilliant, reflective shine. That’s the job of polishes. Both waxes and polishes should be used for their intended purpose and in the correct order. You apply a polish first to give it a glossy shine. Polishes contain mild abrasives to help remove surface imperfections and swirls. But these abrasives can also damage the finish, so they should be used carefully.
You can speed the process by applying a combination polish and wax that does both jobs in one step. Or, you can apply a spray-on wax or paste wax if you choose. Two coats of wax will provide maximum protection. Many professional detailers use a rotating buffer to create a lustrous sheen. However, using one of these machines can be tricky. Experts advise using a more forgiving random oscillating polisher on low speed. Always use a clean applicator pad and replace the pads frequently. Or, you can polish your Honda by hand.
Pro Tip: Detailers take a ruler and hold it standing straight up against the car’s surface. They then count how many numbers they can see going up the ruler’s reflection in the paint to determine how bright a shine they achieved.
Detailers recommend polishing or waxing your Honda at least twice a year. However, in our harsh desert climate, it wouldn’t hurt to do this more frequently.
- Make Glass Sparkle
You should clean your Honda’s windows and windshield last, as they have gotten dirty and spotted from all of the other cleaning you’ve done beforehand. Use a non-ammonia glass cleaner and a soft microfiber cloth. Roll down the windows a bit and clean the top of the glass.
Pro Tips: Use the back of your hand, not the front, to reach farther down the rear glass.
Properly maintaining your Honda’s exterior and interior on a regular basis will help keep it looking showroom fresh for years to come.
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