By Kerry McNally, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — All week, we’re looking at ways you can make spring cleaning as effective and enjoyable as possible. This Wednesday, we’re sitting in the driver’s seat, so we talked with WCCO photojournalist Gordy Leach, our resident motor head.

Leach, who writes the Gordy’s Garage blog here on WCCO.COM, gave us six expert tips on how to get your ride ready for the spring driving season.

One: Safety First

“If you think you don’t have time to do anything else, put some windshield washer fluid in a spray bottle, get some paper towels and clean your windows, mirrors and lights,” said Leach. “That’s a safety issue.”

Two: Cleanliness Is Next To …

When you do have some time to take your vehicle to a professional, Leach says a clean ride goes along way with mechanics.

“Somebody is not going to the doctor without taking a shower first, so don’t take it to the mechanic without cleaning it up,” he said. “I would take it to the mechanic as clean as it has ever been because this tells that says, ‘Hey this person cares about their car.’ The mechanic might care a little bit extra as well.”

Three: Salt Is Bad

We’re all trying to cut back on salt these days. After a long winter, your car is probably begging to go on a low sodium diet.

“It’s particularly important to keep it off the car body if you can,” said Leach, “because it just sits there and creates the chemical reaction that ends up as rust, and you can see that on a lot of cars in the spring.”

Four: Nip That Rust In The Bud

Rust is like a fungus and, if left unchecked, will continue to grow. One simple solution is sand paper.

“If you got rusty wheels for example, you could take some time on the week end and maybe do one wheel per weekend. The way to do it is sandpaper and paint,” said Leach. “It’s simple; just time consuming, takes some elbow grease.”

Five: Kick The Tires

At the end of a long winter it’s likely that your tires took a beating. Clean them up and look for gouges or gashes and check the tread. Gordy suggests an old trick that still works.

“You’ve got to be nervous,” he said. “You take a penny and you stick it into the tread upside down, and it should go down so that you can’t see the top of Lincoln’s head.”

Six: Clean Means Green

“It’s worth more, if you go and take a car in for a trade in, you can get hundreds if not thousands of dollars more for a clean, detailed car,” said Leach.

Comments (3)
  1. Chase says:

    Seven: Contrary to belief – Dish Soap does not make a good car soap

    You may have heard that common dish soaps make excellent car cleaning soaps. This is only half true. What you probably don’t know is that dish soap is a very harsh cleaning agent that will strip any wax from your paint’s surface. The only time dish soap should be used for cleaning a car is for the wash prior to waxing your car.

    Most automotive paints go like this: On top of the bare sheet metal is a car’s primer (it is used to help the paint bond to the metal). On top of the primer is the paint layer (this is where the color comes from on your car). On top of the paint layer is clear coat (this helps protect the paint from being warn down – and this is also what creates a shine). On top of the clear coat should be a layer of wax (this helps protect the clear coat from damage from the elements).

    If you don’t have a coat of wax, you risk your clear coat being damaged (making the car look dull), you then run the risk of the paint being exposed and fading, and then you run the risk of the body rusting.

    Your car is a huge investment – protect it.

    Eight: A clean car is more than a quick wash

    As mentioned in Seven – it is important to remove contaminants like salt from your paint; as they can cause permanent damage. Like most people, it is convenient to go to an automated carwash facility often found at gas stations. However, a machine isn’t as discriminating as the human eye nor is it as thorough.

    If you don’t plan on washing your car yourself, hire a professional to do it. You can find a myriad of local professionals on car detailing internet forums.

    1. carnut2 says:

      nice additions Chase!
      Some wipes on the interior dash, cupholders, knobs, etc. goes a long way to help keep a smile on your face.