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  • Denise Stanley

Appearances Matter

I never judge a book by its cover, and I try not to judge people at all, but a dirty vehicle--one whose exterior hasn't seen soap and water in awhile or whose interior looks like the floor of a teenager's room--

leads me to believe that the owner doesn't understand how important it is to keep their vehicle clean and organized.

We live in the Northeast where our road crews spray brine (yup, pickle juice) on the roads in the Winter.

Anyone who lives near a beach knows how damaging salt can be to metal parts. Running your car through a car wash, or hosing down the undercarriage can inhibit rust and help clear dirt and debris from moving parts.


Throughout the years, I've seen vehicle interiors that had me wondering if we were watching an episode of "that Hoarders show." My techs have had to work around dirty clothes, tools, garbage, rotten food, forgotten baby bottles, and used diapers.


We don't judge, but it certainly makes it hard to diagnose noises when a box full of river rocks slides across the back seat on hard turns. Once, while tracing an electrical problem in the driver's rear sill plate, we watched as Cheerios were hauled away on the backs of insects.

I get it. Everybody is busy, and very few of us want to take the time to vacuum, wash, and wax our vehicles, but all of that junk in your vehicle (especially food) can attract insects and rodents which love to snack on automotive wiring, insulation, and paper filters.

Here's an easy routine to keep your vehicle clean and organized:


Use an empty tissue box to store small plastic bags for trash.


Once a week:

  • clear out wrappers and papers

  • gather any toys or loose objects

  • try not to eat in the car, but if you do, clean up dropped food and spilled drinks as soon as possible.

Once a month:

  • wipe down dashboard

  • run your car through a car wash or hose the undercarriage. (NEVER hose down the engine compartment.)

  • vacuum the interior

  • clean the windshield and rear window

  • inspect wiper blades for tears

Twice a year:

  • wax the exterior to protect the paint from the hot sun and/or salt

  • shampoo carpets and clean upholstery.

  • Use a good tire protectant

If waxing is too much for you to handle, take your vehicle to a professional detailer. Invest in your vehicle, and it will treat you well in return.

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