However, restoring a car is not an easy thing to do. It is only useful for cars that have been running for years and have already passed their best time. It is also advisable to take care of your vehicles to keep them in good condition. Who doesn’t like to see the new side of his car after an optimal cleaning. In order to keep the value of your car as high as possible, below you will find the necessary tips and advice.
The objective of a car preparation is to give the vehicle the best possible condition. This increases its value while keeping it clean and in good condition for a long time. In addition to the two cleaning measures, small repairs are also part of car preparation. This includes, for example, removing scratches or scuffs from paint, plastic, upholstery or windows. The main focus is on cleaning and maintaining car seats and carpets. Upholstery is also cleaned during these measures.
This usually includes the maintenance and cleaning of the vehicle from the outside as well as the often quite complex preparation of the paintwork. As a rule, the care and sealing of materials is also carried out using special maintenance products.
The purpose of this article is to give you a good overview of what you can expect from a refurbishment of your car. In particular, you will learn what factors determine the cost of a professional car service. And you’ll receive valuable instructions to help increase the value of your car.
You can also do various jobs yourself as part of the preparation of your car. However, it should be remembered that a professional workshop has other aids and tools at its disposal. And thanks to the experience of professionals, the task will be faster. Therefore, in principle, it is possible to carry out some of the work of preparing the car yourself, but this involves a certain amount of time and effort. In addition, the extent of existing damage and the degree of soiling will of course also determine whether it is better to delegate all (or part) of the car preparation work to a workshop or whether it is realistic to do some of the work yourself.
In the best case, a vehicle can be hygienically and optically restored by a refurbishment. In addition to various cleaning measures, this includes the removal of odours and the correction of plastic surfaces, paint and sheet metal. Small repairs are also included in the scope of car preparation.
In a car preparation, the car is cleaned both professionally and gently. On the other hand, the experts also remove any damage and defects found. Especially before a planned sale, it makes sense to take advantage of a car reconditioning service.
As a rule, either dry ice or a high-pressure cleaner is used for professional engine cleaning.
Caution: Always leave engine cleaning to a professional workshop. This work must be carried out carefully to avoid the risk of malfunction. An expert will remove grease and oil from the engine and increase its service life.
Engine washing is also an important part of professional car preparation, in addition to exterior and interior cleaning. It must be performed regularly, as salt and oil residues accumulate over time in the engine compartment and on the underbody. Leaves, marten droppings or dirt also cause problems. It is therefore advisable to have the underbody and engine thoroughly cleaned at regular intervals.
As mentioned before, things like engine washing should always be left to the professionals. However, there are some car preparation work you can do yourself to reduce costs. However, this requires proper equipment and time.
Paint preparation is another part of professional car preparation. In addition to painting, it also includes polishing and sealing.
This process includes, among other things, seating, foot space and furnishings. If leather parts are also present in your vehicle, you can have the corresponding areas specially maintained. Intensive care consists of wiping and vacuuming the floor mats, side panels, ventilation slots and the cockpit.
Good to know
The duration of the car preparation depends on the part of the cleaning desired and the condition of the car. It is therefore best to ask the workshop in advance how long the car preparation will take.
Tip: It is best to determine in advance which areas you wish to have treated. If, for example, you want to get rid of the unpleasant smell of cigarettes in the car, the use of a disinfectant will do the trick.
Of course, it is not necessary to have the car completely refurbished in a garage. As a rule, you can choose between different partial services for professional preparation of your car. The following services are available :
As a general rule, one hour of car preparation work costs about 50 euros. In general, the cost of professional car preparation depends on the condition of the car. The costs are also determined by the size of your car and the cleaning work involved.
When cleaning the interior of your car, the following steps are necessary :
Empty the vehicle
Before you can start, it is advisable to remove all objects in your car. Empty all compartments and shelves as well as the trunk. This will save you from having to lift or remove objects from the car again and again during the cleaning process, allowing you to concentrate fully on the cleaning job. Also remember to remove the carpets in the boot and footwell, pat them carefully and vacuum them.
Once cleared, vacuum thoroughly. Don’t forget the trunk and seats. Ideally, the vacuum cleaner used should have a long, thin attachment. This way, you can really penetrate all the corners and cracks in the interior. To remove coarse dust from the dashboard, vacuum the dashboard as well. The best way to do this is to use a brush on the vacuum cleaner.
Especially if you regularly take your four-legged friend with you, this can be a tricky business, as animals leave a lot of hair behind. These hairs tend to stick almost magnetically to the upholstery and floor of the car. They are difficult, if not impossible, to remove with a vacuum cleaner. Use a simple lint roller to pick up the hairs. Hair normally adheres very well to this lint roller. For hair removal in narrow corners or areas that are generally difficult to access, it is advisable to use adhesive tape. Because of its adhesive power, you can also use this small tool to pick up hair from the vehicle seats or floor.
If the seats are still dirty after being vacuumed, it is advisable to clean the seat covers with foam padding. However, avoid using water-based cleaning products to clean the seats. As the upholstery fabric is soaked with water, mould may form.
Upholstery foam for seat covers is available in all pharmacies. Before using the product, read the instructions for use carefully.
Tip: Even in the case of small stains, it is always a good idea to clean the entire seat immediately. You thus avoid differences in color caused by cleaning.
If the car seat is entirely or partially made of leather, it requires special cleaning and maintenance. The best way to proceed is explained below.
First read the user manual. For example, it is advisable to use a mild soap or special leather cleaner. In this way, superficial dirt can be removed.
In order to be able to remove the most stubborn dirt, it is best to use a soft brush and massage it gently. In this way, you will get a thorough cleaning of the material. Make sure that the brush you use does not have any hard bristles, otherwise you risk damaging it. Then wipe the seat, for example with a soft microfiber cloth.
After drying, treat the seats with a pH-neutral cleaning agent. This will keep them soft and supple in the long term. Alternatively, you can opt for a resin or wax-based element, which is very suitable for this purpose, and leave it to work for at least one hour.
Cleaning of windows from the inside
Windows are an ideal place for stains and streaks that form very quickly and can significantly reduce visibility while driving. If you want to thoroughly clean the windshield and other glass in your car, several steps are necessary.
First, wipe the windows with a damp microfibre cloth to remove even the coarsest dirt. Alternatively, you can simply spread a towel over the dashboard as a drip shield.
Then let the windows dry with the doors open to allow moisture to escape.
Now it’s time to use a special glass cleaner. Depending on the degree of soiling, you can use either a household cleaner or a special cleaner for glass surfaces. These special cleaners have a sealing effect. The glass stays clean longer. There are also glass cleaning products on the market. This prevents the cleaner from dripping onto the cockpit. Then rub the inside of the windows with this product until you can no longer see any traces. You may have to repeat this procedure several times. For example, if you like to smoke a cigarette in the car, it usually takes several passes, because nicotine leaves stubborn residue on the glass.
In the final step, use a dry microfiber waffle iron. This will allow you to completely remove any residue from the cleaner and any possible traces. A waffle iron is recommended because its fibers are woven in such a way that a waffle-like structure forms on the surface. This allows the fabric to absorb more water and to dry the glass without leaving marks.
Cleaning plastic surfaces
As a general rule, the interior of the car is largely made of plastic. For example, plastic parts can be found on the doors, skirting boards or in the cockpit. So don’t forget to clean and maintain them regularly.
Various odours can be deposited in the car over time, for example from food scraps or cigarette smoke. The first step, of course, is to eliminate the source of the odour, for example by cleaning the upholstery, removing food residue from the car and emptying the ashtray regularly. If you also want to neutralize odours in the car, there are various household remedies, such as vinegar or coffee.
With ground coffee you can bind the odours in the car and soften them. To do this, simply place a container of fine coffee powder in the car and leave it overnight. The intense smell of the coffee then masks the unpleasant odours.
Vinegar also has a similar effect to coffee. With vinegar, you can easily mask unpleasant odours, such as cigarette smoke.
Caution: Unfortunately, these household remedies only result in a short-term improvement of the smell inside the machine. If you wish to eliminate unpleasant odours permanently, it is best to consult a specialist. In a professional workshop, odour neutralisation can be carried out with ozone, for example. However, this will involve costs of at least 50 euros.
In addition to the bodywork, rims and windows, the exterior wash may also involve maintenance work on the car’s paintwork. There are also things you can do yourself. What you need to pay attention to is explained below.
The first thing to do is to wash the bodywork thoroughly. This procedure is particularly recommended in case of heavy soiling. You can remove this dirt in a car wash or use a high pressure cleaner. This will remove most of the dirt from the bodywork. Make sure to keep a minimum distance of about 50 centimeters, otherwise the high water pressure can damage the paintwork.
To remove even stubborn dirt caused by tree resin, pollen or insect remains, it is advisable to spray the vehicle with a special cleaner beforehand. Special cleaners for all types of soiling are available from specialist dealers.
Basic cleaning by hand washing
Once the coarsest dirt has been removed, you can lather your vehicle by hand with a car shampoo. This will also remove the last traces of dirt. To do this, pour the agent into a bucket and fill it with hot water. Then soap it with the solution. It is best to use circular movements. Use a washcloth for this. This way you can also reach places that are difficult to reach, such as the underside of mirrors or door frames. Make sure you always use a clean item. Small stones or hard particles of dirt that have settled in the fabric can otherwise scratch the car’s paintwork. It is therefore best to have another bucket of clean water next to you.
Then wash the foam with clean water. By the way: the softer the water jet, the less water stains will appear. Finally, remove the coarser water residue – you can use a simple shower squeegee for this purpose – and wipe the car with a microfibre cloth in the last step. This will prevent stains caused by water residue.
Washing mirrors and glasses
When cleaning the windshield from the outside as well as the windows of the car, proceed in the same manner as for the interior cleaning.