How to Protect Your Car’s Interior

If you know anything about cars, you know depreciation is the name of the game – at least how it’s played by the folks who buy and sell them.

Even by driving your shiny new wheels off the dealership, the meter starts running slowly downward on its value – estimated that a Nissan 370Z bought for $29,800 will have dropped to $12,069 in value five years later, a 40 percent reduction.

What can owners do to keep a vehicle’s value as high as possible? A lot, actually. Auto experts recommend taking care of the outside with regular washes throughout the year, extra cleanings during the winter (especially if you live in a place that uses roadway de-icer in winter), and paying attention to all recommended service appointments and oil changes.

What about the interior? What kinds of things can car owners do to make sure everything looks good and stays as clean as possible with your car interior? Declare the car a no-food and no-drink zone, and be ready to enforce this rule. Kids, family members, co-workers, even yourself, have likely accidentally spilled a snack or meal in your car and have left something behind, whether it’s an old French fry or a spilled milkshake. The former is much easier to clean up than the latter, but aren’t always as easy to notice. You might have to get tough on people who are accustomed to eating meals or at least snacking on the road.

Cover surfaces as much as possible. Start with floor mats, which keep you from tracking in mud or dirt and grinding it into the carpets with your feet. Add seat covers, which can protect seat upholstery, may aid your posture and even help customize the look of your car. There may be plenty of shiny cars out there, but not many with this sort of special seat cover.

Wipe the glass. Though you think you can see out of the dashboard just fine, grime can build up quickly simply from your breathing, and you may not even realize it until you start scrubbing. The build-up is even greater if you or a passenger is a smoker. But any grime also can be quickly removed even with basic glass cleaner. Combine a favorite cleaner with a soft terrycloth-type towel that won’t leave streaks or particles and wipe the whole thing down.

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