If you’re anything like me, growing up you probably heard one or both of your parents tell you something along the lines of, “this is why we don’t have anything nice!” And they were totally right. Okay, I’m kidding, I didn’t ruin everything my parents owned, but now that I am a parent myself I’m learning that to some degree, it’s definitely an everyday battle to keep the nice things nice.
Back in August, we took the leap and bought my mom-mobile, a 2016 Honda Odessey – yes, a minivan. I’ve waxed poetic multiple times on this blog about my deep love for this vehicle and how I hope that we’ll be able to keep it for years and year to come. A big deciding factor in that is how well we maintain it. Think of it this way – treat your minivan (or any car, obviously) with love, and it will love you back for years to come. But any mom will tell you, that is no easy task when you have kids.
With that in mind, today I’m coming at you with some tips for keeping your car in great shape for as long as possible. Since I have little to no car experience, I’ve consulted with my handsome mechanic hubs to bring you this post.
Regular washes. Okay, common sense, but let’s address the fact that that the guy who’s car literally says, “Wash Me!” on the rear window is doing nothing for his car. You don’t have to go crazy – in the summer, even just spraying down your car will help – but please wash it.
Underbody. This is especially important if you live anywhere where they salt in the winter months. During the winter months when there is a lot of salt on the roads, make sure you wash down the underbody of your car weekly. You don’t have to go crazy, but a quick rinse will go a long way.
Pay attention to your trim. Every once in a while, maybe while cleaning it, take stock of all of the trim on your car. Is anything loose? Damaged? Missing? Finding issues before they become big issues is vital. If something is loose, it will probably break off at some point in the future, meaning you want to fix it before that happens. For most instances, a quick Google will give you a simple way to fix whatever the issue is.
Scratches. Let’s be honest – even the most diligently careful car owner (aka, not me) is bound to get a scratch or two on occasion. Head over to the dealer of your car and grab a small container of touch up paint containing your car’s paint color. In my experience, it’s similar to one of those nail polish pen/brush sets with the nail art pen on one side and brush on the other. Clean out the scratch with rubbing alcohol and apply a thin layer, keeping to just the scratch as much a possible. It won’t be perfect, but it will be a ton cheaper than taking it somewhere, and it will protect from weather and rust which can make a tiny scratch a lot worse.
Interior. This is where the moms of the world will find most of the ick lies, to be honest. I feel you. Kids are seriously gross and while your car a “no eating zone” sounds like a great idea, it’s nearly impossible unless you plan on only driving 10 minutes with your kids. (and to be honest, even then sometimes a snack is needed.) There are about a million and seven things you can do to help keep it clean, but I’m just going to touch on a few that will help keep the integrity of your interior in order for it to last as long as possible and/or maintain as much value as possible. the reality is, while the exterior can affect the value of a vehicle, the interior is just as, if not more, important.
- If you have booster or car seats, regularly remove them and clean UNDER them. Yeah, it’s a pain, but you’d be surprised how much crumbs and general grossness gets caught under them. Maybe once a month, remove the seats at the end of the day when you know you won’t be going back out (bring them inside and clean them too – they get super nasty.) and vacuum and scrub underneath where they go. Leave the car seats out overnight to air out the seats if possible.
- Vacuum regularly. I know it’s kind of common sense, but how often do you really do it? I aim for once a week and just quickly vacuum up all of the crumbs and dirt. You’ll be surprised how much gets in there in a short amount of time. I have a cordless vacuum with different attachments that can be used as a normal vacuum or a handheld vacuum for smaller spots. I highly suggest investing in something similar so you’re not relying on the car wash shop vacs that are a total pain to maneuver anyway. Regularly doing this means you’ll 1. avoid the dirt getting ground in there, making your carpets look beyond repair, and 2. again, be able to take note of things that might need more attention quicker. Maybe you notice a small spill or some fraying of a carpet. Fix it now before it gets worse!
- Get out the salt. Seriously, I know I’m harping on salt a lot, but if you live in an area where it’s common, it’s super corrosive and basically a car’s worst enemy. If you notice some got on carpets, grab a wet towel and gently rub it out.
- Wipe down surfaces regularly to avoid build up. I tend to do this while I’m at a drive-through or waiting to pick someone up. Grab a container of interior wipes and toss them in your glove box to use them when you have some downtime. They’re also great to have on hand because kid hands are gross and yet they somehow can touch every surface in your car in 2.3 seconds.
Finally, regular maintenance. Obviously, you need to keep up regular maintenance. Oil changes, tire rotations, making sure your fluids are full, keeping an ear out for any weird noises and watching for strange smells – all of these things will help your car live a long, healthy life. Or, you know, marry a mechanic and have him take care of all of that lovely stuff.
Okay, so you’re sitting here like, that’s fine and dandy, Morgan, but ain’t nobody got time for that. I feel you! Moms are busy people with little being running all around making even the simplest task take about 30 minutes longer than it should. You have a busy life – you don’t have time to waste babying your car day in and day out. Thankfully, Armor All knows this too and has created a solution for this! No more dragging out the hose, bucket, and soap – Armor All Ultra Shine wipes and sponges help to keep your car in tip-top shape without the hassle.
The new 1, 2, 3 step system consists of wash wipes, wax wipes, and tire and trim shine sponges to ensure you get more shine in less time. The Ultra Shine Wash & Wax Wipes and Ultra Shine Tire Sponges are NEW Armor All products and all three are available at Walmart in the automotive section. My favorite part is that they can literally be used anywhere. Maybe you’re waiting for the kids to get out of school and have 10 minutes to kill – grab the wash wipes and wipe down your car before the bell even rings. The wipes are pre-moistened and treated so just grab one out of the pack and wipe down the exterior of your car. Okay, so you might get some weird looks, but you’ll definitely have the cleanest car in the pick-up line.
As a mom, I already have a love affair with wipes – faces, counters, hands, butts – I use them on everything I can. So why not use them on your car? It makes sense to me – and since I know you agree with me (that’s why we’re friends, right?!) make sure you take advantage of the $2.00 off any one (1) of the Armor All Ultra Shine Wipes from Walmart, while supplies last!
Okay, so tell me – would you use wipes on your car? Do you worry about keeping our car nice and clean? What’s the spot you concentrate on the most? Let me know in the comments!
Got a picky eater?
My kids eat their veggies every day without complaining. Want my secret?
Grab the Outsmart your Picky Eater cheat sheets to get the inside scoop on how to add veggies to food your kids already love.