Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Interior and Other...

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While the car is taking it’s time to drip-dry, this is when I begin work on the inside of it. The very first thing I do is open up every compartment (ie. Gas lid, doors, hood, trunk, etc) and wipe everything in there down. This serves a two-fold purpose, one, is to remove all the excess water from the jams, which will aid in the drying process A LOT. And two, is to also remove all of the loose dirt and other unsightly things that will cause you, or your customer, to be turned away. Once you go through all of the jams, the next thing I do is remove all of the floor mats, and then vacuum everywhere. I use a Craftsman 16 Gallon Shop Vac with various attachments that allow me to get into small areas in the car.

When I begin to vacuum, I scoot the drivers and passenger’s seats all the way back, and then vacuum in their footwell areas, (scoot the seats back so you get all the dirt beneath them.) Once that is done, scoot the seats all the way forward, and then proceed to do the rear seats as well. If the car’s seats are leather, be sure to GENTLY pull the sections apart and vacuum in there because all sorts of crap likes to find its way into those little places. Also, recline the seats, so you can get down into the crevice where the bottom of the seat meets the top. (Sorry if any of this sounds disjointed, I’m thinking of it as I go.) Now, walk around the car, and see if you missed any spots. The main ones people miss are on both sides of the seats between the seat and the center console, and the seat and the door. Both are narrow, and if you don’t have a crevice tool for your vacuum, they will be hard to get clean.
Alright, once you get done vacuuming, this is when I clean the plastic parts that usually cover the step of the door so prevent from scuff marks, but in the process, they get torn up with scuff marks. The Special Cleaning formula of Armor-All does very well in getting scuff marks, dirt, etc off of plastic and vinyl. It can be found at any auto store, Meijer’s, Kragen, Wal-Mart, and so on. Now, once I get done with that, I divide the car into 4 sections (6 if SUV) by making a line down the middle of the car, and then splitting front and back. These then become little “stations” and I clean everything in one “station” before I move on to the other ones. I start in the driver’s seat, and clean the steering wheel with a terry-cloth towel and NEW formula of Armor-All, and then move on to work on the dashboard on the driver’s side. For the air vents, I take a paint brush, and lightly mist it with the Armor All, and then run it through the slats of the vent until all the dust is gone. For the dirt between the steering wheel and the steering column, I take the aforementioned terry cloth towel, and slip it in the small crack that is there, and then run it back and forth until you know all the dirt is gone. Be sure to get the underside of the dash that is behind the steering wheel, as a lot of people miss this spot because you just don’t really ever see it. Once this “station” is done, go on and do the rest of the car.

If the seats are leather, I like to use Meguiar’s Gold Class Leather Conditioner. Not only does it condition the seats, but it also cleans them, and it does so quite well. When you use it, just take a spare towel, (make sure it isn’t TOO dirty) and put some on it, and then rub in a circular pattern over a certain area. Make sure to get the side bolsters and the edges of the seats VERY well, because they are the areas that are prone to the most damage over time and by normal everyday wear. Once this is done, the inside of the car should look almost brand new, if not brand new. If I forgot anything about the inside, Ill come back and add it later on.
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