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How to Maintain The Interior of Your Car
Whether your picking up little Johnny in the sports car or the family SUV, protecting the interior of your car is important. Here are a few tips to take into account.


John Dalog
If you take care of your car's interior, it will take care of you.


If the milk gets past the carpet, Lafeber says the seat might have to be removed so the car can be thoroughly cleaned.”
Take care of your car and it will take care of you. Most of us recognize this truth when it comes to routine maintenance, but what about the condition of the interior?

It may not cause a breakdown, but a car with holes in the carpet can create safety problems for the driver, like a stuck high heel and a car with shoddy interior will also suffer when it comes to resale value. Making sure your interior stays clean and undamaged is a project the entire family can chip in on.

Jim Lafeber, founder of the Chicago-based detailing business Simonís Shine Shop, sees the unfortunate results when people donít address auto-interior mishaps quickly enough.?"The longer you wait, the harder it is to fix," says Lafeber.

One of the biggest everyday problems: Kidsí spilled drinksómilk, especiallyówhen they seep deep into the interior. If the milk gets past the carpet, Lafeber says the seat might have to be removed so the car can be thoroughly cleaned. Otherwise the spill can "fester and get moldy," creating a big stink. If spilled beverages is a common problem in your car it might be time to institute a "no drinking the car rule" or find containers with no-spill lids.

Kidsí stickers are another pesky problem, particularly when they are applied to the inside of windows, says Lafeber, who is also the International Detailing Associationís vice president of operations. Car detailers can usually get the stickers off fairly easily with straight razors, unless thereís aftermarket window tint on the inside of the windows. Then, either the stickers canít be removed or the plastic tint gets ruined in the process.

But kids aren't the only culprits when it comes to car-interior mishaps. Dyed clothes, like jeans, can stain light-colored upholstery, which must be cleaned immediately to prevent permanent blemishes. Another of Lafeberís customersí was applying cologne on his way to see his wife when it spilled, got on his blue hairbrush and the subsequent colored liquid got all over his light-colored seats.

While we understand that accidents happen when trying to smell nice for your wife, here are some maintenance tips to keep your carís interior in top-notch shape:

* Use a fabric, vinyl or leather cleaner to remove dust and grime from seats and interior components.
* Even if you use a sun shade, itís still a good idea to apply protective creams to the vinyl and plastic surfaces inside the car.
* Heat can evaporate the "plasticizers" in vinyl and plastic, leaving them dry, brittle and prone to cracking. Avoid protective creams on pedals and the steering wheel because the products can be slippery.
* Keep an eye out for rips or tears while youíre scrubbing down the carís interior.
* The material that covers the roof on the inside, known as the headliner, should be repaired as soon as tears become visible.
* The same rule applies to sun visors and dashboards. Ripped fabrics and upholstery can usually be easily repaired, while damage left too long could necessitate replacement of the entire component.

Jayne O'Donnell is a contributor to shopautoweek.com, an authoritative online resource for anyone researching a new, used or certified pre-owned vehicle. Consumers will easily find vehicle specifications, features, reviews and pricing information to help guide their vehicle purchase decision.


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