If you only clean your car once a year, whether it needs it or not, then spring's the best time. The interior could have been damp for most of the winter, thanks to wet shoes and clothes. And the outside's been attacked by salt-laden mud, which causes rust if left.\
- Take out loose mats before hoovering carpets.
- If you shampoo the carpets, pick a sunny day and don’t use too much water. If you leave doors or windows open for drying, don’t risk theft – keep an eye on it.
- Check the cause of any wet patches under the carpets. It usually means that rain water’s getting in but will probably need expert help to find where from.
- Test cleaning products on a small patch first to avoid mistakes.
- Interior glass and painted metal surfaces should just need a wipe with clean water and a chamois.
- Hose down the entire underside of the car, paying particular attention to the wheel arches.
- Wash the outside using warm water, car shampoo, and a clean sponge.
- Start on the roof and work your way down.
- Let stubborn dirt soak to help loosen it.
- Don't miss the underside of doors and sills.
- Rinse off all shampoo and then dry using a chamois.
- Deal with stone chips or rust patches to stop them getting worse.
- Apply a polish to protect the paintwork – follow instructions carefully.
- Check your tyres for any signs of damage – cuts, splits or bulges.
- Check that all your tyres still have enough tread left – at least 1.6mm, but we recommend going no lower than 2mm.
- Get damaged or worn tyres replaced.
- Don't forget the spare.
- If you switched to winter tyres, now's the time to change back to summer tyres.
18 January 2017