THESE clever tricks will save you a fortune on specialist car cleaning products.
And you don’t need an endless stream of instructions or hours of careful planning to get your motor looking fresh.
According to cleaning experts, there are several everyday items that can keep your vehicle in tip-top shape.
Toothpaste, WD40, hair conditioner – and even vodka could be the answer to your motoring woes.
They’ll help remove ugly stains from your paintwork and even clean your headlights.
These are the best car cleaning tricks using basic household items to save you time and money.
Headlight casings can get mucky and clouded over time blocking the effectiveness of your lights.
While headlight restorer kits can be purchased, toothpaste can work wonders, too.
Simply apply some toothpaste to a cloth and scrub the outside of the light, then rinse and wipe to see instant results.
Rinse your car with water and soap and then once the car is completely clean, fill a bucket with 500ml of water and mix with 125ml of hair conditioner.
Then use a clean cloth to smooth over your motor and rinse it off completely.
You’ll be left with sparkling bodywork, looking as good as new. Quicker and easier than waxing.
Cleaning up your dashboard with olive oil is a much cheaper than using polish to give you that new car look.
Simply dab some on a cloth and wipe away.
If you’re more of a spray oil household, cooking spray is also great for cleaning dead bugs and hard grime off the front of your motor.
Not even the most powerful vacuums pick up all the crumbs and dust stuck in the cracks of your car’s interior consoles.
Use a flat head screwdriver to scrape them out and you’ll notice a much cleaner looking interior.
Things to regularly look out for to keep your car in good condition
Dashboard lights signal standard maintenance issues. These are the ones you need to be most aware of:
- If the battery icon doesn’t light up when you start the car or stays lit while driving. Constant or no light suggests there is an issue.
- A lit or flashing engine light means the engine needs servicing.
- An exclamation mark in a circle could mean your brake fluid needs topping up.
- An lit ABS icon while driving means you have a problem with the anti-lock braking system.
- A lit-up oil can icon means your oil needs topping up.
- A chugging engine that will not start, or chugs slowly before starting after a while. This may mean that the battery is discharged or flat.
- A squealing noise when driving means the fan belt may need to be serviced.
- Squealing noise when you brake means your brake pads are worn.
- A hissing sound as you drive could indicate an overheated engine.
- Smoke coming from the bonnet means the car is overheating.
- Unusual exhaust smell. Blue smoke from the exhaust means that oil has entered the fuel supply. White smoke from the exhaust suggests that water or antifreeze has entered the fuel supply.
- A potent smell coming from the exhaust could mean that the filter needs changing.
While it might seem ridiculous, the beauty product can actually help fix light scratches on your car.
If you have very light marks in the top layer of the paint, clear nail polish can be applied to fill in the clearcoat.
And if you can manage to find a colour similar to your car’s paintwork, applying a light coat to a deeper scrape can be enough to hide the mark from the untrained eye.
Then simply add a coat of clear polish over the top to restore a neat finish.
Your air conditioning vents can store dust and grime, and are often missed when you clean your interior.
Use a paint brush to clean the slots to avoid breathing in nasty particles.
Don’t think you need to splash out on expensive exterior car wash products.
Regular dish soap is good enough to clean hubcaps or alloy wheels.
But make sure you wash it off quickly to avoid streaks.
GIVE IT A CRACK Basic £10 windscreen repair kit could save you hundreds if you chip glass on your motor
Everyone with a tight garage will know the pain of opening their car door into the wall.
To protect your motor from damage, glue a piece of pool noodle to the wall in line with where you normally park.
Baking soda and vinegar
Fabric upholstery can easily pick up stains and hold onto lingering smells, which can be a nightmare to remove.
But using a simple mix of baking soda and vinegar can lift grime and keep your seats smelling fresh.
Combine the two products to make a paste and rub it onto upholstery or car mat stains.
Wait for it to dry, then vacuum up the excess.
WD40 can fix your door hinges but also works just as well at removing difficult stains from both your car’s interior and exterior.
The miracle spray is even effective at removing bumper stickers and chewing gum – all without damaging your paintwork.
It can also be used to buff up wheel hubs and protect against rust.
Not really much of a problem in summer but once temperatures drop in winter you could find your screen wash frozen.
But all it takes is three cups of vodka, four cups of water and two teaspoons of washing up liquid. Shake well and pour into your reservoir.