London News & Search
We can put up with a lot of minor problems with our vehicles, but when the interior gets trashed, we start thinking about trading it in. After all, that’s the place we spend at lot of our lives in, day after day. But when trying to do a little DIY clean-up – after all, how hard can it be? – a few mistakes can turn a simple stain into a disaster.
Don’t look up. Headliners are probably the easiest part of a vehicle to stain and are definitely the easiest to ruin if you tackle dirt spots the wrong way. The fabric that covers them is exceedingly fragile, as is their structure – they’re basically compressed cardboard. Never take a scrub brush, no matter how soft the bristles may be, to a headliner stain. If you do, you’ll quickly find out how easy it is to rub through that material.
Also avoid using any amount of liquid, other than a few drops of cleaner, because we all know what happens when cardboard gets wet. Most quality household fabric spot cleaners will take care of headliner stains, when applied with a soft microfibre cloth or paper towel. If you need to use anything stronger, test it first on a less visible section.
While these units might seem cheaply made, their replacement price is anything but inexpensive often running upwards of over $1,000 and the labour fees can also be astronomical. On most vehicles, the headliner is factory installed before the windshield and rear glass are in place and on certain models one or the other or both need to be removed to replace the liner.
If you knock a dome lamp out of place while trying to clean a stain, don’t get upset. It’s a pretty common problem, since in many cases, these lamps are precariously located in the first place. If the liner base is damaged, a few small pieces of two-sided tape can easily get the lamp back in place.
Cut the glare. Not long ago, it seemed everyone wanted the plastic and vinyl inside their vehicles to shine like the sun. Fast forward to today and most of us realize how much of a visual distraction that gleam can cause when it’s on the upper dash panel. Never apply any glossy treatment to that area. Vinyl conditioners can go a long way to extend the life of your vehicle’s interior plastics, but make sure they are the non-gloss type.
Go easy on compressed air. Many life-hack lists and websites will extol the virtue of using compressed air to blow out dirt and dust from vehicle HVAC vents and ducts. First, unless you’re working from the inside out, all you’re doing is blowing the grit farther into the system and hiding it from sight.
Many vehicles now use small electric servos to open and close various control vents and they can be easy to damage. Blow enough compressed air at a closed vent door with a substantial amount of force, and you can break these units. It’s better to use a vacuum cleaner at the vent with a small foam paint brush to wipe off the dust.
London News & Search