The hazards that pose a threat to the beautiful exterior of your car are almost too many to count - potholes, flying gravel, careless drivers/parkers, and of course, birds who use it for target practice - that we almost forget about our interiors as well. Sure, not everyone owns a new car with supple leather or shiny accessories, but if we're going to sit inside of a car for extended periods of time we should ensure our comfort, right?
Whether it's letting out a yelp after sitting on scorching leather seats on a hot summer's day, or that stain on the floor after dropping your coffee due to frozen fingers, it's safe to say we could all do a better job of protecting the interiors of our cars to ensure maximum comfort and longevity. I spoke with my colleague at CARiD, Richard Reina, an auto expert and enthusiast for more than 30 years, and he provided these simple tips for how we can ensure the insides of our rides remain equally as spectacular as the outsides.
Windshield sun shades. We all know how stifling it can be to sit in your car on a hot summer day and wait for the air conditioner to do its job. When the temperature outside gets to be 80 degrees or more, the temperature inside a car that's sitting in direct sunlight can quickly rise to 130 degrees or higher.
One way to remedy that is by blocking out direct entry points where sunlight gets through with windshield sun shades. Most are in universal small, medium, and large sizes, but there are also vehicle-specific sun shades that ensure ultimate protection.
Dash and rear deck covers. Heat isn't the only byproduct of direct sunlight coming through the windows of your car. Even when temperatures aren't high, the sun can damage your interior - specifically your dashboard and rear decks, which are most exposed through your front and rear windshields.
The sun can fade and crack dash tops - especially dark-colored ones that absorb that light even more - but a solid set of dash and rear deck covers will keep these areas cool and protected.
Floor mats. It's important to remember that floor mats protect our interiors from more than just rain and snow. If you camp or frequent the beach, you're dragging dirt and sand into your interior. Just walking outside before getting into your car can bring gravel or grass inside as well. Combined with how often our mats shift around from getting in and out, it's too easy for our carpets to get damaged.
"All-weather" style mats, though usually associated with cold weather, are equally effective in protecting carpeting in the summer. That's why they are called "all-weather!" These will stay in place to collect water, dirt, and whatever else you can throw at them, while also protecting your carpet from the wear and tear of your feet.
Keep upholstery clean. Easier said than done, right? We've all had that nightmare moment when the hamburger we were eating falls and the ketchup/mustard is smeared all over the seat. Since we're driving, we usually can't get to it right away and then it gets forgotten about.
Stains may become baked onto surfaces, and will be harder to clean if not attended to right away. I'd recommend keeping some sort of fabric cleaner and a little brush in your trunk. That way you can quickly pull over to remove the stain, or at least address it when you reach your destination. No one wants to sit on dried condiments.
If you don't want to invest in any accessories, you can also do something as simple as just trying to park in the shade whenever possible, and knocking off your shoes before getting into your car. Either way, by taking a few simple steps, you can ensure the inside of your car stays just as cherry as the outside.