Spring has sprung, snow is nothing but a distant memory and the sun is making more of a regular appearance. So now that the days are longer and warmer it's time to show some love to your car.
So, I took my 2006 MINI Cooper S with GP kit to the cleaning masters at Autoglym to get the lowdown on how to give your car back that showroom shine.
My car is in pretty good condition overall and I admit it wasn't used in the worst of the December weather, but it will be interesting for me to see what it will look like once Martin from Autoglym has worked his magic.
Check out the results in the gallery below:
Give your car a spring clean the Autoglym way
Spring clean your car the Autoglym way
Here's my beloved 2006 MINI Cooper S GP at Autoglym headquarters, ready for its spring clean makeover.
Off the road for the worst of the winter weather, a dirty cross-country drive should give Autoglym's Martin something to work on.
Martin is starting on my distinctive 18's first. He's keen to stress that that they shouldn't be hot, so they're being sprayed with a hose here.
Martin is using Autoglym's new Custom wheel cleaner, which removes even the toughest dust, corrosion and traffic film. Yet, it's still kind to the laquer of my intricate four-spokers.
Now it's time to move on to the bodywork. Martin's using a pro, two-bucket method to hand wash my car. The bucket furthest away is filled with Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner, whilst the second one is just filled with water with a strainer, which is to clean the sponge and keep grit off the paintwork.
Martin recommends working from the top to the bottom of the car with the sponge, here he's got to the GP's chunky side skirts.
Don't forget the door shuts! It may seem odd to open the doors of a wet car and as Martin says, few owners do this, but the result will add to that 'new car look'. If it's too dirty, use a non-corrosive cleaner, but try not to get water in the interior.
Now it's time to rinse off the suds, try to do this before the car has had a chance to dry - especially on hot days as this can lead to water marks that are difficult to remove.
Now it's time to dry the car off, Martin's using a synthetic chamois here but you could use a real one. However, Autoglym say that the synthetic chamois will dry a car quicker and won't rot.
Drying off the door shuts. Martin is keen to stress that this should be done everytime you wash the car to keep them looking this good.
Now it's time to move on to the interior. Mine is free from rubbish, but if yours isn't, start by emptying the contents into a handy plastic bag. After cleaning just put back what you need!
Martin's got the hoover out here to remove as much dirt and dust from the floor as he can. If the carpet's really dirty, use a stiff brush.
Attention to detail is key here, Martin's using a soft brush to remove dust from the dashboard airvents.
Mats are best dealt with outside the MINI. Martin's brushed, vacuumed and sprayed them with shampoo here. Again his attention to detail amazes me, just at how he's managed to stripe the pile of the mats with a little brush. They're then left to dry.
Time to move on to the headlining. Martin suggests using a damp, clean chamois that's obviously not been used on the outside of the car.
The seats are next, Martin's using leather cleaner here to clean and freshen the hide.
The engine bay was the part of my car that I was least happy with. Martin's used engine cling film to cover all the electrical components and given the engine a good going over with engine and machine cleaner. It's looking good to me.
Don't forget the windows! Smears on glass will stand out a mile against the clean paintwork. Martin's used Autoglym's Fast Glass, which removes film and grease from glass. You could also use glass polish.
It's at this point you could use a clay kit to remove hidden contaminants from the paint, but Martin reckons my car is clean enough to skip to the waxing stage. Claying is really for the perfectionist, but it's amazing what a penny-sized bit of clay can remove!
Martin is using Autoglym's ultimate High Definition wax, with it's own sponge applicator and polishing cloth. Though any decent wax would do. Even though we're not quite finished, the shine of my Thunder Blue and Silver paintwork is impressive.
Here' s the finished engine bay, now it's this clean I'm really keen to keep it this way.
Although the interior of my car wasn't too dirty in the first place, Martin's hard work has paid off. I'm sure I could show off my car with good results.
I love this, like the mats, Martin has even managed to stripe the pile of the carpet in the back of my MINI. This level of detail would surely achieve prizes in competitions.
After it's spring clean makeover. my car just looks stunning. Maybe see you at a show over the summer and check to see if I can keep it this way!