Fixter, an end-to-end online car maintenance service provider in the UK, is offering expert advice on its website – www.fixter.co.uk – to help all car users keep their vehicles hygienic during the ongoing lockdown.
Key points of the recommendations include the use of appropriate protective clothing to stay safe whilst cleaning a vehicle. Gloves are identified as an essential item in this case, but can become non-effective if not disposed of properly immediately after finishing the sanitising process, or if people touch their faces while wearing them.
Useful cleaning products, which can often be found at home, are also recommended by Fixter. For example, certified sanitising wipes and certain UV light treatments to eliminate virus traces are recommended for cleaning car interiors.
Whilst car owners are advised to wash their car interiors and exteriors thoroughly, Fixter recommends avoiding using too much water in the car, as it can cause mould and bad smells, especially if residue makes its way down the crevices of seats.
Fixter says it’s not usually necessary to go on a hunt for multiple specific cleaning products, all that’s needed is a bleach-free household disinfectant or even just soap, and a couple of bin liners.
However, avoiding bleach is important, as it may damage plastics and vinyl, while chlorine bleach can weaken the fabric of seat belts – so should not be used. Media screens, such as touch displays, may be affected by household glass cleaners, due to their anti-glare coatings. Normal soap and water is recommended as a better option.
It’s advisable to clean all possible touch points, both inside and outside the vehicle, especially including the driver area – steering wheel, central console, levers and switches and internal door release – this is particularly important, as it is used the most.
Don’t forget the front passenger area: glove compartment inside and out, centre console, levers and switches and internal door release.
At the rear, clean the cup holders, arm rests, switches, cabin lights and internal door release.
Seat belt clips are frequently touched – and often forgotten during the cleaning process.
Parents doing up seat belts for children could be at risk of spreading the virus or other bacteria in the process, so clean those carefully as well.
External handles are the first point of contact with any vehicle. The boot latch is especially important after a food shop, as most people don’t think about potentially transferring germs from the handle of the shopping trolley to the latch of the car boot.
You may not have looked under the bonnet recently – especially if you haven’t been using the car much over the last few weeks, but while you’re doing your spring clean remember to include the bonnet release, wipe round the engine bay and disinfect the oil cap, windscreen fluid cap and dipstick; in fact, now might be a good time to check them, and top up the levels if necessary.
In the boot, wipe over the parcel shelf and spare wheel compartment and, as the weather is getting warmer, electric window buttons, window handles and sunshades will be used more frequently, and should be added to the list.
Car keys are often attached to a key ring with multiple other important keys used daily and which can accumulate dirt, bacteria or viruses.
Fixter’s experts also recommend wearing gloves at petrol stations when you’re filling the car yourself.
Damian Jeffries, Head of Driver Operations at Fixter, says “Cleaning your car is not necessarily something we look forward to doing, but during this time it is incredibly important. Isopropyl alcohol, for example, is one of the best products to use and it’s widely available.
“However, Isopropyl alcohol is not suitable for leather seats, so it’s vital to use special leather cleaning products if you own a car with leather seats.”