If you live in a condo, apartment, or anywhere that space and infrastructure to clean, maintain and care for your car is limited, it’s still possible to give your beloved car the TLC it deserves, provided you’ve got the right products and tools for the job.
Below, we’ve highlighted a few of our top tips and products to help you clean and maintain your car right in its parking spot — and even if space, water, and electricity are at a premium.
Cordless Cleaning: Options are numerous and abundant in cordless cleaning solutions for your car when it comes to vacuuming up dust, pet hair, crumbs and the like. We suggest spending a little extra on a quality, battery-powered vacuum from a reputable brand that you can recharge in your living room. Accessory attachment brushes make quick work of nooks and crannies, and some cordless vacuums are great to take camping or can be used to clean your apartment or condo, too. Forget the extension cord: a quality cordless vacuum packs a performance punch, is easy to use, highly portable, and always ready when you need it.
Simple Maintenance with Minimal Tools: Various tasks relating to automotive maintenance require few if any hand tools, are relatively inexpensive to perform, and can be tackled easily without driving your car anywhere. In the majority of vehicles, changing a cabin air filter, an engine air filter, and even spark-plugs is possible with little more than a basic toolkit. Be sure to check YouTube or an owner’s forum for instructions on how to perform the desired tasks on your specific car before heading down to your vehicle, and bring some battery-powered lighting with you for maximum visibility.
On many vehicles, changing filters, plugs, and adding some fuel injector cleaner amounts to a solid tune-up that costs little, and makes a great activity for a rainy weekend afternoon. Add a tire pressure gauge and an OBD scanner to your car-care product arsenal, and you’ll be able to tackle a range of maintenance and diagnostic tasks without a visit to the shop.
Wash and Wax with (Almost) No Water: Washing your car on a nice day takes away from time you could spend driving it — and with the right products, washing your car right in your parking garage on a rainy day is a thing that’s possible. Forget visiting the coin wash or the automated Scrape-and-Wash at your local gas station and grab yourself some Optimum No Rinse (ONR) instead. The ultimate in car care for tight spaces with restricted water, you use one ounce of ONR in 2 gallons of water, gently sponge it over your car, and dry as you go, one panel at a time. It cleans paint to a brilliant shine, and allows you to wash your car indoors with little more than a few small puddles left behind. Fill your wash pail in your kitchen sink, grab a sponge and drying towel, and you’re off to the races. No hose is required, as you needn’t pre-soak your ride first, or rinse it after. Best of all, after washing your car, you can dunk a clean rag into your wash pail and use it to clean your dash, console, wheels, windows, and more.
ONR is a remarkably flexible car cleaner that can replace numerous products in your wash caddy, and cuts water use drastically. Complete the job with some spray detailer or spray wax on your freshly cleaned ride for a just-waxed, water repelling shine with minimal time and no need for an electric buffer.
Battery Boost: Don’t return from a long trip to a car with a dead battery. Hooking up a trickle charger to your car to sustain its battery is a great idea if you won’t be driving it for an extended period, provided you’ve got a parking space with a power outlet. If that’s not the case, a quality booster pack can be recharged ahead of time, and used to restart a dead battery multiple times on a single charge. Charge one up and leave it in your car just in case. Many booster packs also include a flashlight and can recharge your mobile electronics, making them great to take along for a camping trip, too.
A Car Cover: Keep that car shiny, protected and secure with a quality car cover when your ride will be parked for the short or long term. Not only will your car cover prevent dust, precipitation and other contaminants from getting all over your paint in the parking lot or garage, it can also protect from small scratches and dings if anyone walks carelessly past. A car cover also keeps your ride’s interior and its contents away from prying eyes.
A Wheeled Caddy for Maximum Portability: If you’ve got a cornucopia of car care products that you use on a regular basis, consider a wheeled detailing caddy or cart. Many are available with multiple compartments for your bottles, aerosol cans, microfiber towels, cleaning solutions, brushes, sponges and the like — and with a set of wheels and a retractable handle, they make it easy to keep your car-care gear organized, tidy, and portable. Wheel your cart down the hall and into the parking garage when needed, then wheel it straight back to the closet for next time when you’re done.
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