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Car Spring Cleaning: Tow/Towed Car, Get It Ready to Go

Car Spring Cleaning: Tow/Towed Car, Get It Ready to Go

Winter is finally behind us, and spring has sprung (okay… we’re a little late since summer is now upon us)! But when we’re doing our RV spring cleaning, one thing we shouldn’t forget (though it’s easy to overlook) is our tow or towed car! So today, we’ve got tips for car spring cleaning.

If you tow a car with your motorhome or have a travel trailer that you tow behind a vehicle, here are some spring car cleaning tips to keep your tow or towed car in top shape.

Car Spring Cleaning Tips

Spring cleaning our car is an additional task that those of us who tow a car behind our rigs, and travel trailer owners, have on our lists. Not only do we need to spring clean our RVs, but we also need to do a deep cleaning of our tow or towed cars.

This is actually an important task, though, and one we don’t take lightly, which is probably why our 2003 Honda CR-V is still going strong and looking pretty sharp 20 years into its life.

This is an especially important task if you live in an area where the winter months are tough, and road salt is an issue.

Spring cleaning your car’s exterior and interior (or getting your car detailed professionally) is a task that’s not to be neglected, so here are some tips based on how we’ve done our car spring cleaning for years.

Wash Your Car

Like our RV, we prefer hand washing our car. Driving a car through a car wash just doesn’t do the same job.

Begin by really rinsing the car down well, getting as much excess dirt, sand, grime, salt, etc off the surface of the car’s paint. The key here is to remove anything that might scratch the car when you begin hand washing it.

We’re careful about the cleaning products we use on both our RV and our car. We’ve found our favorites over the years and continue to use them with great results.

After rinsing your car, lather up one area, wash it thoroughly, and then rinse it well. Preventing the soap from drying on the paint is key. Just like on your RV, starting from the top is best. If you leave the roof for last, you’ll wash all that dirt down onto your freshly-cleaned windows, hood, doors, fenders, etc.

Meguiar’s Gold Class is our favorite car wash. Despite being gentle on paint, it makes great suds that dissolve road grime really well. It also contains a conditioner and doesn’t remove the wax from your car’s finish.

Meguiar's Gold Class Car Wash Soap, Ultra-Rich Car Wash Soap and Conditioner for Car Cleaning, Car Wash Soap to Clean and Condition in One Easy Step, 1 Gallon Car Wash Soap
  • ONLY ONE STEP: Meguiar's Gold Class foaming car wash soap simplifies your car cleaning routine by combining cleaning and conditioning into one easy...
  • CLEAN AND PRESERVE: Featuring an advanced formula, this powerful car shampoo and conditioner not only cleans your car, but it’s also gentle enough...

We also like to use a scratch-free microfiber wash mitt. It uses extra plush microfiber that holds lots of water and soap to drench your car in the thick cleansing foam.

Chemical Guys MIC493 Chenille Premium Scratch-Free Microfiber Wash Mitt, Lime Green, 9.6" x 2.3" x 7"
  • GENTLE ON PAINT, TOUGH ON DIRT - The Chenille Car Wash Mitt is made with premium 70/30 blended microfiber for extra-soft scratch-less cleaning and...
  • EXTRA PLUSH - The Chenille Car Wash Mitt is made of extra plush microfiber that holds tons of clean water and soap to drench any car in thick foaming...

When you wash your car, be sure to do a thorough cleaning of your windshield wipers. Remove any built-up debris in the area of the wipers and give the wiper blades a good cleaning. Not only will your wipers last longer, but they’ll work better and be less likely to hold onto a stone or other debris that could scratch the glass.

Dry the Car

Before going any further in the car spring cleaning process, be sure to dry the car so that water spots and streaks won’t form. Some people like to use a squeegee with a silicone blade as part of this process, and we use one on our RV, too.

They do a good job of removing about 90% of any standing water on the car, and they’re far more effective than a microfiber cloth.

One Pass Hydroglide 14" Waterblade Silicone Y-Bar Squeegee Yellow
  • NEW Y-Bar edge removes over 90% of standing water
  • 15 Times less friction than terrycloth towels

For drying more completely (and in smaller areas) we swear by our favorite reusable shammy cloths. The way these dry is almost unbelievable; the absorbency is that good. They’re made of a soft, scratch-free material, and as long as you take good care of them, they’ll last for years.

When you’re finished drying the vehicle, simply wring it out and store it in the included storage case until the next time you need it.

Premium Shammy Cloth for Car Drying - (26”x17”) - Super Absorbent Reusable Chamois Towel for Car - Scratch-Free Shammy Towel for Car - Car Drying Towel
  • ✅ EXCELLENT ABSORBENCY - The Mighty Cleaner chamois towel for car care quickly absorbs and holds large amounts of water, leaving your car’s finish...
  • ✅ HIGH-QUALITY MATERIAL - The delicate shammy towel for car won’t scratch your car’s finish or other sensitive surfaces. The uniquely soft,...

Wax Your Car

Although you, of course, won’t wax your car every time you wash it, waxing is an important part of the car spring cleaning process. Waxing makes your car shine and protects the paint from the elements over time.

You want a high-quality wax that doesn’t require lots of time and elbow grease. Waxing a car used to be a process that you’d have to dedicate an afternoon to, but not anymore.

Our favorite wax by far, Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax, is so easy to apply and remove. It does a fantastic job, and the shine and protection are long-lasting. You can use it in full sun, but we try to apply it in the shade if possible.

It comes with a sponge applicator; you simply spread it on, wait a short time, and wipe it away. It glides on and off with incredibly little effort.

Meguair’s has continued to create better and better waxes over time, and this one has been our favorite for years now. It’s clear-coat safe, and the water beading is excellent. Did we mention how easy it is to apply and remove?! If you decide to try it, let us know if you love it as much as we do.

Meguiar's G210516 Ultimate Liquid Wax, Durable Protection that Shines, Towel and Pad Included - 16 Oz Bottle
  • IMPROVED FORMULA: Improved formula delivers a glossier finish, increased protection and more water beading action in one easy step
  • EASY TO USE WAX: Easy spread on and wipe off application – even in full sun

Clean the Glass

Your windshield and all of the windows around your car need to be cleaned, inside and out.

For the outside, we like a glass cleaner called Invisible Glass with Rain Repellent. (It’s perfectly fine to use it on the inside, too.) Invisible Glass is an excellent cleaner and a rain repellent in one, so you get both benefits in one step.

Invisible Glass effectively cleans off bugs, bird droppings, built-up debris, and road grime. As a bonus, it’ll also prevent rain, ice, and frost build-up, allowing water to bead right off your windshield.

Invisible Glass 92184 22-Ounce Premium Glass Cleaner with Rain Repellent for Exterior Automotive Glass and Windshields to Shield Against Rain, Snow, and Sleet
  • RAIN, SLEET, SNOW: The elements are no match for the tough, dependable performance of the Invisible Glass Clean & Repel rain shield spray glass...
  • IMPROVE RESPONSE TIME: Driver reaction time improves by 25% in wet weather when Invisible Glass rain repellent and glass cleaner combines for an...

If you’ve got sap and other difficult-to-clean substances on your windshield, you may need to resort to a bit of a stronger approach. See our post on how to super-clean your windshield for details.

Clean and Treat the Tires

Car spring cleaning includes your tires! It’s important to get the dirt, salt, and road grime off the rubber, but it’s also important to add a protectant to them. Tires age and can dry out from sun exposure. Treating them with a good protectant extends the tire’s life, so it’s well worth the effort.

We use Aerospace 303 Automotive Protectant on both our RV and car tires because it provides UV protection and just the right amount of shine (as in not too much). Originally engineered for aerospace and aviation applications, it treats and protects rubber, vinyl, and plastic and is even great UV protection for your dashboard.

But be careful using it on your steering wheel because it could make it slippery. It’s also excellent for treating your wiper blades by the way.

303 Automotive Protectant - Provides Superior UV Protection, Helps Prevent Fading and Cracking, Repels Dust, Lint, and Staining, Restores Lost Color and Luster, 16oz (30382CSR) Packaging May Vary
  • Ultimate Protection – Shields against UV ray damage to prevent fading and cracking, while also repelling dust, dirt, lint, and staining
  • Non-Greasy – Dries to a smooth, matte finish with no oily or greasy residue. Apply every 3 – 5 weeks for maximum UV protection

Detail the Interior of Your Car

Finally, car spring cleaning means detailing the interior of your car. Start by removing your floor mats so that you can vacuum them thoroughly.

For vacuuming floor mats and carpets, you can use a local commercial vacuum (at a DIY car wash, for example) or your RV vacuum. If you don’t have one you like, check out our post on the best RV vacuums. Carpeted floormats can be shampooed, while rubber ones can be scrubbed and/or power-washed.

Use a damp microfiber cloth to clean all of the leather, vinyl, and plastic areas of the car’s interior. Clean your center console, de-dust the vents, and even clean out and re-organize your glove compartment. Dump any trash and, if you haven’t done so in a while, replace your cabin air filter.

If you have leather seats, treat them with a good protectant like 303 Leather 3-In-1 Complete Care to keep the leather in good condition.

303 Products Leather 3-In-1 Complete Care - Cleans, Conditions, & Protects - Helps Prevent Fading & Cracking - Rinse Free Formula - Repels Dust, Lint, & Staining, 16 fl. oz. (30218CSR) Packaging May Vary
  • 303 Automotive 3 in 1 Leather Complete Care is made in the U. S. A. and safely cleans, conditions and restores finished leather & vinyl to keep it...
  • Safe for any finished leather or vinyl surface such as finished leather seats, furniture upholstery, saddlery, footwear, coats, furniture, handbags,...

Consider finishing off your car interior spring cleaning by hanging a nice new air freshener.

If your car gets dusty or covered with pollen between washes, see our post on the California Duster. It’s perfect for bringing the shine back between washes.

The Original California Car Duster California Car Duster 62443 Standard Car Duster with Plastic Handle, Red 25 Inch
  • The Original California Car Duster literally works like magic
  • Removes dust quickly, without scratching paint

Now that your car is nice and clean, you can check out our RV spring cleaning routine in the following video:

Now you’re all ready for your summer travels!

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PLEASE NOTE: We're handy RVers, not professional technicians. We're happy with the techniques and products we use, but be sure to confirm that all methods and materials you use are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.

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