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Car Maintenance >> Spring-Summer

How to Prepare Your Car for Summer

(ARA) - As winter wanes, people start looking forward to summer rituals. For some, that might mean packing away heavy coats and sweaters in favor of windbreakers and t-shirts. For others, it could mean a glimpse of the first tulip of the season. And for those who love their cars, it means the chance to scrub off winter’s grit and grime and administer some well-deserved TLC.

“All you have to do is look at your car to see the toll that winter takes,” says master mechanic Sam Memmolo, host of “Two Guys Garage” on the Speed Channel. From plain old dirt to road salt and sand, your car takes a beating during the winter. Here are Memmolo’s tips for giving your car a spring spruce up that rivals expensive professional detailing services.

* It all starts with a thorough washing. “There is a right way and a wrong way to wash your car,” says Memmolo. Because the bottom part of the car gets much dirtier than the top, he recommends washing from the chrome trim and below first, then doing the upper portion of the car, including the roof. “That way, you don’t drag dirt and debris from the bottom half of the car up to the top,” he explains.

* Don’t use a sponge to clean the car. “A sponge is the worst thing to use,” says Memmolo. He notes that sea sponges, which many people use on their cars, contain traces of sand, which is an abrasive. Instead, he recommends using a wash mitt. For the two-stage process described above, use two mitts (and two buckets) -- one for the bottom and one for the top. Pay special attention to your wheels after a winter’s worth of slush and salt. “Greased Lightning’s All Wheel Cleaner makes it easy to get the dirt off your wheel covers and hubcaps,” says Memmolo. “Simply spray on, wait for a few minutes and rinse off.”

* Use the proper soap. “Never use household detergents; they are too harsh and can damage the paint finish,” says Memmolo. Instead, look for soaps designed for use on cars. “Greased Lightning has a new Orange Blast Car Wash which is specially formulated to gently remove dirt and road grime and contains UV blockers to help protect paint from sunlight damage,” he says.

* To hose down the car, take the spray nozzle off your hose and let the water flow, providing sheeting action, Memmolo advises. “This rinses more effectively and dries better as well,” he says.

* Use a good chamois to dry the car instead of letting it drip-dry. “This prevents water stains and spots,” says Memmolo.

* Last, but very important, is a good coat of wax to protect your car’s exterior finish. “You should wax your car at least three times a year,” he says. “People worry that washing their car too often will remove the wax, but what really does it are UV rays and heat,” Memmolo explains. Wax breaks down at temperatures of 95 to 100 degrees. “All you have to do is touch a car on a hot summer day to understand why you need to wax your car often.”

Now that the exterior of your car is spotless, you’ll want the interior to be dazzling clean as well. “Clean the door jamb and sill plates to remove any winter debris,” says Memmolo. Next, wipe down the door panels and dash. Take out any removable parts, such as consoles and ashtrays and wipe them out before you replace them. “Orange Blast Cleaner Degreaser is a great tool for all these jobs,” says Memmolo. “Just spray it on a rag and wipe the interior down for a good clean and a fresh smell. Be careful to keep this product away from the body of the car,” he says.

When you’re done babying your car, chances are you’ll be a bit of a mess yourself. Greased Lightning’s High Performance Cleaner and Degreaser will make short work of cleaning tools, shop floors, even greasy clothes and rags. To make clean up even easier, try the new Cleaner Degreaser Wipes, which are specially formulated to remove tough ground-in dirt without drying out, damaging or fading surfaces.

Greased Lightning was originally formulated more than 15 years ago for use in car detail shops. “It has been well known in car show and motor sports circles for years,” says Memmolo. Through word-of-mouth, and a national advertising campaign, the news of Greased Lightning's efficacy and ease of use has spread nationwide. Greased Lightning products are now sold in over 80,000 retail, food, drug, hardware, home improvement, and automotive specialty shops nationwide.

For more information, visit the company's website at

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