If you want to slay some powder (talking about snow) on the Aussie winter slopes but aren’t 100% on the ins and outs of how to drive to the conditions, you’re in the right place.
Driving in the snow is clearly very different to driving in dry or even icy conditions. It’s slippery. It’s bright on the eyes. And requires a style of planning ahead that’s a bit different to what you’d need on a typical holiday like camping.
The good news is though, learning to drive in the snow isn’t scary – you can do this! The remainder of this article tells you how…
How to drive in the snow
So you wanna join the drivers’ snow club, ay? Complete your initiation by reading the following driving tips. It covers everything you’ll need on your journey to be the king or queen of the mountain…
The first rule of driving in the snow club is patience. Instead of the go, go, go we’re used to on city roads, you’ll need to go slow, slow, slow on the snow to keep in control of your ride.
Remember when your parents told you to look a few cars ahead as you drive? The same principle applies here. Look ahead to anticipate how to respond to conditions.
Obey road signage. Enough said.
Don’t be douche – if you’re on a resort, listen to the people in charge and park only where it is permitted. They’re there to keep you and others safe.
Accelerate slowly. It’ll help you gain traction quicker.
Brake with steady pressure. Hard braking might cause your vehicle to skid or slip.
Listen to your car. If your dashboard is lighting up like a Christmas tree, there’s a good chance you’ve lost traction and need to ease up on the gas.
Use your lowest gear when driving down the mountain. Drive an auto? Throw it into 1.
Use snow chains when advised
Fact for the day
Grip is something that is measured on a scale called the “coefficient of friction”. Typically results fall somewhere between 0 (no grip) and 1 (lots of grip). The grip your car has in the snow is said to be around .15. To put that into perspective, driving on wet glass offers a level of grip around .10.
Don’t brake as you turn. Decelerate and or brake (gently) before you get to your turn to reduce the risk of losing control in the bend.
Use your low beams at night. Unfortunately, heavy fog and mist can’t be pierced with your high beams on.
If the weather is too crazy to continue driving, pull over and throw on your hazard lights. We also suggest you keep the engine running to ensure you can go again when conditions ease.
Parking overnight or for an extended period? All the snow resorts suggest you lift the wipers from the windscreen to ensure your wipers do not freeze to the glass.
Do you rock a dual-fuel (LPG/petrol) engine? We recommend you switch over from gas before you get to the snow and run on petrol while you’re in the ski area. Why? Petrol can handle temperatures of -30OC but Gas might struggle to start in frosty weather.
Take a bag of salt. Overnight your windscreen will build up with ice which can be cleared quickly by mixing salt with cold water.
Advice before you go
Check your lights – headlights, brake lights, indicators and fog lights (if fitted). If they’re not working or running a little dull, you should get them fixed
Drive a diesel vehicle? Regular diesel can freeze at temperatures below 0OC so fill up your tank with “Alpine Diesel” before you hit the snow.
If your car battery is around 3 – 5 years old i.e. reaching the end of its normal life, consider getting it checked by your mechanic to ensure it’s still in good working order. The cold will put extra strain on the battery and will require one that’s up for the journey.
A lot of people recommended adding anti-freeze into your coolant, but the fact is most coolants already have anti-freeze in it – even the cheap ones. If you’re unsure, talk to your mechanic.
Pack your sunglasses – snow glare is super bright.
Practice fitting your snow chains. They’re usually, simple to fit but it’s better to practice in dry, warmer conditions than on the side of a mountain.
The playing rules
Australian law requires you to use snow chains on your vehicle when instructed. The only difference is drivers in NSW are not required to use snow chains when driving a 4WD (you do otherwise). New driver? It is still highly recommended that you use a set of snow chains to give yourself extra control. Don’t take it personally – I’d use them, and I’ve been driving for over a decade!
Renting a car? Usually you’re not permitted to take your rental up in the snow but check with your hirer as they may allow it.
Advice as you leave
Make sure you don’t have any snow sitting on your vehicle. For one, you could cop a fine from the police, but more importantly, it’s a hazard to you (brake and it would it slide onto your windscreen) and others.
The final word
Driving in the snow is a fun experience and one we definitely recommend taking on (what’s life without a good challenge)! To be the true king or queen of the mountain though, you need to plan ahead and have the car accessories at hand to be as safe as possible. Also remember, to obey the signage and officials on the slopes – they’re there to help you.
Need a set of snow chains? Visit fitmycar.com and search your vehicle to find a set that fits!
Everything you need to know about installing a set of wiper blades
Wiper blades – they’re the unsung wet weather hero that we turn on and off with the flick of a wrist. But how many of us would think we could just as easily find a replacement set that fits and change them over? Not many… until today.
For most of us, we hand our cars over for a service with the “experts” (the mechanic), and notice a line item for wipers costing us $XX amount + plus labour. *Oh well*. We had no clue we could do the job ourselves. Worse, we didn’t even know they needed to be changed in the first place!
So today we explore:
WHEN your wipers needed changing. What are the signs and symptoms of an unhealthy wiper blade?
HOW to do it yourself. Seriously, the method we’ve been introduced to is dummy proof – anyone could do it! and
WHERE you can get a perfectly fitted set for your car. Hint: it’s not with us
Before we get into all of that, let’s tackle a few things you might have heard about DIY wiper blades.
You need tools to install them, don’t you?
False. A set of top-quality wiper blades doesn’t require fancy equipment for installation. You won’t even need a pair of scissors to size them to your car. They’re designed for your car which means they fit right out of the box.
The DIY stuff doesn’t last as long as OEM or the mechanic
False. Any good wiper blade will last for 6 -12 months depending on environment conditions and vehicle use.
I don’t need to worry about this stuff. It’s only a wiper blade, right?
False. Mary Anderson and Robert Kearns would be turning in their graves at this question but it needs to be said. Yeah, automatic wiper blades might be small in size, but that doesn’t mean they’re by any means a small player in the overall driving experience.
Our good friends and wiper specialists (see below for more) tell us 90% of the decisions we make whilst driving are based on visual cues. So if it’s raining, or the windscreen is dirty, and you can’t see to safely navigate the driving conditions, you’re putting yourself and other road users at risk.
*stepping off soapbox*
WHEN you need to change your wiper blades
If your wiper is bouncing / isn’t moving smoothly over the windscreen, you probably need to change the wiper blades.
If your wiper isn’t clearing all the water from your windscreen / leaving streaks, kinda like the picture above, you probably need to change the wiper blades.
It’s making an unusual noise
Your wiper shouldn’t make a sound moving over the windscreen. If you hear it make any sounds – squeaking or dragging, however intermittent – you probably need to change your wiper blades.
HOW to change them over
Recently, we learnt a neat trick from the experts in the field, Wipertech, on how to change over your wiper blades in no time flat. They promise this method is fool proof and will take less than 5 minutes on any one of their products.
Lift up the old wiper blade
Rotate wiper blade 90°
Press the tab on the wiper blade connector to release it from the wiper arm.
Slide the old wiper blade off the wiper arm.
Get the new wiper and place the wiper arm into the connector.
Push the wiper blade up until it clicks into the wiper arm.
WHERE you can get a perfectly fitted set
You’ve probably guessed by now, that the ‘where’ is with our good friends from Wipertech. They’re Australian company specialising in premium quality, long lasting, high performance wiper blades.
What takes their product to the next level is the fact every one of their wipers is made to fit a specific make and model.
We’ve been hearing good things about this company for a while now. And as we got talking with the team we found out they provide extensive warranty like you won’t find anywhere else in the wiper blade industry:
“1-year warranty. In addition, if the wiper doesn’t fit or isn’t up to scratch you can exchange or get your money back”
Check them out here. If your wipers are doing any of things mentioned above, we’d recommend doing it sooner rather than later.
Whether we would like to admit it or not, every car purchase is an investment. As with any investment, it is important to go for the right one from the start. Choosing the right car can be unbelievably hard sometimes and we will be making it a bit easier for you with a list of useful tips.
Know what car you are buying…
Well, not everyone is drowning in money so asking yourself why you are getting a new (or used) car is very important. Is it for work or pleasure? Will you be using it daily or just during the weekends? Is it for family use or just for you? Will you be using it as my main car? Are you going for performance or fuel economy? What specific features are you looking for?
Answering these questions can help you narrow it down to a specific platform, like say, a family car, SUV or a two-door coupe. Remember to keep your mind open to other reasons for getting a new car or features you should consider. It might not be a feature you need now but something you should consider for the future.
How about a two-door coupe?
Set your budget…
Once you narrowed your choice down to a specific type of vehicle, you can then set how much you want to spend. Knowing your finances will ultimately determine which models you can look at for a purchase. The price can go a bit higher than your initial budget but not by much. List down what makes and models are within your budget.
Test drive all you want…
Test driving is important!
It is important to get a feel of the car before deciding on a purchase. So test drive every car on your list and see if they fit the reason you wanted the car in the first place. Being comfortable in the car you are buying will be important. After driving all the cars, ask yourself which do you like the most from a features and budget standpoint.
Select a trim…
Once you have decided on a car, the next thing you would want to consider is the trim. Are you getting the automatic or manual version? Do I need to get the top of the line features or can you live with the base model? Do you want custom add-ons like connectivity features or a new set of wheels? Getting the right trim from the dealership might save you the money and hassle of customising your car later on.
Buying a car is an investment both from a financial and emotional standpoint. You should be able to afford your car and love it for a long time. A good purchase will save you a huge chunk of money in the future. By following the tips we listed, we hope you can find the right car for you.
The first thing you need to check is the engine. Check if the engine is making funny noises like high pitch squeaks or some clanking sounds. It might be a loose belt or faulty water pump. Use the dipstick to see if the oil is still black. Any water contamination will show traces of white which means you need to have the engine oil drained and replaced or worse, have the engine overhauled.
A dipstick for measuring the level of motor oil inside a car engine. Wikipedia
Observe if the engine temperature is normal. Overheating means the cooling system is shot and needs to be replaced. Lastly, consult the owner’s manual for maintenance schedules.
The second part to check is steering, suspension and tires. See if your tires are balding, you need to replace them if they don’t pass the dime test.
Have a professional check the wheel alignment and for suspension damage. These are things you don’t see when buying the car so be sure to go to your mechanic to have it checked.
Lastly, do a simple brake test. Check if the brake pedal is responsive. Unresponsive brakes mean that either the brake line or hydro vac is shot. Have it fixed immediately to avoid having it fail while driving. Also, check if the brake pads are still intact.
There is a longer list of things to check out in your car like the AC unit and the bushing, but we are just focusing on the essentials for now. Do the check before going out and driving your secondhand vehicle. Better safe than sorry.
A few months ago, we wrote an articlethat around 50% of drivers do not know how to change a flat tyre. If you drive it, you should know a few basics on how to look after it. Knowing how to change a flat tyre is one of them.
Here at Fit My Car, we believe that it is an essential skill for any driver to know how to change a flat tyre, especially because we advocate going on long road trips around Australia. You definitely do not want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere waiting for roadside assistance to rescue you for something as trivial as a flat tyre.
Here is a short video that shows how quick it is to change a tyre even in heels!
To summarise, here is a list of things to do:
Park your car in a safe spot where you won’t get hit by oncoming traffic while working on your car. Also, choose a flat even ground as you don’t want your car to roll while changing a tyre.
Turn on your hazard lights and deploy an early warning device if you have one. Unload the jack, tyre wrench and spare tyre from the boot.
Use the wrench to loosen the lug nuts halfway. If there is a hubcap and/or lug nut covers, you need to remove them first before loosening the lug nuts.
Use the jack to lift the car up. Place the jack under the car the specific location which may vary for each model. You should consult your car manual on where the location is under your car. Lift the car up at least six inches from the ground.
Remove the lug nuts and then remove the flat tyre from the axle. Be sure to keep the lug nuts somewhere secure. Once the tyre has been removed, place it on the ground near your car boot.
Place spare tyre on the axle by aligning the lugs to the holes on the tyre. Be sure to push it in all the way.
Secure the spare tyre by placing the lug nuts on but not fully tightening it. Be sure that all the lug nuts have been used.
Lower the car with the jack. Once it is lowered, remove the jack from underneath the car.
Tighten the lug nuts all the way. Move from one lug nut to the next so you do not miss any.
Store the flat tyre, jack and wrench in the boot.
There you have it. A simple how-to guide on changing a flat tyre. It should be a simple and straightforward task that anyone can perform. It would be a good idea to practice changing a tyre before going on a road trip. Drive safe!
Everybody feels excited about a car purchase. It may be a new one or one that is second hand, but that feeling of buying something new is still the same. Of course, you want to get on the road and drive it around, but before you take your secondhand car for a spin, there are a few things you need to take care of first.
Here is a guide to help you clean your secondhand car and make it feel like new.
#1: Take out what the previous owner/s left behind
It can be pieces of paper, articles of clothing left in between the seats or some items in the glove box. Take all these things out and see if the old owner wants them back or if you can throw it in the bin. Check the compartments, the spaces in the door panels and the center console too.
#2: Give your car a full exterior power wash
If you have your own pressure washer then give the car a good rinse. Clean every bit that you can such as underneath the wheel welds, the underbody, between the wheels and anywhere you can spray water on. It’s also good to run water to test the door and window seals to check for leaks and remove any debris lodged there. Use soap and water on a washcloth to clean the car. Rinse off the soap with water and then wipe it dry with a clean cloth.
#3: Remove seat covers, floor mats and dash covers
Remove all the custom covers that are found in the car. You can check if they are still in good condition or needs to be replaced. If they can be used, give them a good wash first. We have a guide on how to clean your car floor mats that can help you.
#4: Clean the interior
Now that you have removed all the items left behind by the previous owner and all the custom car interior covers like the floor mats, you need to give the inside a good cleaning. Start by vacuuming out all the gunk that was left behind. Clean out all the nooks and crannies where debris could gather.
If you need to, give the car floor a good shampoo treatment. You can remove all the stains left behind by the previous owner this way. If you do so, leave the car out to dry afterwards.
#5: Buff the exterior and interior
Give your car some love with a good buffing of the exterior. A good car polisher and buffer pad should do the trick. You can also apply wax to give it that brand new shine. Give the interior a good wipe down with a mild cleaner too.
There you have it, a simple guide on what you should do first before taking your new secondhand car out for a spin. Cleaning your car is essential because it will reveal the true condition of the bodywork and of the car interior. If you don’t fancy cleaning or don’t have the time to do so, send it out to a professional car cleaner and they will clean it out for you.
So when that new secondhand car you bought is delivered to you, take the time to clean it first because you never know where or what it has been through. Congratulations on that new car and drive safe!
Got your vehicle’s carpet floor mats gunked up with sand, salt, grease, gum, stains or everyday dirt and need a cleaning fix stat? Well, here’s how to clean them up real nice and get your car looking at its best for the next drive you take.
This guide is one of the biggest online and is solely dedicated to tried and true carpet cleaning methods and questions you’ve been wondering about for ages. The best part is most of the tips below can be applied simply and effectively with things you already have laying around the house. So all that’s left is for you to do is get cleaning.
What do you need to clean from your car mats?
Jump to the mess you’re fighting by selecting an option below:
A clear, open air space away from your car to lay your mats down
A little elbow grease ?
Remove carpet mats from car
Beat the underside of each mat in an isolated area away from your car using your hand or something firm. This will lift to the surface ingrained sand buried deep in the mat fibres
Lay each mat on the ground and, using a firm / stiff bristled brush, brush in long strong strokes in both directions. This will further help to lift ingrained sand to the surface
Vacuum each mat on the highest suction setting. Use the plastic nozzle end or, better yet, fit the vacuum ‘crevice’ (the plastic narrow fitting for corners) to increase suction
If after vacuuming for a time you still hear sand being sucked up, repeat step 3
DON’T wet or use liquid based cleaning products. This will only push sand particles deeper into the fibres of your carpet
Why this method is effective for removing sand from your mats
Just because we love the beach, doesn’t mean our cars carpet floor mats feel the same way. Sand is particularly bad for our floor mats as it has a knack for burrowing itself down into the mat fibres, resting above the base, and hiding itself away from a simple vacuum job. This presents problems, not only for the health and lifespan of the car mat but also for the health of passengers (asthma sufferers in particular) who may suffer when sand particles get kicked up into the air as people move in and out of the car. Not good.
This cleaning method is not only easy, it also cheap and effective in removing sand from your car’s carpet floor mats. The basic premise is, if sand gets trodden into the fibres of the mat you need a solution that lifts it from the deeper parts of the mat to deal with it properly. A vacuum alone won’t do this. Nor will trying to treat it with water and chemicals at the car wash or at home (if fact, that will only make things worse). Instead, you must bash the underside of the mat to lift the sand and give yourself the best chance of removing it with a vacuum later.
If you don’t have one already, the part of this venture that will cost a couple of bucks is the stiff bristled brush. But really, this is a once off buy that can stowed away in the side wings of the cargo area, down with the spare tyre or thrown into a boot organiser for safe keeping.
Now if all this cleaning business doesn’t take your fancy, you can either A) plan to buy a car mat set each year, every year you frequently go to the beach, B), stop going to beach, or C) put your pennies and cents together for a raised edge, non-carpet mat. Commonly referred to as an all-weather or deep bin/dish mat, they are made from various forms of rubber (so no carpet) and feature a raised edge to keep the sand on the mat and extend protection to the carpet within the car itself. Cleaning rubber car mats is particularly easy as you skip the bashing the underside step and get straight to the vacuum and dust part.
Brush mat to loosen up debris, then use vac to remove
Mix equal part white vinegar and water in the empty spray bottle
Evenly spray vinegar and water solution on salt stains
Let it sit for 2-5 minutes. The solution will break down the crystalized salt in the carpet fibres
Blot the mat with a cloth or use shop vac (DON’T use a normal vac) to lift stains and excess moisture
Repeat steps 4 to 6 until you’re happy with the results. Note, depending how long the stain has been there it might take a few runs before it is removed.
Once you’re happy with the salt removal, spray a light mist of fabric cleaner to remove smell
Scrub with stiff bristle brush in long strokes in both directions and blot with cloth or wet vac to remove excess
Allow to air overnight
Why this method is effective for removing salt from your mats
How can something so pretty (snow) create nasty white stains on your car’s carpet floor mats? It’s just water at the end of the day, right? Well, the answer is ‘pretty simply’ and ‘not really’. The snow and slush we walk through on winter roads and driveways is usually mixed with table salt and calcium carbonate or magnesium carbonate – the ingredients required to quicken the melting time and keep the wheels (literally) turning in world; people getting to work, trucks moving packages, customer access to business etc.
Now the trick with these carbonates is that they are insoluble (that is it won’t break down) in water alone. Instead they crystallize and, if not dealt with, damage the fibres in the mat. For this reason, simply rubbing your car’s carpet floor mats with warm water won’t work. You need something more.
Enter the white vinegar and hot tap water mix. Vinegar contains acetic acid which will react with the carbonates to make this once insoluble chemical, soluble. It will break it down and make it possible for you to remove the salt stains from your floor mat.
The problem with the vinegar, though, is the smell. And a quick google search or chat with your neighbours will reveal a plethora of methods designed to remove or mask the smell e.g. adding lemon or other natural essences etc. The trick we recommend however is the use of fabric cleaner as the remaining smell is more ‘new car’/neutral scent and therefore less offensive to each individual’s ‘taste’. To use this method, simply apply an even mist over the car mat, scrub / agitate the carpet with a stiff bristled brush, and dry with a cloth or wet / dry vac (shop vac).
While there are different approaches to ending up with a car mat that smells nice, one rule remains the same. Clean and dry your mat overnight in a covered space that is OUTSIDE your car. The last thing you want is your car smelling like vinegar or damp. It’s not pleasant.
Now if cleaning this method is too much for you, there are a few options. A) accumulate damage to your car mats and open your wallet to buy a new set each year, B) move to a warmer climate ?, or C) buy an all-weather rubber floor liner. There’s a few options on the market which have unique pros and cons (a topic for another day) but share this attribute – they’re not carpet. A good floor liner will also have raised edges which will prevent damage to the surrounding carpet on the car floor.
Bucket or pale (depending on which side of the hemisphere you’re on ?)
Remove the carpet floor mats from the car
Use paint scraper or butter knife to gently remove excess oil pooled on the carpet. Go easy at this first step, muscles, otherwise you’ll damage the fibres in the floor mat
Sprinkle baking soda over affected area and allow it to break & soak up oil for 10-15 minutes
Vacuum up the baking soda
Add one tablespoon of liquid hand washing detergent and one tablespoon of white vinegar with two cups of warm tap water. Sponge the grease stain with this solution until removed.
Rinse sponge in warm running water
Empty bucket, add two cups of cold water and sponge carpet floor mat to remove the detergent and vinegar solution
Spray a light mist of fabric cleaner to remove remaining vinegar smell and blot dry overnight
Why this method is effective for removing grease from your mats
Ever heard the saying ‘oil and water don’t mix’? Well it’s true, which is partly why grease is so difficult to remove from your car’s carpet floor mats. Adding water only spreads the problem into an even bigger mess that, if you don’t get to quick enough, might require a complete redo of your floor mats.
Not so fun science fact: water molecules and oil molecules are actually kinda attracted to each other. It’s called energetics = two things being drawn together. But what this ‘relationship’ lacks is entropy, which is the ability of two molecules to mix together. Think of it like that person you were checking out across the room, but when said person opens their mouth you figure it’s better you went in a different direction. Yep, that’s oil and water. They just don’t mix.
There is another way though (assuming the oil / grease mark is fairly recent) and the best part is this fix requires only ‘ingredients’ you have laying around the house. But if you still don’t have the bits and pieces you need, we’ve added some links at the bottom to stores that do.
One of the core elements of the fix is baking soda, or bicarbonate soda depending on what school of life you went to. What bicarb does so well is break up acid and dirt which is why it’s so critical you get the bicarb on the grease affected carpet floor mat and allow it to do its thing.
The vinegar on its own will act a little like water – it won’t mix with oil. But when you add detergent (the emulsifier) the solution will encapsulate and lift grease / oil from the floor mat. Voila.
For the finishing touch, spray a nice and even coat of fabric cleaner over the floor mat to remove any lingering vinegar smell and blot dry any excess moisture.
Place the frozen icepack over gum until the gum hardens completely
Use paint scraper or blunt knife to pry the gum from the mat. Just be careful not to pull out or damage the carpet fibres
If all fibres aren’t removed in the first pass, go back to step 2 through 3 until your mat is back to its original glory
Method 2 – Heat
Remove carpet mats from car
Power on your hair dryer and run heat over gum until it begins to melt
Carefully peel gum from the carpet cat mat using the plastic bag over your hand. The gum is hot so be careful not burn your fingers
Pssssst… our favourite is method 1. It’s cleaner, and in most circumstances easier than method 2.
Why this method is effective for removing gum from your mats
Don’t panic. The gum can be removed from your carpet car floor mats. And no, it doesn’t matter it’s been stamped into the carpet a few times or that it’s been sitting around a long time. It can be removed. You’ll just need a few household items, the right solution, and a little patience to make it happen.
The method we recommend is the freeze method. It basically requires that you apply an icepack to the gum until it hardens / freezes (hence the name), becoming a little easier to work with. At this point the once sticky gum is so easy to work with, due to a little physics called the ductile-to-brittle transition, that the gum can be gently broken away (even shattered) from the carpet fibres. Think about it, brittle gum versus sticky gum. I know what we’d prefer to work with.
The lift away, use a paint scraper or blunt knife. Keep a close eye on things here though as you’ll want to make sure mat fibres aren’t being lifted with the hardened gum. Causing damage to your mats here obviously isn’t what you want so please be careful.
If it is still sticking after following through these steps, repeat until you’re happy with the outcome. Note: you may need to refreeze the pack if the gum fails to harden as quickly it did the first time round.
Remove the car mats from the car and lay in a flat area
If the mud is still wet, allow it to dry. This will stop you spreading the moisture and mess further. If the mud is very wet try blot drying the mud to stop the muck entrenching itself deep in the carpet fibres and resting on the mat base
Once dry, repeatedly run your vacuum over the dirt. Do so slowly as this will allow you to pick up as much dirt as possible and stop it being flicked up into the air
When you hear the vacuum is no longer sucking up dirt, you’re ready to move onto the next step
Grab your empty spray bottle and mix one tea spoon of dish washing liquid into warm water
Spray a light, even covering over the affected area(s)
Blot the mat with your cloth. You should see the remainder of the dirt lifting from the mat.
Once the dirt is completely removed, lay the mat out to dry to avoid a damp smell taking over your car ?. If you need it to dry quicker, run a shop vac over the area to lift the remaining moisture. See why you need to avoid moisture, here.
Why this method is effective for removing mud & dirt from your mats
Dirt and mud under foot is a part of life especially in colder, wetter climates. It makes sense then that when things get messy the filth is tracked onto your carpet car mats as passengers enter your vehicle. The trick is removing the mess with little fuss and with only items laying around the house. Let’s go over our how we’d do it.
The basic technique described is broken up into three parts – Quarantine, Removal, and Dry.
Quarantine is for the muddy carpets. You don’t want the mud spreading or seeping into the carpet fibres, so the quarantine treatment is required to lift excess mud and moisture.
Removal is all amount lifting the dirt from the carpet using basic cleaning product and mild amount of moisture. And finally, Dry is about, well, drying and giving your mats enough time to air out.
Each step is so easy to follow but crucial if you want your carpet car mats looking their best.
Remove any excess mess with a paint scraper or butter knife. If some excess remains, remove by blotting away with a corner of the cloth. Tip: don’t rub, blot.
Grab your bucket and add one tablespoon of liquid hand washing detergent, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and two cups of warm tap water. Blot with the other corner of the cloth until removed
Spray a light mist of fabric cleaner to remove any remaining vinegar smell
Blot excess moisture and leave to dry overnight
^ Back to top
Is it ok to put my carpet floor mat in the washing machine or hose it at the car wash?
Undealt with moisture, both in large and small amounts, is arguably one of the worst enemies your carpet car mats can ever face. If left untreated, it leaves that damp, musty smell and can even pose health risks to you and your passengers (but more on that later).
Speak to any professional carpet cleaner or car detailer and they’ll tell you their aim is to clean the top of the carpet fibre, not the base. They’ll avoid wetting the carpet backing / base as doing so will make it harder to remove moisture and risk a poor end result. It makes sense then that you should do the same. So avoid throwing your carpet into the washing machine… it’s a no-brainer… just don’t do it.
What about hanging up and hosing down my carpet car mats at the do-it-yourself carwash? Same rules apply. The hooks were only ever designed for rubber floor mats that love nothing more than rinse out. Your carpet car mats, however, don’t have the same feelings. Going ahead with a heavy wash will only saturate your carpet and push water (and the dirt it carries) into the backing of your floor mat. Not a good result.
“Why do my car mats give off a funky smell when wet / damp?”
Have you ever noticed how different your car smells in dry weather compared to the wet? It’s not a coincidence. The reason for it boils down to a little thing called evaporation. In this story, the smells of your car are neatly contained in molecules. And in the wet those molecules are dissolved and lifted into the air as the moisture evaporates. You, being a human, pick up this smell and think the car is somehow dirtier or smellier than before. The reality is the wet carried into the car has caused the smelling giants to rise from their slumber and create a funk. More on car smells here.
“How can wet / damp carpet car mats impact passenger health?”
If water is left in your carpet you are at risk of having mould and mildew. If present, the mould will be visible on either side of the mat and in these situations our advice is to throw them out and replace. The reason for this is simple. Mould disperse spores into the air and can agitate skin and trigger respiratory allergies in asthma and tuberculosis suffers, among others. The obvious repercussions here are rashes and difficulty breathing. Don’t muck around with it and risk breathing it in, throw them out and get yourself a new set.
“My mats are so dirty! I still think they need a heavy wash to clean them properly.”
The above article provides a bunch of time tested strategies to clean any mess from your car mats. If you haven’t tried one, go ahead and find your problem and read up on a proven solution (pssst… they’re super easy to use). If you have tried one and still think your mats could be better, chances are you just need to repeat the process to get the last 5-10%. If you have already repeated the process a few times and want a better result it could be time to think about replacing your carpet car mats. Continuing to clean your carpet mats will only result in either small improvements or put you at risk of adding too much moisture to your floor mat.
“I’ve already heavily washed my carpet car mats and wondering if there’s anything I can do?”
The best advice we can give is to either:
keep the floors mats out of the car and place them in a dry area. Give them as much time as is required to dry. Pulling the pin too early on the drying time will leave you with a bad smell
get a shop vac (wet / dry vac) and pull up the excess moisture. This is a good option if you’re short on time and need it dry sooner rather than later
do both steps A) and B) to pull up as much of the moisture as possible
^ Back to top
Are some carpet car mats easier to clean than others?
Who would have thought that the type of carpet used to make your car mats would make it easier or harder to clean? Probably not many. But the fact is, it does.
Now the good news is most modern car mats can be cleaned simply and effectively using one of the methods above. The reason for this is the way in which they’re made, and more specifically the type of fabric used to make them.
Synthetic VS Wool Carpet
Synthetic fabric (think Nylon, Polyester) is the go to material for floor mat manufacturers and the car makers you know. It first became the fibre of choice for high volume car manufacturers back in the mid-1990s as wool and other natural fibres were leap frogged due their inherent weaknesses around stain resistance (particularly older stains) and slow drying time.
Wool won’t do as a good a job at repelling a stain as a synthetic fibre. Instead of resisting a spill, the oils in the spill can penetrate the fibre and make the stain irremovable. You won’t remove it using any of the techniques above. In contrast, a synthetic fibre ‘naturally’ fights against the spill making it possible for it be removed.
Despite being a great looking fibre that can last long, wool isn’t a great option if your car interior is likely to pick up dirt and spills. Basically if you have or plan to have kids, or occasionally track moisture or dirt or mud into your vehicle’s interior (so most of us), stay away from wool car floor mats.
Straight VS Hooked Fibres
Straight fibres are those that are inserted into the mat base and go vertically up. In other words they go straight up, where as hooked fibres have a bend or hook in them. Both have their advantages and disadvantages but for the purposes of cleaning, hooked fibres are more likely to trap in the dirt than a straight fibre. So if you’re looking to buy a mat, think about going for a straight fibred mat.
In a recent survey done for JAX Tyres, 40% of respondents admit to not being able to change a flat tyre. It shows that basic car
maintenance has taken a huge step back, especially with the younger generation of drivers. The polls also showed that one in every eight drivers aged 18 to 25 do not even know where the spare tyre is stored. Add to that, half of the young drivers in the survey do not know how to add coolant. Also, one in every eight Aussie drivers do not know how to fill up their window washers.
Another survey done by Pureprofile found out that one in every four drivers in Australia failed to check water, oil and tyre pressure before going on a long road trip.
Can you change a flat tyre? Take a look at more of these car maintenance statistics
Gary Atherthon from the Kagan Institute, which has a car care course to teach drivers how to maintain their cars, believes that drivers buying reliable and expensive first cars are less likely to encounter the basics of car maintenance. Another study shows that Aussie drivers aged 65 and above were the most competent with the rudimentary car maintenance skills. The youngest generation of drivers aged 18 to 25 were the worst according to the survey. This lack of basic maintenance skills can also be attributed to the fact that most new cars come with road side assistance as part of the package in case of breakdowns or if they run out of fuel.
Jax Tyres CEO Jeff Board warns that not knowing even the most basic car maintenance can lead to higher servicing costs in the future. Learning how to do the basics such as checking the oil or tyre pressure will ensure that you encounter less problems in the future, especially when to get your car serviced. Running low on oil can cause severe damage to your car and can degrade your engine faster than normal.
At the least, how do you change a flat tyre?
This guide will be short and quick. If you want more information, you can join a class that could teach you how to change a flat tyre or you can also go online and DIY by watching videos or reading about how to change a flat tyre.
Safety first. Look for a safe spot where you can pull over to change your tyre.
Don’t forget to turn your hazard lights.
Use a wrench and use it so you can loosen the lug nuts on your tyre.
Lift your car off the ground by using a jack.
Remove the loose lug nuts and pull the tyre off your vehicle. Make sure that you put the lug nuts on a pile so that it will be easy for you to find them later.
Take your spare tyre and place it on the car.
Put the lug nuts back on.
Lower the car back on the ground.
Go back to your lug nuts and make sure that they are tightened.
Put your flat tyre and the tools used back in your trunk.
Keeping your car road worthy is a skill that every driver should have. Being able change a flat tyre and to check for tyre pressure, water and oil are essential to road safety and can save you precious time. No one wants to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere just because they failed to check the tyre pressure and cannot change a flat tyre.
Being able to change a flat tyre is definitely faster than waiting for the road side assistance crew to save the day; and not to mention, it should be less expensive too.