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Tidy your car

Tidy your car
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Why is it worth tidying your car?

This post was sparked by a conversation I overheard while I was waiting at the school gates. A rather flustered mum said to another ‘Do you want a lift? The only thing is… I’ve lost some crab bait in my car so we’ll be driving with the windows open.’

‘I’ll cope,’ said the other mum. ‘I once lost an entire cooked chicken in my car.’

People with families are often rather shame-faced about giving lifts. Inviting someone into a personal space like your car and revealing the litter of snack wrappers and broken toys (or the smell of crab bait as the case may be) is embarrassing. That might be enough motivation to get some people cleaning up their car. But did you know there are a few other benefits from keeping your car spick and span?

A tidy car is more efficient

Are you carrying heavy items in your boot? Common culprits are recycling and bulky, non-perishable purchases like potting compost. By driving extra weight around, you are increasing your fuel consumption.

If you’ve got snow socks or chains and a shovel in the boot, put them into storage until the snow season starts. Also note that tools and step ladders left in the boot are vulnerable to theft. If you don’t have room at home, consider using self storage to free up some space.

While you’re at it, take off your roof-rack and put that in storage until you go on holiday. You don’t need it for everyday driving, and it has an impact on fuel consumption. The journal Energy Policy has published a paper on the topic: ‘Fuel consumption impacts of auto roof racks’ .

A tidy car is safer

And you’re not just saving money by clearing out your boot. You could be saving lives – specifically yours and those of your passengers. Unladen cars tend to handle better on corners and you’ll find your brake and accelerator more responsive.

You should also bear in mind that unsecured items will continue moving if your car stops suddenly. The impact of a flying CD case or a water bottle can be lethal in an accident.

While we’re on the subject, are there loose items in the driver’s footwell or under the seat? A tennis ball or de-icer can could get jammed under the pedals and cause an accident. So take a moment to clear out the footwell before your next journey.

A tidy car keeps its value

A smelly car will be really hard to sell (sorry, crab bait mum); and a dirty car will put off potential buyers. It will make them question whether you have also neglected other aspects of basic car maintenance. And they will be subtracting the cost of a deep clean from their offer.

Now you know why it’s worth keeping your car tidy, I expect you’ll be wanting some tips on maintaining a clean car. We’ll cover that in a future post.