If you touch it, clean it: How to keep your car germ-free

These days if you touch it, then you should clean it. CONTRIBUTED
These days if you touch it, then you should clean it. CONTRIBUTED

Car owners know that adhering to the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule, along with keeping the vehicle clean, is a great way to protect their investment and resale value. However the importance of vehicle cleanliness has been greatly elevated because of the coronavirus.

One question often asked is, how long can the virus remain on a surface? Some reports suggest it can persist for days on hard plastics and metals, which are surfaces commonly found in vehicles.

What should be cleaned? ANYTHING that is routinely touched, paying close attention to:

• Steering wheel

• Gear shift

• Key and remote fob

• Start button, if equipped

• Doors and door handles (inside and outside)

• Interior door pull, both sides

• Headlight controls

• Seat position controls

• Dashboard/touch screens

• All knobs: radio, climate control, headlights and hazard lights

• Turn signals

• Windshield wipers

• Gas door cover and cap (after fueling up, use hand sanitizer before touching anything in your vehicle)

• When adding air to tires, use hand sanitizer after touching the controls on the air machine

• Seats, seat belts and belt buckles

• Trunk lid or lift-gate grab area

• Rear view mirror, back and edges as well as also controls for side-view mirrors

• Vents

• Cabin filter (change or clean)

• Gear selector

• Parking brake release

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Pay special attention to surfaces that you may touch when entering the vehicle after leaving your home to purchase groceries, medicine, etc. Use hand sanitizer before entering and exiting your vehicle.

What products should be used? The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. Also, check the vehicle owner’s manual and website to ensure products are safe to use and won’t damage surfaces.

What about ride-sharing service vehicles? Passengers should try to avoid touching anything inside the vehicle during the trip, and use hand sanitizer when they enter and exit the vehicle.

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If social distancing is causing your vehicle to sit for longer periods of time without being driven, here are some tips to keep it healthy:

• Take your vehicle out for a short drive weekly. This will help keep the battery charged.

• Keep an eye on tire pressure and add air if necessary.

• Maintain routine maintenance including oil changes and tire rotations.

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