As British Summer Time begins, there is less of a chill in the air. Flowers start to come back to life, the days are that bit brighter and – crucially – the modified cars of your town start to reappear on their summer wheels.
For a car fan, the beginning of spring is a great time. Set-ups are tweaked for summer driving, warm weather actually makes it worth cleaning your car regularly, and car meets become more and more frequent. Nevertheless, you’ve got to choose your transition from winter to summer mode wisely. Go too early and you’ll risk corroding your wheels with road salt. Go too late and you’ll wear away your winter tyres on bone-dry surfaces (whilst looking very out-of-season in the process). I tend to find April is the best month to effect a changeover, as by then most of the road salt has been washed away. If all goes to plan, my Topasblau saloon will be back on its LMs by the middle of this week.
If you’ve decided where and when to switch those wheels over, what else do you need to do? If you’re like friends of motormessenger Greig and Andrew, you’d mirror-polish a set of Audi A8 Monoblocks for your MkV GTI. Expect to set aside 17,000 weeks of your life for this process. Nevertheless, the end result will be worth it on a coiled, custom leather retrimmed VW: I hope to share some pictures of it for you all later in the year.
My preparation for Spring 2014 has hinged upon pampering the tired aspects of the 320i before a large modified car meet on Sunday 6 April. I paid a visit to local detailing maestros Polished Bliss earlier in the week, who relieved me of £50 worth of car cleaning kit. Make no mistake; whilst these guys may be a pricey luxury for a student like me, the results gained via their products are definitely worth it. Of particular note is the Auto Finesse leather cleaner and conditioner I’ve ordered. Made with a distilled blend of unicorn blood, hopes and dreams, it should rejuvenate the car’s 11 year-old leather. Only one of those statements is true, but I’m certain my grey leather will lose its worn, brownish-in-places tinge. Some call this ‘patina’; I call it dirt.
Other than that, I’m washing and sealing my LMs in order to beat the clingy evils of brake dust. Even for an enthusiast like me this job is dull, but Poorboy’s Wheel Sealant is very good at protecting alloys from the worst of the elements. The muck and dirt collected in wheel arches over winter will be blasted out with a powerhose in order to stop the risk of rust. Once the leather’s cleaned and the LMs are on, it’ll be time to break out the Mer in order to polish it up to a perfect sheen. Tyre and trim dressing will get my plastics shining too. Only after all this will it be worth joining all the other modified cars in procession to Ballater. That’s my plan for the first week of April – I’ll start tackling my bucket list of niggles to fix on the car after that.
Summer’s nearly here; get out there and give your car the attention it deserves.