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9 Easy Vehicle Maintenance & Cleaning DIYs

Cleaning cabin vents

1. Service your windshield wipers

Are your wipers leaving streaks or making an awful noise? The lifespan of most windshield wipers can be frustratingly short, but you may be able to extend their usefulness by wiping them down with a rag soaked in hot, soapy water, and then cleaning the rubber edge with some rubbing alcohol. Cleaning should only take a few minutes, but may save you a trip to the store for a new set of blades.

Servicing windshield wipers

2. Clean your cabin vents

Dust can accumulate quickly in your cabin vents, and the small spaces can be difficult to clean. Using a cheap foam craft brush lightly sprayed with some gentle all-purpose cleaner or water can help get dirt out of tight spaces.

Cleaning cabin vents with a foam brush

3. Clean your headlights

Over time, most modern plastic headlights start to get foggy as their UV-protectant layer wears away. In a pinch, you can use toothpaste—and a rag or toothbrush—to help reduce yellowing and cloudiness. Simply apply the toothpaste to the surface of the headlight, buff it in with a toothbrush or plastic brush, rinse with warm water, and wipe away the excess. (Most auto parts stores also offer headlight-specific cleaning kits).

Cleaning headlights

4. Maintain your doors

A creaky door hinge can usually be resolved simply with a bit of lubricant spray. We suggest spraying the front and rear door hinges, as well as the hood and trunk hinges.

Lubricating door hinges

5. Reduce car odors with coffee

Is your cabin starting to smell a bit unpleasant? It may help to place a bowl of coffee beans or ground coffee (preferably freshly roasted) in your cabin overnight. The coffee will help absorb the odor, and—assuming you enjoy the smell of coffee—leave a pleasant scent behind.

Coffee grounds in vehicle cabin

6. Check/clean your cabin air filter

To prevent unwanted cabin odors from building up in the first place, consider installing a good quality cabin filter. Mold, dust, mildew, fungi, germs, and pollution can all creep into your vehicle’s cabin, and a cabin filter can help catch pollutants as they circulate. Explore K&N’s line of washable cabin air filters here, and enjoy the ability to wash and reinstall your cabin filter as often as necessary.

Cabin filters can help reduce cabin odor

7. Pick up crumbs with cleaning putty

Crumbs and dust inevitably find their way into the tiny areas surrounding shifters, door locks, the center console, and other hard-to-reach places. Cleaning putty (available at many automotive and hardware stores) can help you get crud out of tight spaces.

If you press the putty gently into the tiny cracks around your console and in your cupholders, you’ll likely find a surprising amount of dirt and crumbs. As an added bonus, kids tend to love this activity—and may end up inspired to clean the inside of your vehicle for you!

Cleaning putty to pick up crumbs

8. Polish your window glass

Fancy cleaners aren’t required to get your windows and windshield sparkling clean. To make your own window cleaner, you can mix white vinegar and water in a 25%/75% ratio, spray the solution on your windows, and use a microfiber towel to buff the glass. (Vinegar is not ideal for tinted windows, so check the finish on your windows before using this mix).

Cleaning windows

9. Check/service your engine air filter

K&N reusable High-Flow Air Filters™ feature an oiled, layered design—which provides up to 50% more airflow than a traditional paper filter. When your filter does need to be cleaned, you can use a K&N Recharger® Kit (99-5000 or 99-5050) to quickly and easily restore your filter’s performance.

Make sure to check your engine air filter regularly

For over fifty years, K&N has been manufacturing top-quality protection parts to help keep millions of vehicles on the road. Check out K&N performance products to help keep your engine running smoothly by visiting our vehicle search page.

*This post is for informational purposes only, and we do not warrant that the information provided will produce any specific results or achieve any intended purposes. Every vehicle is different and subject to different road conditions and wear and tear. You should always follow your manufacturer’s recommended service schedule, consult the vehicle owner’s manual, and/or have your vehicle evaluated by a properly trained mechanic.

Modifying your vehicle can affect its safety and road worthiness. Modifications, including maintenance and cleaning, may void any applicable warranties to a product or vehicle. You are advised to contact the product manufacturer or authorized reseller prior to conducting any repairs, maintenance, or modifications. The information provided herein is provided is not intended for any particular product or purpose and may not be suitable for all users, vehicles, or products. K&N will not be responsible for any damage to persons or property, including but not limited to any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, punitive, or exemplary damages arising out of or related to your use of or reliance on the content contained in this post. Please read the applicable instruction prior to use of any K&N or other manufacturers’ product.


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