My best friend’s mom has had her car since 2003, yet it always has that “new car” smell and is so pristine you’d think she just bought it. Here is how she keeps her new car smelling fresh and dandy, and how you can keep your car smelling fresh as a car right off the lot as well.
Refrain from eating in your car. When buying fast food or odorous groceries (such as chicken from the deli or pre-cooked items like pizza), I’m not kidding- put it in the trunk of the car to avoid the odors filling your vehicle. Sounds a bit overkill, but if you want your car to smell fresher longer, sometimes you have to go to this extreme.
Avoid smoking in your car (duh). Even with the windows down, you run the risk of ashing in your car or getting cigarette burns on your ceiling, floor, seat, or seat belt, which immediately depreciates your car. Also, if you do smoke in your car, vacuum out and wipe out your ashtray often, as the odors from your ashtray will stink up your vehicle over time.
Get a crack in the windshield fixed as soon as it occurs. Not really efficient in keeping the car smelling nice by any means, but it does help your car stay looking newer longer. Nothings says “old car” like a huge crack that goes the length of the windshield. Get those little dings filled before they grow like a spider web into a full-on problem.
Don’t allow animals in your car. Of course, for people like me who love their dogs and cats beyond belief (which is awesome) you’d rather have a stinky pet car than a pristine clean one. It’s a sacrifice we pet lovers are willing to make. However, you can minimize car stains and pet hair everywhere by having a blanket in the car your pet can rest on when traveling.
Don’t drink anything but water in your car. Spilled coffee or orange juice will smell like vomit within a few days (particularly in summer) and leave lovely black stains all over your vehicle. Drink water only and you won’t have an issue even if you spill.
Don’t use floral or fruity car fresheners. Rather, use musky, leather, or the “new car” scented car fresheners so you can keep that “new car” smell longer. When floral or fruity car fresheners become stale, they can make your car smell worse. Particularly if you have about 20 of them hanging on your rearview mirror.
Keep wet wipes in your car to wipe down your steering wheel, dash, controls, and other knobs and gadgets often. Might not keep your car smelling so great, but it will clean off all that dust and help eliminate regular human odors like perfume, sweat, and dirty hair.
Like I said, my BFF’s mom somehow has kept her car of 7 years smelling just like it came off the lot. It looks cleaner than a lot of actual brand new cars I’ve seen, and this woman means her business when she says no food, drink, or smoking in her car. She has kept her car in tip-top shape via pure indulgence and vigilance and a nice dash of obsession, but her car is awesome and the envy of her community.