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Gearing Up For A Clean Ride: Caring For Your Car

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

It seems that my care gets “cluttered” faster than my home, possible because, even though I say it jokingly, I “live” out for my vehicle….or at least spend more them there than I do at home. And, when home, I’m ALWAYS busy straightening up and cleaning, making sure things don’t get (too) out of hand.

Still, keeping your car clean can, say experts, improve your driving habits, helping you focus and keep your eyes on the road rather than on the mess next to you.

Start by investing in a seat organizer, preferably one that features a coin holder, a place for charts and maps, and a place for your high-tech gadgets including cell phone, iPod and sunglasses. You’ll also need a holder for your coffee and/or other hot and cold beverages.

Drivers with children could also benefit from over-the-seat organizers that can help contain notebooks, pens, pencils, books, toys, etc. Plus, they are easy for children to have access to and reach, even those still in car seats. Keep one behind both the driver and the passenger’s seat and add a organizer to your passenger’s side for other extras if needed.

Don’t forget the emergency kit and make sure you also have other emergency “must haves”, such as jumper cables, flares, a jack, tire gauge, hazard triangle, two blankets, a bungee cord or two, a gas can, a fire extinguisher, some extra (non-perishable food and fluids), in a cooler, in the trunk.

Make sure your glovebox is also fully and properly stocked. In addition to all NECESSARY paperwork, (including registration, insurance, warranties, and the vehicle owner’s manual), it should contain a list of emergency contact number, a cell phone charges and/or an extra phone battery, a disposable camera (for taking pictures of any road mishaps), a flashlight with extra batteries and an emergency tool set (including a hammer on a six-in-one tool that makes it easy to break windows, pop air bags or cut through seat belts).

Last but not least, make sure you keep up with keeping it clean. After all, if your car’s a mess others may be reluctant to ride with you, or it may encourage them to follow suit and toss things arbitrarily on the floor, making your vehicle more of a mess. Keep a plastic bag handy and use it for garbage. It’s also a good idea to keep towel wipes handy, and to have items such as tissues, napkins, even paper cups and plastic utensils available, especially if your head out on the open road. You should also keep a stock of cleaning products on hand, just in case of an accidental mess. And, while you may not want to pull over immediately to clean it, you do want to address the spill as soon as possible.

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