Part two of the ‘Guru Mobile’ spruce up series sees me tending to its inner sanctum with a thorough vacuum, leather cleanse, trim rejuvenation and glass clean.
The main issue for me wasn’t the level of dirt but the fact it wasn’t mine. It’s kind of okay to let your own grime accumulate to a certain degree but living amongst someone else’s, even if it is only very light, can still be a bit off-putting.
It was also about first impressions as the car will be used for work and so needs to look clean and presentable incase any customers or YouTube groupies want to have a nose. So, despite not being that dirty I still had to give it a good seeing to as what kind of a ‘Car Cleaning Guru’ would I be if I couldn’t keep on top of a bit of light dust and dirt?!
So the first port of call for the T5’s interior then, was a thorough vacuum to eliminate the third party contaminants and prepare the various surfaces for cleaning and rejuvenation. All areas of the inner sanctum were tended to with either a Numatic Crevice or soft brush tool, from the leather seats which concealed most of the dirt in their seams, and the crappy quality carpets I hate Volvo for cheaping out on, to the dash, centre console, vents and various other hard surfaces.
Vacuuming is usually the most time consuming part of the process for me and strangely it seems the cleaner the car is to begin with, the longer it takes. This, I can only imagine is because I focus on getting every last little bit up in order to gain the same visible improvement I’d achieve from removing say just 75% of the filth from a more neglected car.
There’s only so much vacuuming of economy carpets one sane person can take though, so despite me having a tonne of footage doing so, you’ll just have to believe me when I say I spent a good while wearing them down with the crevice tool!
The brushed aluminium pedals were then given a quick clean with some APC, a soft bristled brush and a microfibre towel. Pedals with a more intricate design that could trap compacted dirt can be attacked with a stiff bristled brush instead but a softie was all I needed for these R-Design items. And yes I know they’ll just get soiled again soon but once cleaned, they helped draw some attention away from the surrounding inferior carpeting which can only be a good thing.
Next up was probably the most important part of the process and that was to smarten up the seats. I started with what I thought were the alcantara parts but soon realised it was actually some kind of neoprene like synthetic material I later discovered Volvo refers to as ‘Flex-Tec’. I was a little disappointed as I was looking forward to leaving some fresh vacuum stripes but to be fair, unlike genuine alcantara, this stuff seemed pretty robust and could take a hammering with the cleaning products and tools, so that’s exactly what it got!
There were only really a few stubborn marks inflicting it and while some of them disappeared after being soaked in interior cleaner, agitated with a stiff bristled brush and wiped over with a towel, there were others that seemed to want to stay. Feeling the seat structure directly underneath them however, I suspected they were actually flat spots from wear against the framework inside that cleaning wasn’t really going to help. So a bit of a bummer as I’d have to just live with them but at least I knew there was no point me wasting any more time scrubbing.
With the fake alcantara situation sorted it was on to the leather which was deep cleaned using some Dodo Juice Supernatural leather cleaner. It was sprayed directly onto the surface here, as I suspect it hadn’t seen any soap for some time, before being thoroughly worked into the grain with a soft bristled detailing brush. Any excess was then mopped up with a microfibre towel and the seat was left to air dry naturally.
I had planned to seal the leather with Dodo Juice’s Supernatural leather sealant however issues with its farty little spray head meant that unfortunately, it blew its one and only opportunity to work its magic. Reliability is key for me and regardless of how great the product contained within may be, if it can’t be quickly and easily accessed, then I’m moving on I’m afraid.
The front seats were considerably more worn and scuffed than the rears and still looked a little sorry for themselves following a through cleanse so I decided to treat them with some Chemical Guys Liquid Leather to help temporarily mask over the 5 years worth of wear and tear until I had the opportunity to get them fully refurbished.
It was liberally spritzed directly onto the faded leather, spread over the surface by hand and then left to soak for a moment before being buffed off with a fresh, dry microfibre towel. Yes, it leaves a bit of an unnatural sheen on the surface especially on darker coloured leather like this, but it also enriches the appearance and conceals some of the unsightly scuffs which is what was important for me here.
With the seats fully tended to (at least for now), it was time to turn my attention to the plastics and trim. Technically I should have cleaned and degreased it first, however I could see there was no real deeply ingrained dirt, so a light water-based cleaner/dressing would be perfect. I went with the fruity smelling Auto Finesse Dressle, which was applied directly onto the trim via another annoying mini trigger, before being worked in with one more clean fresh microfibre towel, as well as a soft bristled brush.
If this was a brand spanking new car I probably wouldn’t have bothered with a dressing and instead just wiped the trim down with a light interior cleaner but being 5 years old there were a few light scuffs and abrasions here and there which couldn’t simply be cleaned away, so a dressing product helps make them far less apparent than if the plastic was essentially left naked.
With the cleaning and dressing of the interior complete it was then time to wipe down the windows which I usually leave until last. I started with a lint-free glass cleaning cloth to remove any residue, then followed up with a fresh, dry microfibre to remove any light smears these types of towel can sometimes leave when cleaning heavily contaminated windows.
If you’re just performing a basic maintenance job where products aren’t being directly sprayed onto the various surfaces you could tend to them first but I think it’s generally good practice to wait until everything else has been sorted to prevent cross-contamination.
Some prefer to spray the glass cleaner onto the towel instead but for an initial clean like this I usually opt to apply straight onto the windows as it gives a more direct clean and keeps the towels less saturated and therefore less likely to smear. Yes, the surrounding freshly dressed trim can become a bit speckled as the alcohol content in the overspray eats through it but a quick re-wipe of those areas is hardly a big deal.
Once the glass had been taken care of then, I basically started all over again, steadily working my way back from the rear of the car making sure everything had been cleaned as best as possible, and this is one of the reasons that filming these videos generally takes me all day as I essentially do everything twice, first to get the shots I need for you, then second to ensure everywhere really has been properly attended to.
All that was left to do now then was throw in a fresh set of fitted mats to replace the tired looking originals. Just some knock-off eBay jobbies for now as a factory set from Sweden cost a small fortune but I don’t think these are too tacky and they kinda help lift what is, lets face it, a pretty drab looking interior.
Finally, as a parting gag I thought this was pretty fitting considering that’s what the new ‘Guru-mobile’ has made me for the time being – a poor boy!
So to wrap things up then, not a huge transformation to appreciate as there wasn’t much deeply ingrained dirt to contend with. However the general spruce-up still helped breath a little life back into the interior and more importantly, left me feeling allot happier at the prospect of using the car for work.
It’s worth noting that limited space, and filming essentially roadside with a constant stream of rotboxes cruising past, meant this was never to going to be the perfect scenario to film myself fully detailing the interior of my new car, but I think the footage I did somehow manage to capture still warranted a video.
There’s clearly further improvements to be made (both in terms of detailing and physical upgrades), but for now it at least looks clean and tidy to the casual observer, with any evidence of the previous owner now being gone, which always helps make a pre-owned car feel allot more like your own.