Lincoln car after a car wash

You can count on our expert service team to keep your Lincoln operating at peak performance. There are additional steps you can take, yourself, to continue maintaining your vehicle in showroom condition - from the inside out. All you’ll need are some cleaning products, a nice day, and a little initiative. By taking proper care of your vehicle’s interior and exterior, you can help preserve your Lincoln’s value, enhancing and extending your ownership enjoyment.

Car care products

Locate or buy the following car care products before starting this project

  • For cleaning the interior, you may need: a car vacuum cleaner with brush and crevice attachments, cotton swabs, plastic and vinyl cleaner, cloth cleaner, leather cleaner, spot/stain remover, and microfiber or paper towels.

  • For cleaning the exterior, you may need: detailing spray, bug and tar remover, car wash soap, clay bar, wax, ammonia-free glass cleaner, wheel cleaner, lambswool wash mitt, microfiber drying towels
 and polishing cloths, microfiber or foam wax applicators, large nylon- or natural-bristle brush, small detail brush, wash bucket, water hose, and optional pre-wax cleaner, scratch remover, and 

Cleaning the interior


Start by vacuuming the carpet, seats, and dash and package shelf. A vacuum attachment with a brush can help dislodge stubborn dirt; a narrow crevice attachment can help clean hard-to-reach spots, e.g., underneath the seats.

Clean cloth seats

Clean cloth seats with an appropriate cleaning solution; spread it around with a sponge, and then let it sit for a few minutes. Vacuum seats, once they’re dry. Any leftover cleaner can be removed with a clean towel.

Clean and condition leather

Help remove stains and grime from leather surfaces with a quality leather cleaner, a clean towel, and light pressure. Be cautious not to rub too hard, excessive pressure may remove the dye.

Tips for trim pieces

Shine up your interior trim pieces with a plastic and vinyl cleaner. Apply this solution with a clean towel and a little elbow grease to help remove set-in grime. Most cleaners also have the added benefit of long-term protection once they soak in. Clean hard-to-reach crevices with cotton swabs, which work well for the instrument cluster, emblems, switches, air vents, audio system, and dash.

Remove carpet stains

Treat carpet and upholstery stains with a stain lifter like Motorcraft® Professional Strength Carpet and Upholstery Cleaner, or Motorcraft Spot and Stain Remover. Let the solution soak in for a few minutes, and then scrub spots with a plastic-bristle brush. Wipe clean with a new cloth, and then vacuum again. Repeat the process on stubborn stains.

Cleaning the exterior

Inspect your paint

First, go over your entire vehicle to find any trouble spots, e.g., contaminants like bird droppings, tar, and tree sap, as well as scratches, swirls, and chips. Pretreat any soft contaminants with detailing spray; use Motorcraft Bug and Tar Remover on hardened tar or bugs.

Hand wash tips

Park your vehicle in the shade, and then wash it with a bucket of Motorcraft Detail Wash and a lambswool wash mitt. Always wash from the top of the vehicle down. A nylon or natural-bristle brush will help get dirt out of tire sidewalls.

Rinse and dry

Next, rinse the vehicle by flooding it with a garden hose from the top down—this “pulls” the water off in large sheets. Dry the vehicle from the top down with microfiber drying towels. Dry the windows first, then move on to the paint. Always dry the vehicle in the shade, and be sure to get it dry before water spots form.

Remove contaminants with clay

Place your hand on the vehicle’s hood, and gently slide your fingers up and down the hood. You’ll be able to “feel” the contaminants on your fingertips — they feel like little bumps on the surface. If your paint is new, and the surface feels completely smooth, you can skip to the next part.

If you feel contaminants, use a clay bar to remove them. Flatten the clay bar so that it fits in your hand, and grab your detailing spray in the other hand. Then, spray detailer on a panel to lubricate the clay, and gently rub the flattened clay back and forth over the entire paint surface. Treat one panel at a time. When dry, repeat the fingertip test—the paint should now be clean.

Add wax

You should always wax the vehicle after using a clay bar. There are two ways to wax: If your paint has lots of swirls and scratches, it will need a multistage system that uses separate applications of scratch remover, cleaners, and a glaze, in addition to wax. If your paint is new and/or in good shape, you’ll need only wax.

Put a small amount of wax onto a microfiber or foam applicator pad. Put the applicator on a top panel like the roof or hood, and, using a circular motion, apply the wax to a couple of panels at a time. Dried wax should show only a light haze—bright white means you’re using too much.

Remove the dried wax using microfiber or all-cotton cloths. Be sure to turn the cloths over often, so the wax doesn’t load up on them. When you are done, use a clean cloth to do a final pass over the paint, and remove any wax lodged in tight areas like emblems and spaces between body panels.

Clear up windows and mirrors

Clean your exterior and interior windows and mirrors by spraying an ammonia-free cleaner onto a lint-free or microfiber towel. Ammonia-free cleaners smell better, won’t streak, won’t damage window tint, and won’t damage your interior if you overspray. If you see any hard water spots on your windows or windshield, a good chrome polish can remove them.

Choosing the right wheel cleaner

Before buying a wheel cleaner, check your owner’s manual to find out which kind of wheels you have.

Wheels can be:

  • Painted, anodized, and clear-coated aluminum (many factory wheels)

  • Polished aluminum

  • Polished magnesium

  • Chrome

When you know your wheel type, you can choose an appropriate cleaner: Motorcraft Wheel and Tire Cleaner is great for factory clear-coated wheels, a chrome wheel cleaner works for chrome wheels, and there are polishes for uncoated aluminum and magnesium wheels.

To clean your wheels, wash them with soapy water, then rinse. Attack brake dust and grime with your spray-on or paste wheel cleaner, and always remove it quickly by either hosing off the spray cleaner with water, or wiping the paste residue off with a clean cotton towel. Repeat when necessary, and then do a final wipe with a clean towel to ensure that the cleaner has been completely removed.