Went for my walk this morning. I got really lazy last week, mostly due to the heat at first then the jerkoff with the car. But I'm trying to get back into it. No, I still don't have my car back, I do have the rental still. I don't figure the dealership wants me to have this rental anymore than I want to have it. It's costing the dealership 30 bucks a day, according to the paperwork we have.
I really don't like this Toyota. The brakes are mushy. I've had people tell me it must be due for a brake job, because normally Toyotas aren't known for having mushy brakes. That doesn't exactly make me feel very good.
I think I also figured out why they made us take that car instead of the Malibu. When we first got into the Toyota, I noticed it reeked and I mean reeked of Orange airfreshner. So bad that we were gagging on it, and had to drive with the windows open the first few miles.
Well, Saturday the orange overkill scent finally burned off and the car now reeks of stale cigarette smoke. To the point where I'm convinced either the car was traded out to smokers and nothing but smokers since they got it (it's a 2005, so they haven't had it that long) or, that whoever they rented it to before us, drove the car all the time, windows shut, and chain smoked. And then had his chainsmoking buddies join him. I smoke and until recently, I smoked in my car, but it never reeked like this one does.
No, this won't work if someone has been smoking in a car for a long time without it every being cleaned. But in most cases with a rental car, it isn't smoked in all the time, nor does anyone have it for more than a couple days. I used to work for a rental agency, and one of my jobs was helping the "lot boys" when it was slow. We came up with this "formual" and it worked.
Open all windows in the car. If it's a hatchback, also open the hatch. Start car. Turn on the heater first. Let heater run for 10-15 minutes full blast. Then, switch over to AC. Let AC run 10-15 minutes also full blast.
Get the car vac and vacuum the car within an inch of it's life. Vacuum seats, floor, ceiling, dash, every inch of that car, run a vacuum over. Put the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner up to the vents and let it suck from the vents for a bit. If at all possible, car should still be running with fans still going. Windows should still be rolled down and doors opened.
Clean the shit out of the interior. If the seats are plastic or that fake leather crap, then glory days, it's a lot easier. You just mix up some ammonia and water, make it a bit on the strong side, and wash the seats in it. Also wash the dashboard, and any other part of the car that can take being wet. If the car has an ashtray, remove ashtray, clean out ashes, and toss it in a bucket with a mixture of amonia and water. Let that soak for a bit, take it out and put your nose right up to it and sniff. If you still smell ash or smoke, do it again. And again. And again. As long as it takes. Usually though, we got it in one shot.
Now, on the carpets, we didn't have fabreeze in the days when I worked in a lot, so we would use baking soda. We'd pour baking soda over the seats, and into the carpet. We had a couple of wisk brooms and we'd rake over the floors with the wisk broom to really get the baking soda deep into the carpet. We wouldn't do that on the seats, because you don't want people to get baking soda on their butts and sometimes if you ground the baking soda into the seat, it would make it hard to get out. But, we'd spread a lot of baking soda on the seats. We used to get this stuff in 25 pound sacks.
Windex mirrors and all glass.
After you've let the carpet and seats soak in the baking soda, vacuum it all out. Go over seats several times to make sure you have every inch of it. Now take Woolite or another "thick foam" carpet cleaner and do the ceiling and the floor. Don't do cloth seats unless you know you've got a few hours before the car is going out. For the seats, sprinkle a little baby powder. (Very little) and be very very sure not to sit on the seats or anything while the baby powder is there. Baby powder grinds into fabric something awful and sometimes no matter how much you vacuum, someone could sit in the seat and still rise with a white ring around their ass. Not good for business at all.
Leave this stuff as long as you can. I've left it overnight when I've been able to. Leave windows open too, as long as you have this stuff in there. Doors too if you can. (Of course you can't leave doors open overnight. But I'd leave windows open overnight sometimes.) If you don't have that time luxury, at least see if you can give it a few minutes. By now your ashtray should be clean, put it back and fill that up with baking soda too. Leave it open.
Vaccuum car again. Start car up while you're vaccuuming and start fans going too, if you've turned them off for any reason. Clean all plastic and glass again, with Windex. Seats too, if they are plastic or fake leather.
Spray car lightly with Lysol. Never use a thick, cloying scent, because it will mask the odor, and later disappear. If odor hasn't disappeared, it will still be there. Then it looks like you were trying to fool the customer. People don't like to be fooled. Mostly we used the lysol ("unscented", which is bullshit, of course, there is no such thing as unscented air freshner. Unscented means "Smells vaugly like Soap and airfreshener.") to help cover up the smell of the amonia and other chemicals we used to clean the car. Still leave windows open. If you can, still leave car running and fans going.
Bring picky boss who quit smoking 2-6 months ago and is so sensitive to smoke that he claims he knows when we're lighting up outside, even when he's in the building with all the windows shut. Let him sniff car. If he smells smoke, do it allll over again. (this happened to us maybe five times the entire time I worked there)
If car passes boss, it's ready to rent. But, just to be safe, if the people you're going to rent the car to, look like non smokers? (Which you assume everyone is, unless you see cigarettes on their person) take them out and have them check the car. No, don't tell them, "Cause it reeked of smoke like a bastard, before we cleaned it!" Some people are cigarettesmokecondriacs, and if you tell them that someone who smoked went near the car, ten years ago, they'll say, "I thought I smelled that nasty cigarette smoke!" Ironically, most of these people are former smokers, the type that used to tell you to fuck off if you asked them not to smoke around you.
It may sound like we took hours to fix up a car, and I admit, if we had the time, we did take longer, because what the heck. Never hurt to leave the baking soda on the floor and seats and have the car running and the fans going, doors and windows opened longer than necessary. But, we also got it to the point where we could treat the car and rerent it in less than half an hour. And, we never had anyone refuse the car on the basis of it smelling like smoke. The boss would notice it before we did.
But, this Toyota really smells disgusting. Worse than my Saturn did and I only did that treatment describe above every 2-4 months on the car. So I have no idea what happened to that car, but a lot of serious smoking was going on in that car. Very serious smoking. And, just to make sure it wasn't that now that I don't smoke in my car, I've gotten more sensitive, yesterday when we went over to my brother's place, I stuck my head in his car to see how it smelled. (He smokes) It didn't smell nearly as bad as the car we have now. And we're talking about an eight year old car that has always been owned by smokers. Todd wondered if they were smoking pot, but I don't think so. Pot smoke leaves a different scent. This smells sorta like someone took an old coffee can and filled it up with ashes and cigarette butts. Then, mixed it with water and painted the interior of the car with it, and left it on there to dry and harden.
If we end up not getting our car back for much longer, I'm going to call up Enterprise and ask them if we can switch this car for another one. I don't really like the car, it's bigger than what I'm used to, it smells, and the brakes suck. If it were only one of those things, even two, I'd be fine, but all three? Yeah, it's getting on my nerves. We'll see. I suppose I could clean the car with my old tricks, but I'd have to go out and buy a lot of stuff to do it and I don't think I should have to do that. I didn't smoke in the car. As it is, I've emptied a bottle of fabreeze in the car trying to make it less stenchy.