Spring is a great time to give your car a little TLC – inside and out - and these helpful tips will get you going!
It’s spring! A great time to clean up the yard, clear out the closet and oh, yes – give your vehicle a little TLC as well. Here are some simple steps you can take this spring to keep your car in tip-top shape.
Wash your car. Whether you know it or not, salt may have accumulated on, and especially under, your car. So give your vehicle a good wash underneath the car and in the wheel wells, where there may be a buildup of road salt, which could cause corrosion which in turn can harm the car's exhaust and muffler systems, coil springs and the frame of the car.
If you’re doing the washing yourself, clean it top to bottom to prevent dragging dirt upward. Clean the fenders and bumpers last since they will have the most dirt and grime that can contaminate the wash mitt.
Waxing your car after washing can add shine and help protect the paint. Consumer Reports found that liquid waxes do a better job of cleaning than spray and paste waxes. Regardless of which wax you choose, Consumer Reports says for optimum protection, it's best to reapply wax within five weeks.
Clean the interior. Remove all trash, vacuum the interior, scrub the carpets and power-wash the floor mats.
If you have tough stains, you might consider renting a steam cleaner. But if you're on a budget, try a spray bottle of carpet cleaner. A microfiber cloth and a mild cleaner are also good for tidying the dash. Also be sure you're using the correct cleaner for each surface. "For leather trim, use a leather cleaner. Clean the inside of windows with glass cleaner, but spray directly onto your cloth to avoid streaking."
Change your wiper blades. Winter can take a toll on your windshield wiper blades, so to prepare for spring showers, it’s a good idea to replace them. Newer blades will be more effective at clearing water, and will help you see. If your wiper blades are not clearing water effectively or cause streaking, it's probably time for a new pair.
Check your tires. Between inclement weather and its resulting potholes, winter can wear down your tires. To test your tires for wear, insert a quarter into each tire's grooves. If Washington's head is covered, you likely have enough tread to drive safely. And remember, keeping your tire pressure at manufacturer-recommended levels can increase gas mileage by 3 percent. If you use winter tires, make sure to replace them with your non-winter tires.
Inspect your ventilation system. To prepare for warmer weather and ensure cabin comfort, be sure your air conditioner is functioning properly. Turn on your car's air conditioner to its highest setting and make sure it reaches a cool temperature in a reasonable amount of time. If it doesn't, you should schedule maintenance.
Check and replace your fluids. To preserve the health and life of your car, it's essential to regularly check your engine oil and replace it when necessary. You should add oil if your dipstick indicates that it's below the manufacturer-recommend level. You should also check the oil's color. If it appears lighter, it could be an indication of engine trouble. Also, make sure your windshield wiper fluid is topped off, if needed, since it can be depleted by winter weather.