Steer into Spring! Essential Steps to Get Your Car Ship-Shape for Warm Weather
If you live in an area of the country that experiences all four seasons, you understand how important it is to get your vehicle ready for winter. But did you know that there are some springtime tasks that you should take care of too? To help keep your ride running smoothly through the spring and summer months, just follow this quick checklist!
Give It a Good Cleaning Inside…
Now that the temperatures have warmed up a bit, it’s a good time to clean out all the detritus you’ve collected over the winter. Grab some all-purpose cleaner, a roll of paper towels, and a couple of garbage bags and give the car’s interior a thorough spring cleaning.
Remove the floor mats, then vacuum them and the floors. To ensure an extra-fresh interior, rent a steam cleaner and use it on the upholstery as well as the mats.
Even if a nice spring rain or two have washed away all the dirt, leaving your ride sparkling, you still have some work to do, not just to make it looks its best, but also to help it last as long as possible. Head to the car wash and spring for the deluxe package with an undercarriage power wash. This is especially necessary if you live in an area where road salt is used in the winter.
Next, open up the hood. Clear out any leaves or other debris that may have accumulated over the fall and winter months. Give the engine a good wash with a soft cloth and some soapy water, and rinse well.
Lastly, clean any corrosion off the battery using a toothbrush dipped in a baking-soda-and-water solution. If you leave it there, corrosion can build up over time and actually prevent your car from starting!
Replace Your Wiper Blades
Your windshield wipers take a beating in bad weather, so it’s smart to replace them come spring. Don’t forget the one on the rear window! And while you’re at it, pick up some wiper fluid and top off your tank.
Tend to the Tires
If you have snow tires on, swap them out for your warm-weather tires. If not, be sure to check on the tires’ pressure, however. Changes in air temperature can cause the tires to lose pressure or to become overinflated, so this step is important.
As you check the pressure, make sure to do a quick visual inspection of the tires’ wear, tear, and treads. Rainy spring roads and bald or unevenly worn tires are a bad combination.
“Wet conditions can lead to skidding off the road, or worse yet, skidding into another car,” say the experts at City Wide, a firm of personal injury doctors in Houston. “That presents a very real danger of a serious accident that could cause whiplash, traumatic brain injury, or broken bones. Do yourself a favor and make certain that your tires are reliable.”
Fill Up on Fluids
Now is a good time to check the car’s coolant, transmission, brake, and power steering fluids, and refill them if necessary. And if you’ve been procrastinating getting your oil changed because of the chill in the air, don’t put it off any longer. The oil plays a valuable part in keeping your car running smoothly.
Wax On, Wax Off
Do you wax your car? You should. Experts say that wax does more than just make your car sparkle; it can help protect the exterior from spring’s pounding downpours, flying debris, corrosive bird droppings, and UV rays that could cause your paint job to fade.
And did you know that household window cleaners can damage the tint of a car window? Use a cleaning spray specifically manufactured for car windows to avoid this pitfall.
Make Sure the AC Is in Good Working Order
You might still be using your car’s heater once in a while when spring temps dip, but it won’t be long before the AC is required. Why not take care of it now, before cooling becomes a daily requirement? Future You will be thankful to know that the air conditioning system is up and running.
Stock Up for Spring and Summer
Another forward-thinking task? Get yourself prepared for spontaneous summer road trips — or just a full schedule of taking the kids to the parks, playgrounds, and pool — by stocking up on summer essentials to stash in the trunk.
A few items you’ll want to have on hand sooner or later include:
- Sunscreen and bug spray
- A first-aid kit
- A few folding chairs and a beach umbrella
- Extra towels and a change of clothes for everyone in the family
- Toys like frisbees, bouncy balls, kites, and bubble wands
After all, one of the best things about spring and summer weather is the ability to just hop in your car, head to the nearest green space, and soak up some sunshine!
We get it; taking care of your vehicle — especially if it’s a reliable old minivan or SUV, not a classic Mustang or other muscle car — can be a bit of a drag. But it’s worth spending a little money and a Saturday afternoon getting your wheels ready for all the spring and summer adventures you’re bound to have!