With spring well on its way it is about time to give your car a little tender-loving care. Giving your vehicle a good spring cleaning will give you a chance to get rid of all the accumulated junk, dirt, and grime that has found its way into the interior as well as the exterior. Start with the simple things first and then work your way up from there.
Clear out the interior
Slap on a pair of cleaning gloves and bring a plastic bag or two with you when starting on the interior. Pick out any large pieces of garbage and drop them into a plastic bag for you to throw away later. Do not forget to clear out the glove compartment as well as the compartments in the dashboard and under the armrests. Once you have removed the larger bits trash you need to get into the nitty-gritty. Use a portable vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to suck the dirt out from the many smaller spaces inside your car. This will stop dirt buildup and leave the vehicle with that much beloved “new car” smell! As part of cleaning the interior of your car you want to thoroughly wash the floor mats as well. Rubber mats are easy to clean but all-carpet mats need a deep cleaning in order to get the accumulated gunk out.
Clean the windows
While you are cleaning the inside you might as well take a bottle of glass cleaner and do the windows as well. Pro tip: avoid streaks by spraying the glass cleaner on the rag and then wiping the surface down instead of spraying the glass itself. You might want to hold on cleaning the exterior glass surfaces for when you wash the car.
Wash your car
Now that it is getting warmer outside and the sun is shining it is the perfect time to wash your vehicle. Grab two buckets of clean water, car-wash soap, and a sponge and clean away! We recommend washing the car under the protection of shade so it does not get too much sun; direct sunlight can soften the paint and make it more susceptible to scratches. After you have waxed the car we also suggest waxing the car for an added layer of protection and shininess!
Remove winter tires
If you had winter tires installed it is time to rotate them out for all season tires. Winter tires are made specifically to combat snowy roads when you are driving much slower than usual; increased temperatures associated with the hot summer months and driving at more normal speeds will likely damage or even destroy winter tires. This could result in a blowout on the road and an accident waiting to happen.
Cold weather can cause your tires to be underinflated while warm weather can cause overinflation. Check your vehicle’s manual for how much pressure your tires should have. While you are doing that, we also recommend checking the treads to ensure they will get you through the spring rains safely.
Replace old wiper blades
Wiper blades definitely get put through the ringer when the temperature drops. Most wiper blades are not meant for it but people use them to scrape away snow and even frozen water. Doing so damages the blades and decreases their life spans by a lot. If you have used your wipers like this, replace them with a new set.
Wash the undercarriage
Winter driving has a tendency to fill the bottom of your vehicle with salt and other debris. How do you get rid of it all? Take your car to a car wash and have them clean the undercarriage with a power wash. You can even do it yourself if you have a carjack and a strong enough hose. Removing the accumulated salt and dirt will reduce the risk of corrosion damage.
Check the fluids
Windshield wiper, transmission, brake, and oil: these are the fluids you should change or top off. The effort it takes to keep your car running smoothly during the winter does a number on the fluids so it is strongly recommended you get new fluids in before the temperature really climbs.
Clean the battery
Check the battery for a white substance encrusting the terminals. This substance is dried battery acid which should be cleaned off with a damp rag dipped in water and baking soda. Be advised: remember to turn off the engine and remove the keys before cleaning the battery. For tougher stains use an old toothbrush instead of a rag. Once you are done cleaning coat the terminals with a non-conducting protective grease.
Grease the hinges
Protect the hinges from wear and tear by lubing them with grease. Lube the hinges for the doors, trunk, and the hood.
Clear out the trunk
Any winter gear like shovels and rock salt should be removed to free up space on the trunk as well as improve fuel economy. However, we recommend keeping an emergency car kit in the trunk. The emergency kit should include items for first aid, extra batteries, and a flashlight.