Spring Is in the Air and Your Car Needs Some Care
Make sure your vehicle is ready for the road ahead with easy spring car cleaning and maintenance tips.
Now that winter has finally released its grip, and it’s time to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road ahead. Follow these spring car cleaning and maintenance tips to make sure your vehicle is in tip-top shape for the season.
Spring Car Cleaning Tips
- Toss the trash. Grab a garbage bag and remove all the junk that has amassed over the winter. Look under the seats, go through all the pockets, and don’t forget the glove compartment and trunk too.
- Diligently detail. Vacuum the upholstery and the floor. Don’t forget to move the seats to get at those hard-to-reach areas.
- Scrub the salt. Clean the floor mats to get rid of any salt and dirt build-up brought in from the slush and snow.
- Dust the dash. Wipe the dashboard, centre console, and plastic or smooth finishes with a soft damp cloth to get rid of dust.
- Wash the windows. Buff the glass with a microfibre cloth and cleanser to minimize streaks.
- Tidy the trunk. It may be time to clean out the scraper, spare windshield washer fluid, and winter wears, but don’t toss that car safety kit into storage. Most people think they only need it during the winter, but you really should keep it in your car all year long. You never know when you might need a flashlight or those jumper cables.
- Soap and shine. Don’t forget the exterior! Wash your car in a shaded area, starting with the roof and working your way down. Use mild diluted soap and dry your vehicle right away to prevent water spots.
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Spring Car Maintenance Tips
In addition to a good spring cleaning, make sure your car is up to the task of getting you safely to where you need to go after a season of harsh winter conditions. Some of the following tips will require a mechanic, while others may only need you to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual.
- Change your wiper blades. Replace your wiper blades every six months, or sooner if there is visible wear or they are leaving streaks on the glass.
- Check your vehicle’s lights. Don’t forget the inside bulbs as well as the outside lights. Make sure they’re all working, and replace if necessary.
- Swap out your winter tires. Winter tires can’t take the heat. They’ll wear out faster and won’t provide you with the same handling capabilities as all-season or summer tires. For most of Canada, drivers can take their winter tires off when the weather is consistently above seven degrees Celcius. Residents of Quebec are required to keep their winter tires on until after March 15.
- Check your tire pressure regularly. If your tire pressure is off, safety features like your antilock brakes may not function correctly, your vehicle’s fuel efficiency will suffer, and your tires won’t last as long as they should.
- Inspect your tire treads. According to BeTireSmart.ca, “all tires sold in Canada are manufactured with ‘wear bars.’ These coloured bars become exposed when there is less than 1.6 mm of tread depth remaining on your tire. Tires must be replaced when the wear bar is visible.” They also suggest trying the “Bluenose” test where you place a Canadian dime in the tire’s groove, with the Bluenose’s sails pointing down. If you can see the top of the sails, then the tire needs to be replaced.
- Change the oil and filter. This task will help to ensure your car operates at peak efficiency. Beyond oil, check other fluids, including the transmission fluid, coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid.
- Examine your windshield. According to BeCarCareAware.ca, “any damage to your windshield can decrease the overall effectiveness of airbags, seatbelts, roof stability, and your personal safety in the event of an accident. If your windshield has a crack, it’s important to have it repaired or replaced immediately.”
A mechanic is your car’s best friend. When you service your vehicle, your mechanic will look over more than what’s listed here, including your car’s battery, hoses, and belts. These components can take a beating over the winter. A springtime visit to your local auto repair shop or service centre means that you may be able to fix minor maintenance issues before they become significant problems.