AutoMD.com experts weigh in with simple tips to ensure that you and your car are ready for the adventures of Spring and Summer.
Carson, CA – April 27, 2016 – Spring cleaning isn’t only for cupboards and closets – it’s also for your car. In the aftermath of a cold and messy winter, it pays to thoroughly clean your car and perform the necessary preventative maintenance, especially now that people are hanging onto their vehicles longer than ever before. In fact, according to a recent AutoMD.com survey, 81% of respondents think the appropriate life span of a vehicle is 10+ years, and 53% feel that if they're vigilant with repairs and services, their car should stay in good running condition. Doing that, however, means hitting the car wash and the service center before you head out on those wonderful spring flings.
“Winter can be very hard on vehicles,” said Tracey Virtue, Vice President of AutoMD.com. “Dirt and grime, road salt, potholes and a general nasty environment, make giving your car a thorough once-over arguably the most important thing you can do.”
That’s not all. With warming temps comes an opportunity to prepare for the beating your car will take during the heat and humidity of the summer months. Here are five key areas to add to your list:
The best thing about springtime may just be that first car wash and wax that removes the salt and dirt of the winter months and replaces it with a protected and shiny exterior. Not only is it nice to get your car looking great again, it’s also important to clean the radiator fins, the AC condenser, and the cabin air vents.
The underbody of your car gathers all the grime, dirt, salt and road gremlins of winter that can cause corrosion. Take your car to a nearby car wash and order up an undercarriage power wash. Same goes for wheels; power wash the wheels, the wheel wells and the tires to their pre-winter shine. (Depending on the type of wheels, a special cleaner and soft bristle brush is required. Refer to the owner’s manual)
While your car collects salt and grime on the outside, you’re tracking some of the same stuff into the cabin. So get the carpet and upholstery cleaned; while you’re at it, check the condition of your seatbelts – nylon belt and retractors. Most importantly, check your air conditioning output, and inspect your cabin air filter. If the air is not cold, have the system checked at a certified repair shop. Cabin air filters should be changed every 15K miles or once a year to avoid odors and reduced air flow.
3. Under the Hood
With the engine off, inspect the belts, hoses and battery to avoid a breakdown on the road. Belts should be tight with no cracks or glazing. Hoses should be firm (when performing a squeeze test) and not swollen or cracked. The battery should be tested if it is over 3 years old, and the battery cables should be clean and tight. Cleaning the battery posts with a brush, baking soda and water may be necessary to remove the horrible white residue.
4. Fill and Flush Fluids
Springtime maintenance isn’t just about recovering from the winter months – it’s also about preparing for the summer heat. While under the hood be sure to check all fluid levels, including engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and engine coolant. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for fluid specifications and flushing frequencies.
5. Tires, Lights, and Wiper Blades
Final safety check – Be sure to check the tires for uneven wear, adequate tread depth, and proper inflation. With the help of an assistant, make sure all the lights are working and refer to your owner’s manual if a bulb needs replacing. Check the wiper blades for damage and streaking.