Spring Cleaning Your Car for the Non-Mechanic

March 31, 2016

Hand Washing A CarSalted roads, cold temperatures, ice, and potholes; winter can be harsh on your car and it’s time to wipe away the months of neglect and grime that have built up, and treat your car to a spa day.

Simple Car Care

You don’t have to be a mechanic, or have a mechanic in the family, to take on these spring cleaning tasks.

Get rid of the garbage
Remove all the junk that has accumulated over the last few months. Get under the seats, go through all the pockets, and don’t forget the glove compartment too.

Vacuum the upholstery paying special attention to pleats and seams, the dashboard, and console that has a knack for attracting dust and crumbs into the nooks and crannies, and finally, the floors: pull out and vacuum the mats, then the floor itself. Don’t forget to move the seats to get at those hard to reach areas.

Clean the carpet and upholstery
Stains and yes, sometimes smells, need more than just a good vacuum to get rid of; there are many upholstery and carpet cleaners designed specifically for cars that can help you get rid of that lingering reminder of a few too many meals on the road.

Scrub the winter floor mats
The build-up that happens naturally with slush, snow and road salt takes its toll on all-rubber floor mats. Chances are you’ll need more than a power-wash to clean the dirt and grime; you’ll need a good scrubbing brush too.

Wipe down the windows
Months worth of grime on the inside of the windows can be tricky to clean. It may take a couple of tries to get it streak-free. Also, it’s important to use the right cleaner. Ammonia-based cleaners may be harmful in the long-run to some car surfaces, and if your windows are tinted you’ll want to make sure that the cleaner you use, is tinted window-safe.

Don’t forget the trunk
Everything you did for the inside of your car, do for your trunk too.

Tip: If you have a car safety kit, don’t put it in storage. Most people think they only need it for winter, but you really should keep it in your car for the whole year. You never know when you might need that flashlight or jumper cables.

Wash the exterior of the car
Now that the inside is clean, move to the exterior. Washing the vehicle should be done regularly and more frequently if: driving on roads with road salt; driving in coastal areas; or if tar, soot, bird poop, insects or tree sap are stuck to the painted surfaces.

Mechanic Not Needed, Just The Owner’s Manual

Some car care requires a little more knowledge, but if you pull out your handy owner’s manual, you can:

Change your wiper blades
If the wiper blade rubber had deteriorated over the winter, it will leave streaks making it tough to see while driving. Wiper blades should be changed a couple of times a year, and what better time than during a spring cleaning spa day?

Top up your window washer fluid
Murphy’s Law says, you’ll run out at the most inopportune time—when you need it most—which can be dangerous, so always keep a spare container of window washer fluid in your trunk.

Check your tire pressure and treads
Check your tire pressure regularly (including the spare), and keep it at the level recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Also check your tire tread wear: tires are manufactured with wear bars and when the bar becomes exposed, it’s time to look into replacing them.

Not Everything Can Be A DYI Project

Mechanics are there for a reason, so don’t forget to take your car in regularly for a tune-up, oil change, and an overall good looking over. Filters, hoses, belts and fluids will all get the attention they need, and a spring spa day is incomplete without at least making an appointment with your mechanic.

Professional vehicle maintenance will ensure that your car is good to go, when you’re ready to go.

Spring Clean Your Auto Insurance

Just like your car, your car insurance needs attention too. Compare car insurance quotes to make sure your getting the best auto insurance deal for your coverage.