5 tips for spring cleaning in your car

April 16, 2015 09:00 AM

Spring cleaning is a seasonal rite of passage for homeowners and renters alike, but that's not where your efforts end. You need to make sure your car is getting the love it needs this spring as well. While vehicle maintenance is certainly important, you should be focusing on cleaning the car thoroughly. This goes much further than your automobile looking snazzy on the roads - caring for and cleaning your car can positively impact its performance and longevity. 

Here are five tips you should keep in mind when attacking a vehicular spring cleaning. 

1. Be strategic about car washes
Washing a car eliminates pollen, debris and road salt that may be stuck to the exterior. Clearing off road salt is key, as this compound can accelerate rusting and potentially harm a paint job. Hand washing is the most effective method, but make sure you're approaching the process correctly. The Observer-Reporter noted that you should wash a car in the shade. According to the source, harsh sunlight can soften up the paint, making scratches more likely. 

2. Wax the car regularly 
The work isn't done once you've washed the car. You also need to add a protective coating of wax to the exterior. This can protect the paint from harmful rain or stray branches that may inflict damage on your vehicle. Just one waxing isn't enough, so be sure to create a plan for summer car care and scheduled maintenance to remind yourself to complete this task. This is particularly important if you live in an area with heavy precipitation. 

3. Replace the air filter 
Your efforts should extend under the hood. Most of the engine work will be completed with a complete car tune up, but be sure to ask the technician at your auto repair franchise about replacing the air filter. Fall and winter may have caused some wear and tear on your existing filter, and you'll want a fresh one in place in time for allergy season. 

4. Protect your windshield
Spring showers and sudden summer storms are common occurrences throughout the U.S. You can guard against the rain by replacing windshield wipers and monitoring the wiper fluid level. WVLT in Tennessee recommended using rain repellent on your windshield to increase protection. It's smart to keep some kind of microfiber cloth or cleaning rag in a glove compartment too. That will allow you to clean off dust or other smudges from the interior of your windshield, maintaining a clean field of vision. 

5. Don't forget the interior 
Much of the work may be centered on the exterior and the goings on under the hood, but your interior should be cared for as well. Start by cleaning out any items that may have found their way to your seats and storage compartments throughout the winter. Then you can vacuum to remove any road salt, dirt or other debris that found its way to your floor mats and carpets. It's also a good idea to remove the floor mats completely, shaking off any loose dirt outside the vehicle, wiping them down and evaluating their quality. 

Don't skip over the trunk at this stage. Clear out your possessions and take inventory of your cars emergency kit. You should add any items that may be needed for summertime auto repair, such as engine coolant. Keep in mind that intense sun and heat could make any stains or residue spread or even smell, so you'll want to have it cleaned up before this weather hits. 

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