I must start with a tiny disclaimer: I never clean my car.
There’s just something that goes against the very core of my nature when it comes to keeping my car clean. I border on compulsive when it comes to my home, but the car – meh.
To my shame, anyone who knows me can attest. It’s not filthy per say… but there may be a thin layer of dust on the dash and a modest bottle-graveyard happening in the backseat. In my defense, the rain washes away most of the outside grime and I don’t eat in my car – so, not so bad, right? I am wise enough to have it regularly tuned up at the shop (which, coincidentally, takes care of at least two cleanings a year).
However, this is where the blatant irony disclaimer sets in. This month, I thought it a good idea to write about spring-cleaning and maintenance for your car. Before you judge (I would)…my intention is to take my own advice! I owe my little speed demon at least that.
Your Ultimate Car Maintenance Guide for Spring
1. Clean the monster up: The time has come… just do it. Vacuum the inside, wipe down the dash and wash all the windows. Make ‘er shine. Your sense of accomplishment will be unsurpassed.
2. Wash the outside. If you’re washing it yourself, ensure the soap is specifically meant for cars and never wash your car in direct sunlight. Use a hose with a mist-spray nozzle to wet down the car and wash away debris. Using a bucket with tepid water and soap, sponge down all areas of the car gently, rinsing the sponge frequently. Do the fender and bumper areas last. Blast the undercarriage and wheel wells with the hose to remove as much buildup as you can. Then, dry the vehicle lightly with a chamois or natural-fiber drying cloth.
*** If you just can’t squeeze in the time or if it’s not feasible to wash the car yourself, fork out the cash and pay a professional – In my opinion (and experience), this is money well spent.
3. Change your wiper blades. We live in the lower mainland… it rains a lot. Salt spray, dirt and ice all result in torn-up wiper blades at the end of the winter months. You don’t want to be caught blinded by ineffective windshield wipers when that inevitable downpour hits.
4. Replace your cabin air filter (if your car has one). The cabin air filter is the last line of defense between the air you breathe in the car, and the pollen, dirt, plant material in the air outside your car. Change your filter at the end of every winter season and you won’t have to worry about it for the rest of the year. Contact your dealer’s part department as the original part is most often better quality and not necessarily more expensive.
5. Swap your winter tires for your summer ones. This will also help save money on gas. Just ensure your summer tires have enough tread left. The dime test is good measure. To check tread depth, simply place the edge of a dime into the tread of each tire, near the center. If the tread doesn’t cover any portion of the Queen’s head, you likely need new tires. If you did not have winter tires on , make sure your tires are properly aligned.
6. Top off your coolant and washer fluid. Most cars have fluid level gauges. As the summer months approach and the weather heats up, it’s important to ensure your engine is being adequately cooled. Take this time to fill up that washer fluid as well… Murphy’s Law dictates you’ll most likely run out of washer fluid when you need it most.
And there you have it. Easy peasy nice and easy. I can already smell the air freshener.