After driving through a mix of slushy snow and road salt last winter, your car likely needs a little TLC.
We caught up with car experts at CarMax and the Car Care Council on what car owners should look out for before embarking on a spring road trip.
Remember that regular vehicle maintenance is generally cheaper than major repairs due to lack of maintenance.
7 car care tips for spring
These tips will help keep your car in great shape for spring and the rest of the year.
1. Remove dead leaves and debris
Take the time to brush out any dead leaves and debris that may have built up under your hood or along your roof crevices. They can block the air inlets, which can affect the performance of your vehicle or clog the drain holes in your sliding roof gutters.
2. Remove your winter tires
If you have switched to winter tires in order to be able to drive in snow, you should replace them again in spring. The Knobbier tires can reduce the fuel consumption of your car. Winter tires could also kick up more dirt and debris, which would add to the cost of more frequent car washes.
3. Rinse the undercarriage of the car
If you drive on salted roads in winter, rust on the chassis of your car can accelerate over time. Auto experts recommend treating yourself to an extra hose on the bottom when you visit your local car wash.
4. Deodorize the car
If you drive with the windows open all winter, your vehicle may smell less than fresh. After you’ve removed all of the food packaging and trash, leave an open container of baking soda or coffee grounds in the car overnight with the windows open. The baking powder or coffee grounds serve as a natural and inexpensive deodorant.
5. Replace worn wiper blades
You want maximum visibility during those spring showers. Wiper blades should typically be replaced every six to 12 months. Don’t worry – they’re a cheap and easy solution.
6. Check the tire pressure
The cold winter temperatures could have caused the tire pressure to drop. Tires with insufficient air pressure can reduce the fuel consumption of your vehicle. Check the owner’s manual or the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door for the correct tire pressure for your tires. Wawa, QuikTrip, and Sheetz are a few chain gas stations known for offering free air for inflating tires.
7. Get an inspection for your car
A full vehicle inspection includes checking the level and condition of fluids and filters, hoses and belts, battery connector, braking system, and interior and exterior lighting. When you have the confidence to tackle minor maintenance yourself, look up a car repair manual that is specific to the model of your car. You can save a significant amount of money by skipping a mechanic visit and doing some work yourself.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.