Spring has sprung, and we are all starting our coming out of hibernation projects. For many, spring cleaning is a household chore but it is important not to forget about our vehicles. Here is a short spring cleaning list for your car to help keep it going all through the summer.
Check the air filter and fluids under the hood.
It is recommended to replace (or clean and oil if it is a reusable kind) every 12 months or 12,000 miles. The air filter is responsible for keeping contaminants out of your engine. A dirty air filter will hurt the fuel efficiency and can lead to running issues. Most air filters are easily accessible and right up front under the hood. Be sure to pull the dipsticks on the oil and transmission/trans-axle and check fluid levels, too. Brake and power steering reservoirs usually have min max lines and only need a quick peek. Make sure the radiator has coolant (only when it is cold) and top off the overflow tank as needed.
Tire rotation and care.
A tire rotation not only extends the longevity of your tires, but it is the perfect time to take a peek at the brakes. While the wheel is off, it is easy to spot uneven wear in the tire treads or see a nail or other puncture causing objects. Setting and maintaining tire pressure is a great compliment to a rotation for tire care.
Wipers and fluid.
Winter can take a toll on a vehicle, and wipers are no exception. After a winter of clearing snow and ice off the windshield as well as keeping salt spray from obstructing your vision, wiper blades are subjected to a lot of ware and tear. Inspect the blades for signs of drying or separation. Add wiper fluid to the reservoir as well.
Exterior lighting and headlights.
Being long summer days are still a little time away, now is the perfect time to check the exterior lighting on your vehicle. Filament and halogen bulbs are still used in many places on a car. Even as LED and other long life bulbs are taking over, inspect the operation and housing of the bulb. Water intrusion and physical defects or damage to the protective lens are no match for even the newest of technologies in headlamps and taillights.
Check the climate control.
With winter wearing off, we are going to be using the air conditioning much more. The hottest of hot days is not the right time to have an issue with the climate control. Weak air conditioning is usually fixed by adding refrigerant to the cooling system. Be sure to only use refrigerant if you do it yourself. “Recharge kits” that contain sealants do more harm than good.
The owners manual and most manufacturers websites will have information specific to your vehicle. It is a good idea to review the service schedule periodically and make sure you are up to date on maintenance. A good once through the interior and a nice wash and wax on the exterior wraps up spring cleaning care for your vehicle.