Spring Cleaning Your Car

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Spring began last Friday, March 20, despite what it may feel like outside. It’s time for Spring cleaning! You can finally open the windows, shake out the rugs, and shampoo the carpets. Have you considered doing the same for your car? Your four-wheeled home could probably use some TLC, too.

Soon you and your ride will be headed out and about for the summer, to concerts, on road trips, and outings galore. Don’t forget to put these tips for your car on your list of Spring-cleaning to-dos.

Clear the Clutter

Pick up all the garbage and clutter that’s been lost and left behind. Chilling cold can keep even germophobes from cleaning under the seats for a few months. The best part? Finding that favorite glove or earring you thought you’d lost in the snow. Wipe down the interior of the car with a cleaning product best suited to your car’s type of interior. Then haul out the ice scrapers, brushes, shovels, and kitty litter or salt you’ve kept in your trunk all winter. Vacuum, especially before cleaning the carpet, the next step.

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Down On the Floor

From flurries to feet, lots of snow and other wet debris get tracked into your car. In addition to making a crusty mess, salty snowmelt can soak through the carpet and rust your car from the inside. Hopefully, you have a good set of floor mats (if not, add getting some to your list!). Shampoo and vacuum the carpet again. There are several carpet cleaners you can buy at the store, or treat the various stains with DIY treatments.

Save It From Salt

The salt and other chemicals used to keep roads from freezing stew a nasty cocktail for the metals and paint of your car. These chemicals are corrosive and some can be very adhesive, as well as cause cosmetic and rust issues. The sooner you can give your car a full wash, the better. Many car washes offer deals when the weather changes, or you can wash it yourself. Pay special attention to cleaning your undercarriage. Even worse, heat accelerates the corrosion process, so if the temperature suddenly rises, get to the car wash fast.

Weary Wipers

Think about how often you’ve used your wipers this winter. Mine in particular has been scraped and shaken mercilessly after ice storms and blizzards. The daily winter exposure to cold, heat, wiper fluid and salt cause the wiper rubber to crack, split, and tear. It’s best to get a new set, because ragged blades won’t help with April’s showers.

Assess the Damage

Similar to the impact on your wipers, frost factors in on the breakdown of many parts of your car, from ceiling to floor. If the weather stripping around the doors and trunk are damaged, it won’t seal properly. Rainwater can get in, so you need to patch or replace it now. If you don’t already, before next winter, it’s a good idea to apply a rubber protectant to the stripping to stop cracking and sticking. Check the seals, hoses, belts of your car for cracks or thinning, and all fluid levels especially windshield fluid. Spring is also a good time to rotate and balance your tires after all the impact of winter potholes and parking.

See the Sun

Finally, clean the inside of the windows. Newspaper works surprisingly well, although of course, you can also use microfiber cloths. Use a horizontal stroke to wipe across the interior windows. If you have tinted windows, you may need to use a special cleaner.

Whenever you can, open the windows and enjoy the return of warmer weather. It will help air and dry out the dank of winter, and bring in the joie de vivre for you and your car, as you speed down the road to summer.

Happy Spring from Montway!

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