Spring Cleaning for Your Car

Dear Tracy,

Now that winter is officially over, I am wondering what kind of spring cleaning I should do for my car. Is a basic car wash enough, or are there other end-of-winter maintenance items that need to be performed?

Jared G.

Dear Jared,

Spring cleaning for your car is an excellent idea. Not only will it get your car looking great, it will help to undo some of winter’s damage. Spring also may be a good time to stop by your auto service center to have regular services performed including oil and fluids changes, wheel alignment,  and tire rotation.

Start your spring cleaning with a complete car wash including underbody. After a season of driving on winter roads, the bottom of your car will be coated with salt, sand, and other grime that can cause corrosion. Since corrosion leads to rust  that will seriously damage your car, it is important to get it cleaned from top to bottom. It is worth the time and money to get the undercarriage power wash at your car wash or spray the car’s bottom with your own hose. Soap or cleaner is not necessary, just a thorough rinsing.

Make sure you clean the car inside and out. Wipe down the engine to remove all the debris that ends up under the hood.  Remove any crusty white residue off the battery with a toothbrush, baking soda, and water. If enough of this corrosion residue accumulates,  it may prevent your car from starting. Battery cleaning also helps prepare it for the stress of warmer temperatures.

Spring cleaning is a good time to scrub the bottoms of doors and clean the window channels. You may want to apply a silicone spray that will repel dirt and lubricates the surfaces so the windows will not stick. Remove all the salt from the car’s inside. Take the time to clean rugs and upholstery. Salt can break down some fabrics and lead to rips or damage. You should also check the wiper blades and replace them if necessary.

Finally, don’t forget .. wax on, wax off! Waxing gives your car protection and a great looking finish.