March 19th, 2015
If winter's in your rearview, then it's time to prep your car for the sunshine and warm air of spring. After a long slog through snowy commutes and ice-filled roadways, your ride has probably taken a considerable winter beating. Not only can sleet and hail damage your windows and dent your car, but the residual effects of salted roads and dirty, melting snow can stain your car's paint and eat away at your vehicle's once-glorious shine you were so proud to show off. With spring on the horizon, now's the time to kick winter to the curb and set your car on the straight and narrow toward redeeming itself, both inside and out - in the process, you may even save on your car insurance premiums.
Here are eight ways to get your car ready for spring:
1. Check the vitals
When it comes to keeping your ride in top shape, there's no better place to start than under the hood. You'll want to give the car's engine a good hose-down to remove any wintry buildup and debris. This will keep the engine moving efficiently and make sure there aren't any blockages holding back your horsepower. Further, test your battery to ensure it's still up to par.
While you're at it, you should take a look at all the hoses and belts to see that nothing is frayed or stripped. Check the condition of the spark plugs, and replace them to get better fuel efficiency.
2. Replace fluids
Not only is it a good idea to refill your tank with newer, cleaner gasoline, but you should also replace all the other fluids. You can change the oil yourself or have a mechanic do it for you for as little as $30. You should also flush and replace the transmission fluid in addition to refilling wiper fluids.
And since spring heralds the coming of warmer weather, you may start using your car's AC more often, which means you'll have to make sure there are no holes leaking coolant. Top off the coolant to keep the interior of your car climate-controlled this spring.
3. Get a realignment
After several arduous months of trekking through mounds of snow and over sharp ice formations, your car's alignment is likely to be off. Continuing to drive when the wheels are misaligned can affect your maneuverability and fuel efficiency because you will inherently be working harder to simply drive straight. That's why you need to take your car into the shop to get a realignment and have any adjustments made to your vehicle's suspension.
4. Clean out the winter cargo
Under the throes of winter, you likely hopped in and out of your car quickly to minimize your time spent outdoors. During this time, you probably just threw items into your car in a hurry, like fast food bags, papers from work, your kid's toys and any cargo you stored in the trunk for winter. These things should be removed to declutter your car, giving you a whole new outlook on your driving experience. Once everything is out, you can wash the mats, vacuum the floorboards and wipe down the dash for better effect.
5. Invest in new tires
If you've got the money to do so, purchasing a new set of tires could be worthwhile. Or, if you previously used winter tires during the preceding months, then now's the time to revert back to your standard set of wheels. Not only will your tire pressure and treads need to be different during spring, but the tires themselves should be an investment in future cost-savings potential. Better traction and handling leads to more bang for your buck at the pump and reduces the likelihood of getting into an accident and having to pay medical or insurance costs.
6. Wash, rinse, repeat
You can go to an automated carwash or simply use a hose in the driveway, but either way, you should clean your car up to prepare for spring. Use wax to refurbish the hubcaps and grill of the car to give it that extra shine it needs.
7. Upgrade tech features
Whether it's installing GPS or implementing an anti-theft system, you can keep your car on the cutting edge by looking into advanced safety and security features. These upgrades can enhance your driving capability and make your vehicle all the more efficient.
8. Revisit auto insurance
It's always best to take another glance at your auto insurance after you make any changes to your car or driving habits. With new in-car technology, you may be rewarded with insurance discounts from your provider. Additionally, this would be a great time to discuss any other rebates you may be eligible for.
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