Get Ready for Spring Flings and Summer Road Trips: Top 5 Checklist to Spring Clean the Car

Share Article experts weigh in with simple tips to ensure that consumers and their cars are ready for the adventures of Spring and Summer.

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Dirt and grime, road salt, potholes and a general nasty environment, make giving your car a thorough once-over arguably the most important thing you can do

Spring cleaning isn’t only for cupboards and closets – it’s also for the car. In the aftermath of a cold and messy winter, it pays to thoroughly clean the car and perform the necessary preventative maintenance, especially now that people are hanging onto their vehicles longer than ever before. In fact, according to a recent survey, 81% of respondents think the appropriate life span of a vehicle is 10+ years, and 53% feel that if they're vigilant with repairs and services, their car should stay in good running condition. Doing that, however, means hitting the car wash and the service center before heading out on those spring flings.

“Winter can be very hard on vehicles,” said Tracey Virtue, Vice President of “Dirt and grime, road salt, potholes and a general nasty environment, make giving your car a thorough once-over arguably the most important thing you can do.”

That’s not all. With warming temps comes an opportunity to prepare for the beating cars will take during the heat and humidity of the summer months. Here are five key areas to add to the list:

1. Exterior
The best thing about springtime may just be that first car wash and wax that removes the salt and dirt of the winter months and replaces it with a protected and shiny exterior. Not only is it nice to get the car looking great again, it’s also important to clean the radiator fins, the AC condenser, and the cabin air vents.

The underbody of the car gathers all the grime, dirt, salt and road gremlins of winter that can cause corrosion. Consumers should head to a nearby car wash and order up an undercarriage power wash. Same goes for wheels; power wash the wheels, the wheel wells and the tires to their pre-winter shine. (Depending on the type of wheels, a special cleaner and soft bristle brush is required. Refer to the owner’s manual)

2. Interior
While the car collects salt and grime on the outside, its passengers are tracking some of the same stuff into the cabin. So it is important to get the carpet and upholstery cleaned, as well as checking the condition of the seatbelts – nylon belt and retractors. It is also very important to check the air conditioning output, and inspect the cabin air filter. If the air is not cold, the system should be checked at a certified repair shop. Cabin air filters should be changed every 15K miles or once a year to avoid odors and reduced air flow.

3. Under the Hood
With the engine off, the belts, hoses and battery should be inspected to avoid a breakdown on the road. Belts should be tight with no cracks or glazing. Hoses should be firm (when performing a squeeze test) and not swollen or cracked. The battery should be tested if it is over three years old, and the battery cables should be clean and tight. Cleaning the battery posts with a brush, baking soda and water may be necessary to remove the horrible white residue.

4. Fill and Flush Fluids
Springtime maintenance isn’t just about recovering from the winter months – it’s also about preparing for the summer heat. Consumers should check all fluid levels, including engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, and engine coolant. Refer to the vehicle owner’s manual for fluid specifications and flushing frequencies.

5. Tires, Lights, and Wiper Blades
Final safety check should include tire checks for uneven wear, adequate tread depth, and proper inflation. With the help of an assistant, all the lights should be checked to be sure they are working, if a bulb needs replacing, refer to the owner’s manual. Wiper blades should be checked for damage and streaking.

About™ ( is a leading comprehensive and unbiased free online automotive repair resource designed to empower car owners with the best way to repair their vehicles. Backed by a team of automotive data specialists and certified auto mechanics who are advocates for the car owner, allows both car owners and DIYers to 1. Get instant comparative quotes on repair jobs from local repair shops, 2. Find the right local auto repair shop at the right price for their issue, 3. Know how much auto repairs should cost, 4. Troubleshoot car problems, 5. Get auto repair questions answered by the community, and 6. Understand the steps needed and the time it should take with How-to Auto Repair guides. was named Best Automotive Website in the 8th annual American Business Awards, also known as the Stevie® Awards.

Media Relations
Melanie Webber, mWEBB Communications, (424) 603-4340, melanie(at)
Elizabeth Johnson, mWEBB Communications, (213) 713-4865, elizabeth(at)

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