Between the weather warming up, the sun staying out longer, and the leaves returning to the trees, it’s hard not to love the start of spring. As the calendar turns and the flowers begin to bloom, many people take the opportunity to clean up around their homes in hopes of better optimizing their surroundings and clearing their headspace.
While the most common forms of spring cleaning often involve organizing your closet, kitchen, or some other area at home, you can also benefit from doing a little car spring cleaning as well. Whether you haul around multiple kids in your minivan or commute 30 minutes to work in your two-door coupe, maintaining your vehicle’s well-being is vitally important for its long-term health and will give you much greater peace of mind behind the wheel. You can take steps toward this both at home and by taking your car to one of Kennedy Transmission’s Minnesota auto shops.
Here are a few spring cleaning tips for your car and some other car maintenance tips:
Start on the Inside
When it comes to how to clean your car, there’s really no better place to start than the interior. Go through and collect any large pieces of trash you can find, such as receipts, fast food wrappers, and empty water bottles. You’ll also want to wipe down your consoles, arm rests, display screens, and anything else that can attract dirt, but make sure you’re using a safe disinfectant or cleaner.
Once you’ve cleaned everything you can by hand, it’s time to vacuum out your car’s interior. If you don’t have a vacuum at home, you can usually find them available to use for cheap at your local gas station/convenience store. Sweep up the floor mats, cushions, cup holders, and any other areas susceptible to filth like underneath the seats or by the pedals. One of many car cleaning tips that can come in handy here is using a can of compressed air/keyboard duster to blow out any crumbs or tiny dirt particles you can’t reach.
Check Trunk and Inner Consoles
After the main cabin area of your car’s interior is clean, move on to the inner compartments. Check your center console and glove box for any unused items or other garbage, as many folks toss things like chapstick tubes, parking passes, and printed out directions in there and forget about them.
Finally, pop the trunk and take out anything you don’t need from back there. Once that’s done, vacuum it out and organize what you’ve decided to keep (first-aid kit, sports gear, etc.) The trunk is especially vulnerable to accumulating filth, so extra care may be required.
Give It a Wash
Cleaning the outside of your car is just as important as keeping the interior tidy. This is especially true when living in Minnesota, as you’ll inevitably drive over a lot of snow, slush, and ice. It’s key that you make sure to clean the “underbelly” of your car to remove all of that and the treatment products from the road.
Decide whether you want to wash your car by hand or at a full-service car wash. Washing by hand will allow you to do a more thorough job and can be especially valuable when cleaning an expensive or classic car. Commercial car washes are generally cheaper and often use less water than doing it yourself. Choosing between the two really comes down to your personal preferences and situation.
Inspect Your Tires
If you’re washing your car by hand, don’t neglect your tires! Scrub them down and wash the hubcaps as well if needed to give them that beautiful shine. If you put snow tires on for the winter, swap them out for your all-purpose tires.
Once those steps are taken care of, check the pressure in all four of your wheels either with an at-home tool or at a gas station. Every vehicle is different, but most passenger cars require a psi reading in the low-to-mid 30s. If yours comes up too low, add air to your tires to make sure you’re driving safely.
Examine Wipers, Replace Fluid
While the start of spring is most often associated with rising temperatures, it also means an increased amount of rain is on the way. Prepare your vehicle for any bad weather you may encounter by inspecting/replacing your windshield wipers. You’ll want to make sure they’re clean so they don’t leave smudges or streaks, and you should top off the wiper fluid so you don’t run out unexpectedly. While you’re tending to the windshield area, wipe away any leaves, pebbles, or other debris that may have gotten wedged around the hood.
Swap Out Your Air Filters
One of the most important things on your spring cleaning checklist should be changing your air filters. These simple yet vital pieces of equipment filter the air that comes into your vehicle to make sure no dirt, dust, or other debris can get to the engine or cabin. Replacing them can be done by yourself or by taking your car in to the pros at Kennedy Transmission.
If you’re asking yourself, “How often should I replace my car’s air filter,” there’s unfortunately no simple answer; it really depends on where you live and how often you drive. Most manufacturers will say somewhere between every 15,000-30,000 miles, but this can fluctuate depending on how much city driving you do and how often your car sits dormant. Your filters will also likely be dirtiest after the winter, as the snow and sludge on the road is awfully messy. As such, there’s no better time to replace them than during spring cleaning.
Get Any Oil Changes or Other Maintenance Done
After you’ve swapped out your air filters, check and see if you’re due for an oil change. A general rule of thumb is your oil needs to be replaced every six months or 5,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you think you’re close to hitting these thresholds, it can’t hurt to get it done a little early.
You should also think back to if you’ve been putting off any needed maintenance, like engine service, tire rotations, or a weird noise coming from the heater. Getting this taken care of while spring cleaning will benefit your commutes, road trips, and any other driving you do over the rest of the year.
Give Your Car The Care it Deserves with Kennedy Transmission
Whether you drive a big gas guzzler or an efficient compact car, you never know what the future may hold in terms of maintenance and repairs. Whatever problems you encounter, Kennedy Transmission has the tools and expertise necessary to help. Our team of master mechanics is highly trained and ready to help fix your ride at our Minneapolis garage and other auto repair shops in Minnesota. Give us a call, contact us online, or pay us a visit today for all of your car maintenance needs!