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Spring Cleaning!

   Maintenance ideas

     Written by Archie Varone of A and J Auto Maintenance Center

 

        Now that the daily temperatures are on the rise and the days are getting longer, we all feel a sense of relief that “old man winter” has left the building!

        If you’re like most folks, you’re making plans for a busy summer with things to do and places to go.  While you’re planning those trips, please don’t forget to do some “spring cleaning and maintenance” on your trusty steed.

        Your car has taken a lot of abuse this winter for you, so be sure to give it some TLC and it should get you where you’re going this summer.

 

MAKE A LIST:

        After reading this general list, sit down and think about what you want to do and create a checklist.

        Winter can be tough on batteries, tires, steering and suspension and brakes; not to mention the salt and cinders that attack the underside and paint of your faithful steed.

        If you need help making a more specific list, read your owner’s manual, talk with veteran drivers or ask your trusted auto repair shop.

 

INTERIOR:

        Like your home, it too needs to be cleaned top to bottom.  Discard any wrappers, trash, old French fries.  Vacuum it out several times and clean the upholstery as well as clean and protect the dash and other plastic parts.

 

UNDERBODY:

        The salt and cinders are eating your car even now.  The mix of salt, slush and cinders will get into every nook and cranny of your vehicle.  Regular car washing, even the under car spray of the car wash, can’t get it all.  Only with a hose or pressure washer wand and a dedicated owner, can you hope to get most of the junk out.

 

EXTERIOR:

        Now that it’s warm out, there’s no excuse not to go out and be nice to your car.  A thorough hand washing and rubdown will reveal the true condition of the body and paint. Check for chips and scratches; touch them up and apply a good coat of wax.  This can save you some costly paint repairs later.

 

          Hint:  Want to do something special for mom, dad, a spouse, or for that special graduate? … Gift certificates for a full car detailing make great gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a birthday or graduation!

 

THE NUTS AND BOLTS:

        Now that your car looks and smells better, let’s think about the maintenance and safety so we get where we are going this summer. 

        If you’ve been having any starting or performance problems, even minor ones, get them corrected.  A “tuned” car saves gas, money and time.  A small issue today can turn into a breakdown later.  And … don’t forget to have the belts and hoses inspected.

 

CHECK THE COOLING SYSTEM:

        Soon, your car is going to be running in hotter temperatures.  Be sure your coolant is up for the job.  Have it replaced if it’s dirty or has been in the car too long.  Your mechanic and your owner’s manual may have conflicting opinions about change intervals; all I will say is use some common sense.

 

CHECK THE A/C:

        Your air conditioner would have cycled a little if you used the defrost setting this past winter; but that doesn’t mean it’s all good!  Run it through a few settings to be sure you can get good, cold air out of it.  If you have any questions, have it checked before you really need it.

 

CHECK THE BATTERY:

        Winter is tough on a battery.  It makes them work super hard and can compromise its cranking and strength.  If you battery is over 3 years old, definitely have it tested.  If it’s even a little weak, replace it.  It may be cheaper than a tow and replacement out on the road.

 

CHECK THE FLUIDS:

        Be sure all your fluids are fresh and at the proper levels.  There are many of them, so check your manual and add them to your list.  Engine oil, transmission, power steering and brake fluid are the biggies, but they are all important.

 

CHECK THOSE TIRES:

        If you use snow tires, get them off!  If you use all seasons, get them rotated!  While you check tread wear and air pressure, check for sidewall cracks and tears.  Move the valve stem around a little to check for dry rot that may have started this past winter.

        Don’t forget the spare … and make sure your tire changing tools are all there!

 

        As summer approaches, it affords people more time to venture further away from home.  If you are a wise driver, do your spring cleaning and safety checks before that long trip.  It will give you piece of mind while out and about.  Spring cleaning also increases the longevity and value of your car.  It can also save you from costly breakdowns and towing bills.  And, most importantly, it will get you and your family where you are going … safely.