'Winter's tale is ended — and so it's time to take stock of the damage done to your car by months of snow, ice, sleet, road salt, cold, and all the many travesties of the season departed.
Modern cars are engineered to take some serious abuse, so unless your vehicle remained buried under a snowbank, you shouldn't have to do too much.
But you will have to do a few things. Here are ten that are worth it:
- Wash Your Car
Screenshot via YouTube/Movieclips
You should have done this a few times during the winter months anyway, but now it's imperative, to remove road salt, grit, and grime — all stuff that will damage your car's finish over the long haul.
I often recommend paying a little extra — $100 — this time to year to have you vehicle detailed. That means getting it deep cleaned, inside and out. It's great — you'll feel like you have a new car.
At the least, however, you should get it washed and waxed, or do it yourself, taking additional time to make sure the lower section of the vehicle is especially clean.
- Change Your Wiper Blades
Winter kills wiper blades. But they still have to work when spring rains arrive.
A new set will cost you about $40. They're easy to install yourself, but you can always stop into most full-service gas-stations and have new wipers put on.
- Check Your Wiper Fluid Level
Everybody uses more wiper fluid in winter than in spring and summer.
You can actually fill the reservoir with plain old water, but the blue stuff that you buy at the auto parts store will do a better job of keeping your windshield clean.
- Check Your Oil
I'm a change-your-oil-twice-a-year guy, but due to the operational demands of winter on engines, the arrival of spring is a good excuse to check this essential lubricant.
If you're running low, top off and head over to a quick-change location to have the oil changes and get a new oil filter put on.
You can also do this yourself and save a few bucks, but then you'll have to dispose of your own used oil.
- Clean Your Floor Mats
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Many car owners now use synthetic rubber mats that are specifically designed to deal with the rigors of rotten weather.
It's easy to ignore the buildup of filth when winter is raging, but springtime is the right time to yank those mats out of the car and give them a thorough washing. If need be, replace them with a new set.
- Check Your Tire Pressure — and Don't Forget the Spare! And Check the Condition of Your Tires and Brakes
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Winter is also brutal on tires. Now is the time to make sure that all four tired and the spare are properly inflated.
It's also the time to evaluate the condition of your tires and, if you've been using snow tires, swap them for your usual set of rubber.
Look for cracks, degraded tread, and anything that might lead to a blowout on the road.
- Swap Out Your Emergency Gear
You won't need a parka and a blanket anymore. Spring is the season to double check that the batteries are good on your flashlight and that you have a few bottles of water in the vehicle, just in case.
Also replenish flares if they were used during winter and make sure all the components of your tire jack are in the car. If you don't have a spare or a jack, determine if all the parts of the patch kit are in working order.
- Repair Scratches
Step 1: Clean the scratched surface. Rubbing alcohol is good for this because it evaporates quickly.
Step 2: Shake up the paint inside the pen.
Step 3: Double check that you got the right color
Step 4: Compare to your car's finish.
Step 5: Apply the paint to the scratch. I found that I had to use several coats for this step. Lesser scratches might not need so much paint.
- Assess Your Technology
If you have an older vehicle, you may want to see what new aftermarket technology is available to improve your systems.
If your car is newer, you can check with your dealer to make sure that all your tech and software is up to date.
- Consult Your Maintenance Schedule
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Cars need to be serviced at regular intervals, so now is a good time to dig out the owner's manual or go online to see what you're due for, given the mileage on your vehicle's odometer.
While you're at it, make sure you're prepared to renew your registration if that task is coming around in the next six months. Depending of the state you live in, this could mean an inspection, which a qualified mechanic can do for you.'
- Business Insider 3/30/2017 & Photos from Respective Sites