Prep Your Vehicle For The Spring

Close up of man crouching on the gas station and inflating tire.

Spring cleaning for your home receives a lot of attention, but what about spring cleaning for your car? Winter can cause a lot of hidden issues that you are not aware of until your vehicle breaks down. Avoid the stress of unknow problems by starting your spring cleaning with a maintenance tune-up. If you are not sure where to start, Family Handyman breaks it down for you!

Under the Hood

Start by checking on your engine, that your check engine light is not on, and that it idles smoothly. When your car is off, check the spark plug wires and distributor cap for any damage or cracking. Next, check the battery case for any leaks, cracks, dirt buildup, fraying, or any corroded cables or terminals, IIf you find any of the above, clean the battery case. Also, ensure that the battery is firmly in place. If your battery does require maintenance, check the water levels and fill it with distilled water if needed.

Make sure you have your breaks looked at for atypical wear and tear and the disc brake rotors for rust and other hardware for corrosion. To ensure all is well, check all belts for cracking, glazing, or fraying and all hoses for soft and mushy parts. Check your coolant hose for dry rot and leaks. You should also check and replace all filters: fuel filter, cabin air filter, and PCV valve.


Your windshield wipers get a lot of action during the winter, so you should check them for tears, cracking, or twisting. Plus, they are super easy to replace. Check that your lights are working properly and replace any bulbs that have gone out. Plus, give headlights and lamps a good cleaning for maximum efficiency.

Give the exterior a good look over and remove any rust, salt, dirt, and other debris starting with the bottom and moving your way up until everything is all shiny!

Fluids and Oil

If you did not drive a lot this winter, you might think that you are exempt from having to change the oil. Winter is hard even if you did not drive, so you should change the oil and oil filter regardless of mileage. Plus, check the feel and color of all the fluids in your car. This includes windshield washer fluid, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and automatic transmission fluid. All fluids should be clean from debris, rust, and dirt as well as translucent. You can flush and replace all fluids yourself.

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Winter does a number on the road and can leave to your tires being in need of serious help. Check for bent wheels and for bubbling, cracking, or bulging. Inspect the tread and make sure you inflate to the manufacturer’s specifications.





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