Spring Cleaning Your Car Will Save You Time and Money Down the Road

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After driving through a mix of slushy snow and road salt this past winter, your car is probably in need of a little TLC. 

Auto experts at CarMax shared some tips with The Penny Hoarder on what car owners ought to take care of before hitting the road for a spring break vacay

Remember, regularly keeping up with vehicle maintenance is generally less expensive than dealing with a major repair due to lack of upkeep.

Your Car Needs Spring Cleaning, Too

These tips will help keep your car in good shape for spring — and the rest of the year.

1. Remove Dead Leaves and Debris

Take the time to brush out all the dead leaves and debris that may have gathered under your hood or along your roof crevices. CarMax experts say they could block air intakes, which may hurt your vehicle’s performance, or they could block the drain holes in your sunroof gutters.

2. Remove Your Winter Tires

If you switched to winter tires to handle driving in snowy conditions, you’ll want to swap them back out in the spring. According to CarMax experts, the knobbier tires may lower your car’s fuel economy, reducing your miles per gallon. Winter tires could also kick up more dirt and debris, leading to the expense of more frequent car washes.

3. Rinse Off the Car’s Undercarriage

Driving over salted roads in the winter could accelerate rust forming on your car’s undercarriage over time. CarMax experts recommend you splurge for an extra underside hose-off when visiting your local car wash.

4. Deodorize the Car 

Riding with the windows up all winter could cause your vehicle to smell a little less than fresh. After you remove all the food wrappers and trash, a tip from CarMax is to leave an open container of baking soda or coffee grounds in the car overnight with the windows up. The baking soda or coffee grounds serve as a natural — and inexpensive — deodorizer.

Additional Spring Car Care Tips

Driver point of view looking through a wet windshield while driving.
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The Car Care Council, a nonprofit that educates consumers on vehicle maintenance and repair, has other nuggets of wisdom on its site for getting your vehicle road-trip ready this spring. (We loved the council’s advice for winterizing your car.)

Replace worn wiper blades. You want maximum visibility during those spring showers.

Check the tire pressure. The cold temperatures of winter could have caused your tire pressure to drop. Tires that are underinflated could reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy.

A complete car checkup includes fluids and filters, hoses and belts, the battery connection, the brake system and interior and exterior lighting. Read more from the Car Care Council about getting your vehicle in shape for the spring.

If you lack the knowledge to tackle minor maintenance jobs yourself, crack open an auto-repair manual specific to your car’s model. You can save a significant amount of cash by skipping a visit to a mechanic and doing some jobs yourself.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.