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Depending on where you live, winter conditions can leave your vehicle in disarray. Salt and chemicals to remove snow and ice can wreak havoc on your car’s undercarriage. Sand and debris from roadways can even damage the paintwork, leading to repairs. Therefore, vehicles need attention paid to them. Your automobile will need a tune-up as the weather gets warmer.

The AARP, the nation’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to empowering individuals over age 50, has some helpful tips. There’s no reason your vehicle shouldn’t be in tip-top shape for driving this spring.

Exterior and interior washing and detailing

A car drives down the road during the spring
Car driving in springtime | Patrick Pleul, Getty Images

Nearing the end of the winter months, road debris and chemicals accumulate on paintwork and cover the car’s undercarriage. Deep cleaning a vehicle from top to bottom will protect your car from corrosive chemicals amassing on various surfaces. But be careful not to open the hood and spray down the engine. Excessive water can damage electrical components. Instead, use a damp rag.

Once the outside is done, it’s also a good idea to take care of and tune-up the interior. Salt stuck to the bottoms of winter boots will be on the car’s floorboard. It’s essential to vacuum up granules and other debris that can cause corrosion on the inside. Removing the floor mats, hosing them down, and leaving them outside to dry is necessary. Wiping down the dashboard, seats, steering wheel, and windows will make the interior look great for spring.

Inspecting the wiper blades

Windshield wiper blades work tirelessly during the snowy months. But it’s important your wiper blades work well even in the warmer months.

To remove debris, vehicle owners should run a wet rag or paper towel over the blades. Afterward, by engaging the windshield sprayer, check to see how well they’re working. If there are excessive streaks or noise, that means the rubber is damaged, and the wipers must be changed. Don’t forget to check your back windshield wipers if you have them.

Top up fluids

While the engine is turned off and cooled down, open the hood to check fluid levels. Instructions are located in the owner’s manual car for the correct engine oil types and the brake, coolant, transmission, power steering, and coolant fluid levels.

If any systems fall on the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, it’ll be important to check them. While you’re under the hood, also look for cracked belts and hoses. Tune-ups may also include swapping out spark plugs.

Air filter refresh

Dirty air filters can cut nearly one-tenth of fuel economy. Buildups of debris will prevent your engine from running efficiently.

You’ll want to check the engine filter under the hood and cabin air filter—typically behind the glove compartment. If you don’t have a replacement, you can always hit it on a hard surface to knock the debris free until you can obtain a new one.

Examining the tires

If you have winter tires on your car, you’ll want to swap them for ones made for warmer weather. Otherwise, check for signs of wear and tear, especially any bulging areas on the sidewalls.

For vehicles parked for a while, ensure the air pressure is up to the manufacturer’s standards. This information will be found on the tire sidewall. Underinflated tires wear out quicker and reduce gas mileage, so add air when needed. Moreover, don’t forget to tune-up the spare tire.

What’s the most critical auto tune-up tip for spring?

The hotter months of the year will be much more taxing on your battery than the colder ones. It’s also one of the most irritating things to get into your car before a springtime drive, and you can’t start it. Salt and debris from the road may accumulate on the battery terminals. Before cleaning them, ensure the battery is disconnected. Afterward, make sure the terminal cables are tightly secured in place, as well as the battery itself. If the battery jostles around while you’re driving, it could damage some electronic components. 

Nevertheless, the battery could be low on charge. If it’s older than two or three years, take it to a local auto parts store to get the battery load tested. In hotter climates, batteries last between two and four years, and it’s crucial to purchase a replacement if the battery isn’t in top shape.

Doing the before-mentioned tune-ups will improve the performance, longevity, and safety of your vehicle and its components. It will also guarantee that you don’t have an inconvenient breakdown this spring.


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