Save Money by Spring Cleaning Your Vehicle

spring cleaning your vehicle

Most people associate spring with renewal. This is why “spring cleaning” has become a habit for many families. It’s the perfect time to get rid of the old and let in the new. Unfortunately, few people carry the same enthusiasm over to their car, which is quite weird given that cars are the second largest investment for most.

Whether you typically purchase your vehicles brand new, or used, you want to protect that investment.

Not many of us can afford to purchase a new car every couple of years, but hopefully we can afford to keep our current vehicles in tip top shape so that we do not have to worry about replacing them any time soon.

One of the best ways to keep your vehicle running and looking like new is by doing a “spring cleaning”.

Driving through harsh winter weather can take its toll, and failing to run the necessary maintenance and care tips can lead to car trouble down the road.

It’s best to take care of your car’s needs the moment spring rolls in, so you can travel without fear or concern.

Here are ten spring-cleaning tips to help keep your vehicle in great shape:

Clean The Underbody Of Your Car

Most people remember to wash their cars once a week, but few actually spend time cleaning the underside of the car.

The underbody actually suffers a lot in wintertime, as it accumulates salt from the road, dirt, sand, and other tiny particles that could eventually lead to corrosion.

You don’t need soap for this. You just need a powerful spray to clean the underbody properly. If you can, lift up the car with a jack to clean the underside as thoroughly as possible.

Check Your Shock Absorbers

This is a very easy thing to do, and should honestly be done even if it’s not spring.

Quickly, go to your car and just try to push down. Try this with each corner of the car. Note how fast the car returns to a stable position. If your shock absorbers are still in good shape, the car will settle down after bouncing one to two times. If it takes much longer, then you may have to change your shock absorbers.

Clean The Battery

The stress of going from cold to warm climates is something that could do a number on your battery. Get a toothbrush. Prepare a simple mixture of baking soda and water.

Use these two to get rid of the white crust you find on the battery, as this residue is a byproduct of corrosion and could stop the car from starting easily.

Check Your Tire Pressure

Tires should be inflated with just the right amount of pressure for these to work properly.

If your tires are over-inflated, you are likely to suffer from premature tire wear.

On the other hand, an under-inflated tire undermines the efficiency of a vehicle. Also, remember to check your spare tire too.

Check The Tire Treads

Treads can tell you if the tires on your car are worn out. It’s not a good idea to stick with tires that already have shallow treads. These tires have less traction and you could get into an accident if you don’t replace them.

As with tire pressure, you should regularly check the tire treads for all your tires – and your spare.

Check Your Brake Fluids

Obviously, the brake fluid is one of the most important components of your vehicle. Check it regularly and make sure that the fluid is always between the MIN and MAX markers.

Check Your Engine Oil Regularly

It’s actually quite easy. Take out your dipstick and wipe it clean. Push the dipstick back in. Pull the dipstick out again and check to see if the oil is between minimum and maximum lines. Add oil as necessary.

Change Your Engine Oil & Air Filters

This is something you ought to do every year, if possible. Most manuals suggest changing oil only after you run up 10,000 miles, but for proper maintenance, changing oil several times a year is best.

As well, while your vehicle is in the shop ask that all filters be checked and replaced if necessary.

Replace Your Wipers

Winter can be terrible for your wipers, so it’s best to replace them once spring comes around. Wipers are important, even if they seem lowest in most car owners’ priority list. You’ll need properly working wipers as soon as it starts raining.

Clean The Whole Vehicle – Inside And Out

clean the vehicleDirt can damage your paint and it might even damage your interior fabrics. Winter brings with it a lot of harsh elements, and so it’s best to be prepared to remove any traces of these harmful things.

Begin by taking everything out of your car, right down to your sunglasses.

Clean out the glove compartment and remove anything that is hidden under the seats.

Use a vacuum on the seats and on the floor mats, or wash the floor mats.

Wash the inside of the windows and wipe down the dashboard which is typically covered in dust.

As you wash the outside of your vehicle remember to clean the bottoms of your car doors.

Sort through any stuff that you found in your vehicle and get rid of as much stuff as you can, either by storing stuff in your garage or shed, or disposing of it all together.

If you are anything like me you probably have a snow brush or two in your vehicle along with winter gloves and scarves.

Those things can either go back in the house for a few months or in your garage, if you have one.

If there are certain items that need to go back into your vehicle take this opportunity to get organized.

You will save yourself so much money by taking good care of your vehicle. Yes, some of the above items will cost you a few dollars but that cost is nothing when you compare it to the fact that a new car is $25K or more. And while we all enjoy driving a new car, how much do you really enjoy spending that much money on one? I know I use to enjoy it, but I don’t anymore.


    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 05/16/2013 8:16 a.m. #

      These are all great tips Sicorra! I've also been told by our mechanic that a can of Coke will take care of the corrosion on the battery as well. I guess you just pour it on there and it does the trick.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/16/2013 1:40 p.m. #

        That is a good tip John! Coke has been known to clean up so many things. That is probably why so many people think it is so bad to drink.

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 05/16/2013 10:57 a.m. #

      This is a really great list! I seriously do not spend enough time maintaining our cars. I need to repair some rust spots on my wife's car this Summer as well.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/16/2013 1:41 p.m. #

        Rust can be difficult to keep up with, but if you can, go for it, as it can spread. When I was young I washed my car all the time, inside and out. Nowadays I really have to make a point of making time to do it. Hopefully this weekend :-)

    • Debt Roundup

      Debt Roundup 05/16/2013 11:43 a.m. #

      These are all awesome tips that I follow every year. Most people don't clean the underside of their vehicles and that leads to body rust and decomposition. You would be scared to see how badly rust affects the integrity of the body of any vehicle.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/16/2013 1:43 p.m. #

        I agree Grayson. Many people forget to clean the underside and as well, even under the doors. I remember someone telling me once to make sure to wash under the doors and inside the door rims and then to make sure to dry it properly to avoid rust.

    • Corina Ramos

      Corina Ramos 05/16/2013 7:18 p.m. #

      These tips certainly save you money on repairs. My husband is good at keeping our vehicles maintained.

      I'm the one he's always having to remind to take my car for oil changes and stuff. I figured that's his department like laundry is mine so I wait for him to do it ;)

      Great tips my friend!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/20/2013 12:49 p.m. #

        I think that is a very fair exchange Corina.
        We tend to share the work on our vehicles. This past weekend it was finally nice enough to get our vehicle all washed and cleaned inside. I love doing that to get rid of any sign of winter.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 05/17/2013 6:42 a.m. #

      LOVE these tips, Sicorra! Rick is super anal about our vehicles, so I'll have to send this on to him. Thanks for the great post!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/20/2013 12:50 p.m. #

        Thanks Laurie!

    • Mackenzie

      Mackenzie 05/17/2013 10:38 a.m. #

      Great tips! My husband is good at knowing when these things need to be done ;)

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/20/2013 12:51 p.m. #

        Thanks Mackenzie! I'm beginning to feel like I'm the only woman that likes doing this stuff ;-)

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 05/17/2013 11:51 a.m. #

      Great tips, Sicorra! Cars these days are really built to last but if we don't take care of them properly, we definitely can shorten their life span. My husband is great at making sure we're getting all the necessary services done and appreciate not having to worry about it. :) Have a wonderful weekend, my friend!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 05/20/2013 12:52 p.m. #

        Thanks Shannon! Yes, they can last a long time when they are well taken care of. Too often people buy new vehicles as soon as something goes wrong with the one they have.

    • David Tucker

      David Tucker 05/27/2013 8 a.m. #

      Even though I've come across your post a bit late, I've done the spring cleaning of my car this year. Great tips - thanks for sharing these wise words!

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