Are you ready to start road tripping in this nice weather? You may be ready to hit the open road, but is your car ready to get you to your destination safely. Before you drive to your vacation destination, make sure to follow these steps to get your car prepared. You can learn more at consumer reports.
Freshening the interior
Start by cleaning out any trash and removing unneeded items, like that ice scraper. Then organize what’s left, and stow away items in side pockets or compartments. Leaving things loose not only creates clutter, but items left on seats, the rear shelf, or dashboard can become deadly projectiles in a crash. Once everything is tucked away, use a mild cleaning spray and a microfiber cloth to remove dust and grime off the dash and plastic surfaces.
Next, use a vacuum to remove debris and dirt from the seats, floor mats, rugs, and trunk. A rented steam cleaner works well for deep cleaning stains, but those can get expensive. Try a household spray-on carpet cleaner first. For leather trim, use a leather cleaner. Clean the inside of windows with glass cleaner, but spray directly onto your cloth to avoid streaking.
Restoring the exterior shine
Come to Mr. Magic Car Wash and use your great deals to get your car clean for your spring or summer road trip. We have great deals that give your the best shine on your car for a great value.
Spring is also a great time to check your windshield wipers for wear and tear after battling snow and ice. If they’re leaving streaks or missing parts of the windshield, it’s probably time for new blades. Our tests have found that most blades are ready for replacement after just six months, but you can try extending their service life by wiping them with a cloth and glass cleaner before removing them. (See our windshield wiper buying advice.)
The winter months can also be tough on tires. If yours have less than 4/32-inch of tread left, then it’s time to go shopping. You can easily check tread depth by inserting a quarter into a tire’s deepest grooves, head pointing down. If you can see the top of George Washington’s head, that means you have 1/8 of tread or less, and it’s time to start shopping for new rubber. (See our tire buying advice and ratings.)
In addition, check to make sure the tires are properly inflated. In our tests, we noticed a decrease in highway fuel efficiency when tires were underinflated by 10 psi. More important, underinflated tires compromise handling and braking, and wear faster.
Under hood, clean engine parts with plain soap and water or with a commercial degreasing product, like Gunk. Be careful, though, not to get electrical connections wet. Be particularly attentive to keeping water away from the fuse box, cable junctions, and the large electrical connectors near the firewall.
If the battery terminals are growing a fuzz of white encrustation, you should clean the battery with a damp rag soaked with a solution of water and baking soda. Use a stiff toothbrush dipped in the baking-soda solution for the tough parts. (Wear eye protection and gloves when working around the battery.) You can then coat the terminals with a dielectric (non-conducting) protective grease, and spray the outside of the battery with a clear sealer. Both these products are available at auto-parts stores.
Summer can be harder on your battery than winter, due to the impact on temperature on the chemicals. Have the battery tested, and be proactive in buying a replacement. (See our car battery buying advice and ratings.)