Winter has finally waned, spring has sprung, and the passing of Memorial Day means summer road trips are just around the corner!
If you haven't already done it, now is the time to prepare your car for the summer travel season with the yearly ‘spring cleaning’ ritual.
1. Give it a Bath.
Winter was hard on both the exterior and interior of your vehicle, so be sure to give it a thorough wash to get the salt off of the outside. For the inside, just vacuuming may not be enough; power wash the floor mats to ensure all of the salt and winter dirt is gone. Salt removal is important to both the exterior and interior because it can cause scratching and marring as well as premature rusting.
And while the topic has been hotly debated, Mythbusters has proven that a clean car can also benefit gas mileage, saying that a dirty car cuts fuel economy by around 10 percent.
2. Restore Visibility.
Millions of cars have faded, cloudy plastic headlight lenses caused by exposure to the sun, which can impair nighttime driving visibility and cause glare. If you'll be doing a lot of night driving, this can seriously affect visibility and safety, epecially if you'll be on roads that are poorly lit. The American Optometric Association reports that 90 percent of all driving decisions are based solely on visual cues, whch means if you can't see well, then you can't drive well.
You can easily restore your headlights to “like-new” using a pre-packaged kit such as the ones available from Sylvania or TurtleWax for less than $25, whereas replacing the entire assembly can cost upwards of $300. It takes less than an hour and doesn’t require any special tools or experience. Not only does restoring your lenses provide safety benefits, it also improves the appearance of your vehicle, enhancing its value.
3. Freshen the Air.
It's bad enough when annoyed siblings complain about the smell of other passengers in close proximity, but what about annoying odors coming in from the outside? Cabin air filters can help with both, as they purify the air circulating in the cabin and can remove pollen, mold spores, and other allergens as they enter the vehicle's ventilation system. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t know cabin air filters exist, let alone need to be replaced on a regular basis. On most vehicles, these filters are easy to install and can be replaced right in the driveway by handy DIY-ers, or it can easily be done at the shop.
Filters get the most dirty in fall when leaves and other debris make their way in to the car's ventilation system. Drivers should check and replace in the spring to ensure clean air is entering the cabin of their vehicle, protecting the health of passengers.