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Spring cleaning? Don't forget the car

Posted March 12

For some, spring cleaning is a time-honored ritual, which doesn't just apply to your house. Remember that your car is likely in desperate need of some attention after the winter months.

For some, spring cleaning is a time-honored ritual, which doesn’t just apply to your house.

Remember that your car is likely in desperate need of some attention after the winter months.

“A car that`s well-maintained is safer, cheaper to run, more reliable and can be worth more money at resale time,” says Brian Moody, executive editor of Autotrader.

To help, Autotrader editors are sharing “Simple Spring Car Care” tips to get your car in tip-top shape for the busy driving season ahead:

– Wash and wax your car thoroughly. If you can afford it, have it professionally detailed. However, if you do it yourself, be sure to use a pressure nozzle in order to rid your car of any leftover road salt or sand from the winter. Direct sunlight can cause a car’s finish to become dull, but a thorough washing and waxing can also help keep your car’s paint and clear coat looking good.

It’s tempting to run the car through an automated car wash, but those big revolving brushes can dull the finish over time. If you’re not allowed to wash your car at home due to regional laws or neighborhood rules, seek out a good drive-thru wash and hand wax instead.

– Check and set your car’s tire pressure to the level specified in your owner’s manual or on the driver’s door sill. As temperatures warm up, the air in your tires can expand and that might impact the way the car handles.

Be sure not to over-inflate the tires. While low tire pressure can cause the tire to heat up if it’s not rolling down the road properly, extreme over inflation can cause a blowout in high temperatures. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, take your car to a shop like Big-O Tires, Sears Auto Center or Firestone Auto Care Center — those kinds of chains will usually do it for free.

– Have a qualified mechanic do a visual inspection under the hood. If you’re comfortable doing this yourself, check for worn belts or hoses and make sure your coolant (sometimes called anti-freeze) isn’t too old. Coolant lasts a long time, but keeping track of when it was last changed, especially in older cars, can help you avoid overheating as the temperatures gradually climb.

For more tips for keeping your vehicle in great shape whether it’s hot, cold, or rainy can be found at www.Autotrader.com.

For better driving all season long, make sure your spring to-do list includes cleaning and maintaining your car.

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