Getting Your car Ready for Spring

Winter is pretty much behind us; time to start thinking about sunny spring days. Spring is the time for rebirth in nature…and for our cars.

Since we’re all in the mood for spring cleaning our homes, it’s also a good idea to take a look at getting our cars ready for spring, and the summer months just behind.

There are many things you can do to transition your car from winter to spring driving. Here are four tips to get you started.

Say goodbye to winter grime…get your car detailed.

Though here in Lexington we don’t get as much snow and ice on the roads as our neighbors to the north, messy winter weather can still leave your shiny pride and joy looking kind of sad. A thorough inside and out cleaning of your vehicle will have it looking and feeling showroom fresh again.

A reputable detailer can probably put the spring back in your car’s step for less than $200. They’ll vacuum, shampoo, clean and treat leather and plastic surfaces, saying goodbye to all that grimy winter build-up.

Since the exterior is the public face of your car, you’ll want that looking its best. After a few months of rain, snow, slush and road salt, there’s lots of gunk built up around and under the car. After a thorough pressure wash of the undercarriage, your detailer will wash, wax, buff, and polish until the finish glows. A tire treatment will complete the picture.

Say goodbye to dings and dents

If you’re on a budget, you can still utilize ways of repairing those small scratches and scrapes from the grocery store parking lot. Small bottles of paint that match your car’s finish don’t cost much, and that, combined with a little elbow grease, can get your ride looking much better. It will also help to keep rust at bay…rust likes nothing better than bare metal to gain its toehold in.

If your car’s body has experienced more substantial damage, it may be a time for a visit to the body shop. That’s when the bills can start to mount up, but the return on investment when you go to sell the vehicle might just pencil out. Pristine paint and sleek sheet metal always command a higher price. Plus, you’ll be tooling around Lexington in a car that looks its best…and that makes you look good too.

Oils well that ends well.

Today’s cars and trucks don’t really require oil changes as often as they did in the past, but this routine maintenance is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way of keeping your vehicle performing up to snuff. It can dramatically increase the serviceable life of your engine.

When you have your oil changed by a reputable auto repair shop such as Auto Excel, the technician not only drain and replace the oil and pop in a new filter. He will have a sharp eye out for such signs of trouble as excessive oil use and any leaky seals. These symptoms can lead to much greater problems down the road.

Manufacturer’s recommended intervals for oil change vary, but many are around the 3,000-mile mark. If you drive 10,000 miles a year, that means roughly every four months you’ll want to schedule service. Perhaps spring is a good place to start with that cycle: March, July, and November should do the trick.

Where the rubber meets the road.

Spring is a good time to have your tires inspected and rotated. If they’re showing signs of tread wear, it’s probably a good idea to look at replacing them.

When the cooler temperatures of winter morph into warmer spring days, the air in your tires becomes less dense and therefore the tire pressure varies. Properly inflated tires are essential to maintaining a good grip on the road, and also has a dramatic influence on fuel economy. And who doesn’t want to save a few bucks on gas?

While you’re at it, have your mechanic check to see that your vehicle’s tires are wearing evenly. If not, then perhaps he will recommend having them balanced and possibly have the alignment corrected. It’s also a good time to examine brake pads and rotors, to make sure you’re operating a safe vehicle.

There are lots of other maintenance items that need attention as the weather warms, such as coolant mix and level, topping off fluids like those in the car’s brake and steering systems and making sure your windshield washer fluid reservoir is full. A little spring maintenance can lengthen the life of your car or truck and give you many hours of happy, worry-free motoring in the years to come.

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