The snow is melting. The days are getting longer. The April rain has washed away the salt and dirt from the roads. How does your car look? Chances are, unless it never snows where you live, it's not looking so good. Salt encrusted in the wheel wells. Wiper blades fought and lost their battle with snow and ice. There's more wear on your tires that wasn't there last year. It's time for some spring cleaning.
Even if you're not the kind of person to scrape their wiper blades over impenetrable ice buildup, ice particles probably did some damage to the blades. They just wear out faster in the winter, even with proper care. Inspect each blade thoroughly, looking for signs of wear or cracking. Even if you don't see anything, check and make sure the blades are clearing the windshield of water with every wipe. If anything is amiss, go ahead and get those replaced. You'll need them for those April showers.
Wash and Wax
Dirt and grime can build up any time of year. But salt is the absolute worst. Salt might melt ice on roads, but it's murder on your car's exterior. Soap your car up in your driveway or take it to a good car wash. Remember: Debris and grime can damage the paint and finish, and salt can lead to rust. Wash it all off, then give your car a much-needed wax.
If your dash alerts you to changes in tire pressure, you probably noticed that warning light go on when the first temperature dropped last year. You might have dutifully topped off your tires. Well, as spring sunshine comes, the air in your tires heats and expands. That might "over-inflate" your tires, meaning the pressure inside them might increase past the manufacturer's specifications. Go ahead and check that pressure and let a little air out as needed.
Pop the Hood
It's never a bad idea to check your engine, whether you do it yourself or take your car to a mechanic. Cold temperatures can leave your belts and hoses brittle or worn. Coolant can age. We tend to delay working on the car or going to the mechanic in the winter for the same reason we delay a lot of things in the winter. It's too cold to want to go outside. Now is a great time to get out there and head off potential problems at the pass. You don't want your car breaking down later.
Alignment and Suspension
Winter roads are pothole season, which can wreak havoc on your car. Do you and your car a favor: while you're at the mechanics, ask for an alignment and suspension checkup.
Vacuum Out that Car
Finally, you put it off all winter because no one wants to stand in ankle deep snow holding a vacuum attachment. But now's the time to go for a deep clean of the car. Who knows? You might find spare change for an ice cream cone.