BY GERRY MILES
The early arrival of spring weather in the Northeast — which we hope certainly stays around — will lead to folks shedding their winter coats, stowing shovels and snowblowers, hauling out the deck furniture, hoses and preparing for gardening, sun and fun,
Clear out your junk from your trunk. *$$$ Saver*.
At one point, it was “in” to have “junk in one’s trunk” but that was in Hollywood where things aren’t always as real as they may be made to be seen. Or in reality. Really.
Clearing out the “clutter” that has accumulated over the winter (juice boxes, crumbled Animal Crackers, loose coins, toys, beads and other kid trinkets) all adds weight that curbs your fuel economy, will lighten your load, and positively affect your gas mileage, handling and braking distance.
Replace old spark plugs and air filters *$$$ Saver*. OK the spark plugs may no longer be shade tree items, but air filters are cheaper at your local parts store, and often need fewer than 30 minutes to see and replace that dirty thing your engine was trying to breath through. Spark plugs should be replaced every 50,000 miles, whereas filters should be replaced as often as every 15,000-30,000 miles.
Change your wiper blades. Can you see me now? Winter driving conditions wear wipers out. Make a streak for the parts store and some new wipers. It’s good to see what may be in your way before you find out the hard way. And those April showers won’t seem so bad when its cleanly swept aside.
Upgrade your tires *$$$ Saver*. Never underestimate the role tires play in performance, handling and safety. Two of the most important things you can do is to check your tread and your tire pressure. Driving on under-inflated tires can be dangerous and expensive (driving on underinflated tires can result in a 25% reduction in fuel economy!). And if you find your tread is in trouble, swap worn-out tires for good all-season or performance-boosting tires. Driving enthusiasts should check out the new Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ which delivers true all-season performance and incredible wet and dry braking.
Wash the exterior *$$$ Saver*. No this is not brought to you by the car wash industry, since it should be common sense. Make sure you give your vehicle’s exterior (and its undercarriage) a thorough wash. All the chemicals and salt from winter can lead to serious damage and rust if left unwashed, negatively affecting the look and value of your car. A quick wash now can save you an expensive undertaking down the road!
Not giving your car’s undercarriage a wash can leave the tiny clamps and hoses that are hidden from view a change to sustain corrosion from the salts and sand that can be washed away easily.