Frugal Novice

What to Check on Your Car’s Tires

This is a sponsored post partnered with Moran St.Clair Chrysler Jeep Dodge. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Things to check for on your car’s tires

Your vehicle’s tires are like your shoes. There’s lots of wear and tear on them, they’re not always clean and shiny, but a definite necessity to get around. And like your shoes, you want to make sure that your car has good, efficient tires. Here are a few things to check for or keep an eye on regarding your tires:

You always need to be aware of the tread condition of your tires. A tire with worn or low treads will not have a good grip on the road, even in the best weather conditions. One thing to check regularly on your car is the depth of the tread on your tires. You can invest in a tire tread measurement tool from your local automotive store to accurately measure the depth. If you don’t have one handy, you can also use a penny to look at the depth (if you place the penny in the grooves of your tires and can see Lincoln’s head unobstructed, it’s most likely time for new tires. Some tires even have a wear indicator in the tread; there is usually a bar across the main trench of the tread, and if it’s the same depth as the tread, it’s probably time to replace.

In addition to the depth of the tread, you need to be aware of how the tread is wearing down across the tire. If your tires seem more bald on the interior or exterior of the tire, and it’s not even across the width of the tire… it’s probably a sign that your vehicle needs its alignment checked. If the tire seems more bald on both edges of the tire, it’s usually a sign that they are under-inflated. On the other hand, if they are more bald in the middle/center of the tire, most likely it’s a sign of overinflation. Keeping your eye on any potential wear spots of your tires is a good way to maximize fuel economy as well as safety.

Another good rule of thumb is to be mindful of the age of your tires. Tires are made of rubber, and over time that rubber can crack and weaken. Be it from extreme heat (or cold, in some instances), or dry conditions, tires will also begin to have weak spots from age. Keeping your tires newer also helps stabilize any potential risks when driving.

Another simple thing to check for is any debris that might be embedded in the tire. Sometimes items such as nails and screws can become lodged in a tire and not cause a leak. This is rare, but spotting any potential leaks in your tire helps make sure you don’t have a blowout when traveling at high speeds on the freeway, and saves you from having to change a flat on a busy road. In addition to the tread, also keep an eye on the sidewalls of your car’s tires. Any wear spots or scuffs from riding up on a curb poses a potential weaker spot that could eventually cause a flat, so be mindful of those as well.

It’s also a great idea to keep a tire pressure gauge in every vehicle you own. Most cars now have indicator lights letting the driver know if any tires are under pressure, but these are never perfect. Weather conditions can give you a false warning, so when in doubt, check it yourself. And also start practicing a good habit of checking each tire visually quickly before each drive.

You’d never want to walk around in shoddy shoes, so use the tips above to keep from driving around on unsafe tires.

Items to ALWAYS Check Before Driving

This is a sponsored post partnered with Akins Jeep Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Before driving off down the road, there are a few things you should ALWAYS check before departing. People tend to be more aware of these types of things on long road trips, but these are important even when going down the block. Following these safe guidelines will help ensure you make it to your destination without incident.

CHECK THE PERIMETER OF YOUR VEHICLE

This is always a key thing to do before driving anywhere. Walk around your vehicle before getting inside, paying particular attention to the ground around your car or truck. You never know who or what might have been near it recently, such as kids with bikes that they left on the ground, or a family pet that might be resting nearby. By checking around your vehicle, you help make sure that no obstacles might be in your blind spot once you’re inside your car.

In addition to checking around your vehicle, also pay attention to the condition of the exterior of your car. Do you notice any damage to your car, such as a dent or scratch you haven’t remember seeing recently? How can you be sure that it is in fact new, or if it is something that has been present without you noticing it for quite some time? It’s also good to check and make sure no parts of the vehicle are potentially damaged to the point that they might be a hazard to yourself or other drivers. You should also take note of any of your tires that could be flat or low on air.

SEATBELTS FOR ALL PASSENGERS

Once inside your vehicle, please make sure that ALL passengers, regardless of age or location in the vehicle, are properly buckled in. A person that isn’t buckled in is not only endangering themselves, but the other passengers in the vehicle, in any case of a wreck. A good rule to always enforce while driving is that all people present are securely buckled in, just in case of any incidents.

Also – are there any loose items that could pose a potential risk in the case of a wreck? Are there any heavy objects or loose debris that could cause injury if flung around in a wreck? All items should be properly stowed away in the trunk or secured safely.

MIRRORS

Once all passengers are buckled up, the driver should check both the side and rear view mirrors for optimal visibility. It’s always frustrating when you are driving down the highway and realize you can’t see anything on a side view mirror because it’s still set for a different driver or posture. By adjusting all the mirrors before driving off, you eliminate the risk of having to adjust them while in motion.

If you want to be extra careful before driving, you might also check both your lights and wipers to see if any of them are not functioning properly. These both are more for instances of driving in the evening or in precipitous weather, but a regular check of both is a good idea overall.

By following these simple guidelines, you will help eliminate a few risks before even starting your vehicle.

9 Tips for Optimal Fuel Economy

This is a sponsored post partnered with Winner Auto. All opinions are honest and are my own.

With gas prices always in flux, it can’t hurt to employ a few simple tricks to save a few cents each time you fill up at the pump. Not only will these help save some drops of gas, but most are good practices to also keep your vehicle in good shape.

Stay off the gas pedal

This sounds easy enough, just drive the speed limit, don’t accelerate quickly, and coast when possible. Just using the gas pedal less saves on gas. Some vehicles have a light on your control panel that lets you know when you’re driving in a way that’s using less gasoline.

Always consider your route

We all get in a routine of taking the same route to different places each time, but consider trying an alternate route to see if it’s quicker and less distance. It might not always be the most efficient, depending on the traffic at the time of day, but testing alternate paths to a consistent destination could reveal a better route at a shorter distance.

Don’t idly sit with the car running

Not only is it bad for the air quality around you, but keeping the car running while someone is in the store to get a carton of milk uses a lot of excess gas. Instead, roll the windows down if it’s warmer – roll the windows down, turn the car off, and read a book!

Always make sure your tires are inflated

By keeping your tires properly inflated, you are always ensuring good road contact and traction. When driving with tires that are under-inflated, you are making your vehicle work more, thereby using more gas.

Remember that just because the premium gas is more expensive, doesn’t mean it’s better.

Usually, those higher tier gases are recommended for certain vehicles, but if your vehicle doesn’t require them, there’s no sense in using them. By using the standard option rather than the premium, you will save at least 10 cents a gallon.

Avoid excess weight in the vehicle

It’s just simple math, really – the greater the weight of an object, the more force is required to move the object. So, with more weight in a vehicle, more gas it will require to move it from point A to B. A good practice to have is to always remove objects from your car before driving. Why spend excess gas on moving that box of junk when it doesn’t need to be in your car?

Check your air filter(s)

If you have a clogged or dirty air filter, you are forcing your vehicle to draw in more air using more energy/force than with a clean air filter. By keeping that intake clean, you are letting your car easily pull in air more easily, thereby using less force.

Turn down the AC

When driving on city roads and in the neighborhood, you don’t always need to use the air conditioner. It may be nice for comfort, but at what cost? Fuel economy! By rolling down the windows and letting the breeze in rather than cranking up the AC, you can save on gas every time.

Cruise control

Once on the highway, driving at a constant speed with little to no stops, use your cruise control. It’s built in for ease of use on the driver, but also is a great way to control the use of your gas pedal. Very little acceleration is exerted once you start the cruise control, its a great way to maintain a constant speed at a low RPM

How to Improve Your Credit to Get an Auto Loan

This is a sponsored post partnered with Mr. Ed’s Auto Loans Approved. All opinions are honest and are my own.

You know it’s about time for you to get another vehicle. Maybe your current car is on its last leg, or your family has grown so you need something larger to accommodate your growing brood.

For most of us, we can’t just purchase a car outright for cash – they’re expensive purchases, after all. That’s why auto loans are the solution for most consumers. We have used a loan for each vehicle we’ve purchased.

If you have a low credit score, though, it can make it difficult to get a loan – or if you do get a loan, it might be one with not-so-great terms. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your credit score, and there are places that exist to help you acquire an auto loan. Mr. Ed’s Auto Loans Approved is a great resource with lots of information – and you can even fill out an application on their site to see about getting approved for a loan today.

Here are three tips for improving your credit score. Start today – you’ll be so glad you did!

  1. Pay off your debt. This one seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming when you have debt and you can just end up floundering and doing nothing. Be proactive and take steps to pay off your debt, even if it’s a little at a time. And once you DO get your balances lower (or, ideally, gone!) make a conscious effort to keep little to no debt on your cards. Your ratio of debt to available credit is something that weighs heavily on your credit score.
  2. Be cautious about opening new cards, but don’t close old unused cards. If you open new cards that is just more and more temptation to spend – and you’re also creating lots of inquiries on your credit score to open the new accounts. But if you have cards you haven’t used in a while and they have no balance, keep them open – they help improve that ratio we talked about in point #1.
  3. Pay bills on time. If you want someone to loan you money, your best bet at being approved is to have a history of repaying other debts responsibly. Creditors look at your history, because how you’ve managed debt in the past tends to indicate how you’ll handle it in the future – and they want to get repaid! Pay your other bills on time, too, and take advantage of auto-pay setups whenever possible, to remove the possibility of you forgetting a payment.

Texas Road Trips

This is a sponsored post partnered with Star Dodge. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Texas is a HUGE state. It would take 10-12 hours to drive from the most Eastern point to the most Western point, and even a little longer to drive from the Southern tip to the top of the panhandle. You don’t have to drive your car to the ends of the earth Texas to have a vacation, though – here are a few great road trip options all within 2-3 hours of the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Waco: Roughly 90 minutes away from Dallas/Fort Worth, this city has gained popularity recently due to a certain show from HGTV. People are flocking to Magnolia Market, and it’s a fun stop for shopping – and now Magnolia Table is open for dining, too. The store sits alongside a plot of land that houses food trucks and benches with tables, and a big patch of faux grass for kids to run and play. The adjacent lot houses a bakery so you can satisfy your sweet tooth. You can visit the Cameron Park Zoo for a less-crowded animal-viewing experience, stop by the Dr. Pepper museum, enjoy a stroll across the suspension bridge, and even take the kids to see a real mammoth excavation site.

Rough Creek Lodge and Resort: This resort is nestled on 11,000 acres in Glen Rose, in the foothills of the picturesque Texas Hill Country. Located 90 minutes southwest of Dallas Fort Worth, Texas the lodge boasts exquisite grounds. There’s hunting, fishing, paintball, and even a spa.

The Inn at Dos Brisas: This luxury resort is located in the Hill Country. Visit the full service equestrian center for carriage tours, riding lessons, and trail riding, or play a match at their tennis court. Relax next to the outdoor heated infinity pool. The inn’s romantic restaurant is the only Forbes five-star restaurant in Texas, serving organic dishes made with ingredients from the resort garden. You can have an action-packed outdoor vacation or a quiet escape, complete with private accommodations and a patio for taking in the panoramic views.

If you feel like you can’t take a long vacation this summer, venture out for a weekend getaway to one of these locations, or the many other options available across Texas.

Make Your Car Feel New Again

This is a sponsored post partnered with Legacy Jeep Dodge Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

When you’ve had your vehicle for a while, it’s easy for the “shine” to feel like it’s faded since when you first drove it off the lot. If you take a few steps, though, you can freshen your vehicle right up and make it feel almost like new again! Here are a few suggestions to spruce up your ride.

Get it detailed. If you’ve never had this done before, you may think it’s just a glorified car wash. You’d be thinking wrong, my friend. A car detailing gets into every single nook and cranny. Your dashboard will be gleaming; your upholstery will look refreshed. This can cost a lot, but do your research and you can find good deals. There’s one place in my city that charges around $150 for detailing, but I recently discovered another that charges half that (and has a good reputation; you want to make sure you’re putting your car in good hands.

Change out your floor mats. This can be a safety issue as much as an aesthetic one, so you can kill two birds with one stone by replacing your vehicle’s floor mats. They can easily look grungy, but for drivers it can be a danger if mats have holes in them that feet could get snagged on.

Scrub your upholstery. Think about it – upholstery makes up the largest surface area for most vehicles. So even if you don’t see noticeable stains on your seats or floors, giving them a good scrub can really brighten the fabric and give it new life. You can buy cans of cleaners with a built-in scrubber, or you can use a carpet cleaner machine with an upholstery attachment to get it really clean.

Wipe down all windows inside and out. Often times our vehicles’ windows only get cleaned on the outside, but it’s just as impactful to clean the interior side of windows. Fingerprints, smudges, and more can make your car feel dingy and dated. When your car’s windows are sparkling, they’ll look brand new.

Drive Safely on Rainy Roads

This is a sponsored post partnered with Reedman Toll of Drexel Hill. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In the spring season it’s not uncommon to encounter a patch of rain while you’re driving your car down the road. Sometimes it’s just a drizzle, but you might just get caught in a downpour, and it’s good to be prepared with tactics to navigate wet roads safely.

Check your tires. Before you even get on the road this spring, take your vehicle in to a tire shop to have a check-up. You want good, deep treads on your tires to help channel the water out of your way.

Double up on keeping your windshield clear. You’ll want to have good windshield wipers, of course, but it’s also a great idea to put a water repellant like Rain-X on your windshield. On one road trip my family was stuck in a multi-hour rainstorm. We were able to stop about an hour into the trip and buy some Rain-X, and the difference was just amazing – we barely needed to use the wipers because the rain just beaded up and rolled off almost instantaneously.

Watch out for hydroplaning. This is always the thing I worry about most when driving in the rain. The feeling of losing control of your vehicle, even momentarily, is a scary one, and it could lead to a dangerous situation. If you start to hydroplane, let off the gas pedal slowly and be sure to steer straight. If your car begins to spin, turn your wheel slowly in the direction that the vehicle is spinning. This will feel counterintuitive, but it is important. Do not turn your wheel against the direction your car is spinning, and don’t turn your wheel sharply – this could easily turn into an overcorrection and lead you to flip your vehicle.

Stay farther away from other vehicles than you normally would. You absolutely do not want to have to brake quickly on wet roads, because it can send you into a tailspin, and because you don’t have the traction to stop in as short of a distance as you typically would on dry roads. When you’re approaching a stop, try to take your foot off the accelerator earlier to make braking easier.

Pro Tips for Road Trips

This is a sponsored post partnered with Pearson Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram. All opinions are honest and are my own.

Summer is just 2 months away, and that means a lot of you are probably already thinking about your family vacations. In our family, we have 3 kids, so road trips are always the most economical option. And honestly, I kind of love them anyway. We try to fit in some fun stops along the way, we play games as a family, and it is an opportunity for lots of memories.

That being said, it’s important to plan well to make your road trip successful. First of all, pack well. You need your essentials, like clothes and toiletries, of course. If you are making multiple stops along the way, rather than packing one suitcase per person, pack one suitcase per night. This way you only have to get one suitcase out of your vehicle – so much easier!

It’s also good to be prepared just in case any problems arise on the trip. Pack a first-aid kit, fire extinguisher, jumper cables, foam tire sealant, blankets, and water so that you’re ready for almost anything.

Another aspect of road trips to consider is entertainment. When you’re on a long trip, it can be easy for kids to get restless. There are easy ways to keep things from getting boring even while you’re driving down the road for hours. My very favorite tip for road trip entertainment is to take advantage of Redbox. Movies are about $1.50 to rent, so it’s a cheap option – and you can return discs to any location, so you can rent a movie in one city and return it in another – no need to take up valuable space in the car with a bunch of DVDs. Let the kids take turns picking a movie – or you can even devise a way for them to earn the opportunity to choose. I also like to make “road trip binders” for my kids with blank comic book panels, puzzles, coloring sheets (for my daughter) and other activity pages. When there are puzzles involved I sometimes have inexpensive prizes available, which adds another layer of fun.

I hope these tips help make your road trip stellar this summer!

Gas (& Money) Saving Tips

This is a sponsored post partnered with Puente Hills Chrysler Dodge Jeep. All opinions are honest and are my own.

If you’re like us, springtime often means more driving on a day-to-day basis. We’ve got rehearsals and practices and all sorts of activities to drive our kids around to each week, and with all that driving the amount of money we’re spending on gas can really add up quickly. You can’t always help how much you’re driving, of course, but you can take steps to make your dollar stretch further. Try these easy tips to maximize your gas in the tank and minimize the amount of money you’re spending on gas each month.

  1. Avoid the “lead foot” driving style. When I was a teenager, I was the worst about this. I didn’t think one bit about how much gas I was wasting with this habit! Rapidly accelerating your car can guzzle gas quickly. Our current vehicle – and many others – now have a feature that shows you if you’re using your gas economically. In our vehicle, a green light that says “Eco” shows up on my dashboard. If I press on the gas pedal to speed up, I’ll notice that light turn off. Try to accelerate gradually, drive at a consistent speed (be sure and take advantage of cruise control) and not pound on the gas pedal at lights or on the freeway to pass someone, and your tank of gas will last longer.
  2. Idle cars make for lots of wasted gas. I’m guilty of this often, especially during the school year! When I’m waiting to pick up the kids from school I sit for 10-15 minutes at each campus with the car – and air conditioner – on. Idling can use a quarter to a half a gallon of fuel per hour, and if you’re using your air conditioner while you sit like I do it can use even more fuel. Turn your engine off when you’re parked, and roll down your windows. If it’s the fall and a little chilly, keep a jacket in the car  rather than keeping your heater running. 
  3. Take advantage of fuel savings programs. Our grocery store lets us accumulate points that translate into money off our gas costs – we can earn up to $1.00 off per gallon if we save up our points. There are other savings card programs through gas stations and credit cards, too. If you’re loyal to certain gas stations, points can really add up quickly if you always take your car to those stations – and they can save you a lot on each tank of gas.
  4. Search for the best prices before you fuel up. This used to mean driving around from gas station to gas station, which seems somewhat counterintuitive. Now, though? Apps abound to help you find the best price to fill up your tank. A few minutes of research can end up really saving you a good bit of money over time. When you’re traveling, take the time to drive a little farther from the freeway and you’ll likely find better prices than right along the interstate.

See how easy it is to save money on gas? A few small changes in your habits can really add up.

Pamper Your Vehicle with DIY Detailing

This is a sponsored post partnered with Thompson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Baltimore. All opinions are honest and are my own.

In another recent post I talked about “tidying up” your car a la Marie Kondo – but this post takes it one step further. We’re talking about car detailing. Have you ever had your vehicle detailed? It is the most in-depth cleaning you can think of; once it’s done, you’ll almost feel like you’re driving a new car. There’s just something nice about having a pristine-feeling vehicle, right? No matter what your circumstance, detailing your vehicle is a way to pamper yourself – and your car. If you’re not willing, or able, to shell out the money for someone else to detail your car, don’t worry! Here are some steps to do it yourself and save money:

1.     Buff your vehicle’s paint. A good car wash goes a long way, but use an oscillating buffer with some polish to really make your car gleam. Follow up by waxing your car and you’ll get a great shine to your car’s exterior that will definitely make it feel new! If you don’t have a buffer, you can buff by hand (added bonus: a workout!).

2.     Use an air compressor to really get all the crumbs and dust out of your car. There are lots of nooks and crannies you just can’t reach with a vacuum. Our minivan has tracks in the floor for the second-row captain’s seats to slide back and forth, and they’re notorious for catching crumbs and dirt. An air compressor can really make a difference in the depth of cleaning you’re able to achieve. Borrow one, rent one, or invest in one – regardless of how you acquire one, you’ll be glad you did. An air compressor loosens dirt from the carpet and seats, making it easier for you to clean.

3.      Remove all mats from your vehicle before vacuuming. Vacuum the interior well (after using the air compressor, of course) and take care of the mats while they’re outside of the car. While the mats are out, go ahead and wash them with a steam cleaner to get them looking great before you put them back in your vehicle. If your mats are looking kind of sad, this would be a good time to replace them with new mats. It’s a cost-efficient way to really spruce up the look of your car (and you don’t want any loose threads or tears to become a safety hazard for the driver).

4.     Use glass cleaner inside and out. Y’all, the inside of our car windows are often dirtier than the outside, thanks to children who love to wipe their fingers along steamy glass to make drawings on the windows. You might not really think about cleaning the insides of your windows, but that’s where all the fingerprints are (or, another issue we have – nose prints from dogs that ride in the vehicle). Get your windows sparkling by using glass cleaner (a spray or wipes) on the interior and exterior of your windows. Be sure to follow up with a dry cloth to avoid streaking.

5.     Wipe down all hard surfaces with a cleaner. You’ll remove any grime or dust settled on the car, and then you can finish off the job with something like Armor All to give a little added shine. Wipe your dashboard, of course, but also think about wiping off other hard surface areas you might not typically consider like around the doors where people put their hands, or on area where you clip your seatbelt in. Make sure to clean out all cup holders, too. Our kids often spill things in the cupholders by their seats, but even if there aren’t any spills, cupholders tend to attract a lot of dust and crumbs.

On the next nice Saturday, take a little time to detail your vehicle using these steps and you’ll feel like you’ve got a brand new car!

Why the Subaru Ascent is a Perfect Family Vehicle

This is a sponsored post partnered with Reedman-Toll Subaru of Downington. All opinions are honest and are my own.

We love Subarus in our family. We’ve owned a Forester and loved it. And we own an Impreza that is 11 years old, and that we are saving to be our son’s first car once he’s old enough to drive. Both my mother & mother-in-law bought Foresters at our suggestion. We love the dependability and safety that Subarus provide, along with the top-notch quality of every element that goes into each vehicle.

The one thing we’ve always hoped for is a larger vehicle from Subaru. With three kids, the Impreza, Outback, and Forester would all fit our family, but we really want three rows and a little more space for hauling gear or going on road trips.

Well, our car prayers have been answered – the Subaru has released the Subaru Ascent, and it’s a great vehicle for slightly larger families like ours. Here’s why the Ascent is a perfect family vehicle:

  • It has flexible seating. We really wanted three rows, which the Ascent offers, but it also allows you the opportunity to fold seats down as needed so you can configure it for different situations. You can also pick whether to have captain’s chairs or a bench seat in the second row. I love the idea of the captain’s chairs for our family, because it makes it even easier to get back to the third row.
  • It has Standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. The stability that this provides makes for a safer drive, which we all want especially when our kids are in the car with us, right?
  • It can get up to 27 MPG. I am amazed by this, because a lot of times I think we equate SUVs with lower gas mileage. When you’re a parent, you’re always looking for ways to save money, and gas efficiency is a big part of that.
  • It has available WiFi connectivity and loads of USB ports. It’s just a fact – people want to be able to stay connected on their devices, even while on the road. These features are awesome for day-to-day use, but can you imagine how much more pleasant they’ll make road trips with kids?

We haven’t gotten an Ascent yet but it’s on our wish list – we can’t wait to get one for our family!

Spring Cleaning? Don’t forget your car!

This is a sponsored post partnered with Reedman Toll Chevrolet. All opinions are honest and are my own.

With the popularity of Marie Kondo and “tidying up” people all over the country are paring down – and cleaning up – their homes. I’ve actually been working on our own home, going room by room to purge and freshen up each space.

It’s easy to just focus on our homes for a spring cleaning, but the truth is our cars should be a part of that process too. After all, we’re in our vehicles almost every single day! With three kids, our car can get messy fast but I like to keep it presentable in case someone else rides with us. Plus, doesn’t it just feel better when your car is clean?

Let’s talk about a few tips for tidying and freshening up your vehicle ahead of spring:

1.     Take your car to get washed. You like to go to the spa, right? Think of this as your car’s visit to the spa – it’ll get sparkling clean on the outside, and most places either vacuum for you or provide vacuums for you to do it yourself. When we have company coming, I always take our car to be washed first. If you’re adverse to spending money on a car wash, you can schedule a weekend day to do it yourself at home – or better yet, make the kids do it! It can be a fun task that they might actually enjoy.

2.     Get into the habit of throwing trash away each time you get gas. You’re standing around waiting for the gas to pump anyway – why not be productive? This will help keep trash from piling up and seeming like a daunting task to tackle. And when we’re on road trips, we make the kids throw trash away at each stop. When you stay on top of things, it’s a lot easier to clean than if you let it all pile up.

3.  Use baskets and tubs to organize.  Go to the dollar store and get some small baskets, or shoebox-sized tubs with lids. Marie Kondo is a big fan of categorizing items in drawers and closets, and this can be just as effective in vehicles. Some ideas for things to keep on hand: first aid kit, changes of clothes, nonperishable snacks, and simple cleaning products.

4.  Even if your kids are grown, keep wipes on hand. These are great for cleaning spills, wiping down the hard surfaces in the car, and cleaning up the kids, too. Quick wipe-ups help prevent stains from setting in and can curtail a sticky mess before it spreads. If you have wipes handy, it’s easy to take a second here and there to clean up messes you see… if not, it’s easy to forget about them and never really get around to cleaning up.

5. Change your cabin air filter. This doesn’t provide a visible effect, but it’s just as important as the other items on this list for keeping your car in tip-top shape for spring. With all the pollen that can be in the air during the spring, you want to be sure you and your family aren’t breathing all that in while you’re driving your car down the road.