Don’t forget spring cleaning for your car

HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — You’ve raked the yard and dusted the house after a long winter, but you may not have even thought about spring cleaning for your car — and that could cost you big bucks down the road.

“Some dents will show up that you didn’t see before,” Kelly Glass, the general manager at Gerber Collision in Holland, pointed out. “Not every one will have to be fixed by a body shop. There are paintless dent removal guys that are way, way cheaper.”

Saving that money and taking the time to get it done now could save you in the long run. A February report from AAA estimates Americans pay about $3 billion a year to repair rust damage that forms because of road de-icers.

“All the stuff that they put on the roads nowadays, there’s a lot of gravel in it, a lot of stones in it and it does beat up the front of the car with stone chips and so on,” Glass warned.

Experts advise that some 150 million people — 70 percent of the population — in areas affected by snow and ice should take action now before there’s dangerous rust-related damage to brake lines, fuel tanks, exhaust systems and other vehicle components. They suggest touching up paint scratches and chips that could expose bare metal and lead to rust later.

“The material that comes off your brakes, little pieces of metal comes off, goes onto the road and that mixes with salt in the winter time and that stuff gets on your vehicle. And a lot of people think that their vehicle is rusting but it’s not — it’s brake dust,” explained Glass, who added that the brake dust buildup can be a nightmare to clean off if you let it sit.

Experts at suggest checking the engine’s cooling system as the weather gets warmer because that’s the system that prevents overheating, according to an AccuWeather report.

And if you haven’t done it already, wash the undercarriage. If you don’t do it now, any deposits left over from winter can lead to corrosion year-round.