Winter can be really hard on your car. From salt on the roadways to constantly wet floor mats, you car can take a serious beating during the colder seasons. That’s why a good, solid spring clean is a necessary part of general car care. Here are some important tips for getting your ride summer ready.

Remove your winter tires

A lot of people think a tire is a tire, right? Wrong. Winter tires are made from a kind of rubber that is designed to be the safest tire in cold weather and on ice but not for summer heat. Winter tires can melt or lose their tread patterns more than all-season tires and if you aren’t careful you can actually make the tires unsafe for winter driving, which could cost you big bucks next winter.

Go for the high quality wash and wax

It’s ok to go for the basics in between seasons, but spring is the time to give your car a little extra love. Go to a local business and spend a little more money on the top of the line option in spring to ensure you get all the sand, salt and winter grit off your car so it doesn’t sit and eat away at the car body. Waxing your car will give it a great protective coating and help it keep its shine for longer.

If you’d prefer, spend a little extra time and wash your car by yourself on a nice sunny day. Make sure you get all the salt and debris out from the undercarriage as build up can cause problems to the steering and suspension components. Just make sure you’re OK to do this &emdash; a few Canadian cities have bylaws against driveway car washing.

Suck it up

Spring cleaning shouldn’t be left to the external car body &emdash; make sure you give the inside some TLC as well. Spring is a good time to remove all the car mats, shake them out and give them a good vacuum. While you’re at it, make sure you vacuum up under the seats, under the console and into all the nooks and crannies you can think of. Salt and debris from your winter boots can get caught in the smallest of places and eventually cause some serious damage.

While you’re there, give the dash a good clean as well. If it’s just dust, a damp cloth will do. However, you may want to use a cleanser if things are really dirty. Just make sure it doesn’t contain silicone or solvents as they can damage your console or dashboard.

Clean the Windows

After a season of frosty windows, spring is a great time to clean the windows &emdash; inside and out. Pro tip: Don’t spray glass cleaner directly onto the rear view mirror, especially if you’re in a newer car. The chemicals can get inside the mirror and cause damage.

Check under the hood

While you’re washing and cleaning, make sure to check under the hood. Sometimes, after a really messy winter, you may need to wipe along the edges of the engine area. If there’s a lot of debris, call a professional cleaner to ensure your engine is clean and free to do what it does best.

Less junk in the trunk

Go through your trunk and get rid of things you aren’t going to need for spring or summer. Winter boots, extra salt and all those other cold weather items can be put away for another year. This will create space for all the warm weather toys you may want to store there for those random frisbee games or summer adventures. And, since you’re already there, give this space a little once over with the vacuum as well.

Bring your car in for a service

After a season of snow, ice, salt and slush, it might be good to have your vehicle get a once-over from a professional. They will make sure that everything survived winter, is in good working order, and that all your fluid levels are where they should be. They will also be able identify any potential areas that might be a problem next winter.

Bonus tip:

If you have leather seats, make sure you clean these with a specialized leather cleaner followed by a leather conditioner. This will help keep the leather soft and will help to avoid cracking as it ages.