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8
De-Winterize Your Car

Snow tires are heavy. When winter's over, swap them for lighter all-season tires.

Bill Grove/iStockphoto

If you loyally followed our Top 10 Car Winterizing Tips, then there are several things you need to do to "un-winterize" your car for the summer weather. First of all, get rid of those snow tires. Snow tires are heavy and will lower your fuel economy.

If you haven't driven your car very much during the winter, or if you've had it in storage, then you need to check all of the fluid levels -- coolant, transmission, differential, power steering and brake fluid -- to make sure there weren't any leaks. You'll also want to change the oil, since oil gets thick and collects condensation if it sits in the engine all winter. If you haven't used your battery in a while, you might need a recharge or a replacement.

It's also important to really clean the undercarriage of the car after a long winter, especially if you live in a snowy climate. The salt that's used to melt snow and ice on roads can get caked on the underside of your car and begin to eat away at the metal. Lots of caked-on gunk will also make your engine and transmission run hotter, because heat has a harder time escaping through the bottom of the car.

You can clean the undercarriage yourself using a plain water hose or high-pressure cleaning system. Many professional car washes and detailing services can also perform a high-pressure steam clean for really nasty build-up.

On the next page, we'll look at some other parts of your engine you might've overlooked -- hoses and belts.

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