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Main: 866-277-0159 Service: 866-312-0166 Parts: 866-418-5048
Main: 866-277-0159
Service: 866-312-0166
Parts: 866-418-5048

Spring Car Care Tips From Joe Cotton Ford Your Local Chicagoland Dealer



As the temperatures finally beging to rise, you know spring has arrived. We here in Chicagoland know we have been through a very long winter and now that spring is here we need to take care of our cars that had to weather a crazy Chicago winter. All the cold, ice, snow and slush were hard on your car, so consider some of these spring car care tips from Joe Cotton Ford, to wash winter away.

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, folks across Chicagoland will begin their annual spring cleaning. After a long, harsh winter, many items in and around your home will need a good, thorough cleaning, including your vehicle. This spring-cleaning checklist will help you give your vehicle the attention it needs while extending its life and making sure it’s ready to face the road ahead.


Top 10 Car Care Tips

1. Carpeting and Upholstery


During winter, nothing takes a beating more than your floor mats, which are flooded with everything from slush to road salt. Improve the appearance of your interior by removing floor mats and using a power washer to do a deep clean. Then, take the time to vacuum under the floormats, the upholstery, paying special attention to the seams of your seats – you never know what’s been hiding in them all winter long.

Get your car vacuum cleaner and start with the carpet, followed by the seats, the dash, and then the package shelf. A brush attachment is great for removing deeply embedded dirt, while a crevice attachment is ideal for cleaning hard-to-access areas, such as those under the seats. Removing this excess dirt, including hard-to-see dust particles, should improve the air quality of the cabin and help your air filter last longer.


2. Detail the Exterior


Your vehicle’s interior has been covered in salt and slush for months. Without a good wash and rinse, the finish can begin to deteriorate, resulting in costly damage. If you are hand washing your vehicle, make sure to use a PH-balanced soap designed to clean without stripping the finish.

Check for rust. Any small scratch or chink on your car’s exterior detail parts can invite rust. Winter is hard on exterior damage, so giving your car a once-over for signs of rust is worth the time. Repair scratches. Come into Joe Cotton's Parts Department and we will get you your Ford vehicle’s paint color that matches your vehicle.Serious body damage will require a trip to the body shop, but minor repairs can be done at home. Schedule a free estimate today.


But it is also advisable to wax the exterior of a car. Doing it once or twice a year—particularly in spring—is a good idea. Wax, after all, has many benefits. It seals the paint, adds a shiny coat, and repels water beads—getting rid of problematic water spots in the process. If you take your car to a professional car wash rather than clean it yourself, select a wash option that includes a wax spray or coating at the end. This can help your car as much as the soap and water that’s used to clean it. Of course, you can always find wax at your local hardware store or automotive garage and apply it yourself.


3. Wash the Headlights and Taillights


Few things on a car get as dirty during the winter as the headlights and taillights. Come spring, the headlights and taillights on most vehicles are pretty filthy and foggy. Yet, most motorists pay little attention to them. As long as the lights are on and a bulb isn’t burnt out, we don’t worry about them. Yet headlights and taillights are extremely important in terms of visibility at night, and for safety. Taking a warm, damp cloth and giving the headlights on the front of the car and the taillights on the back a wipe in spring can do wonders. The range of the light coming from your car will improve, and so will your vehicle’s visibility. Other motorists and pedestrians will be able to see you coming from a distance, and you will be able to see them better too. Washing the headlights and taillights is a simple thing that can pay big dividends. 

4. Inspect and Replace Windshield Wipers

During winter, wiper blades come into near-constant contact with ice, snow, and sleet, which can cause damage and breakage. Make sure they’re equipped to handle the significant rainfall that defines April & May in Chicagoland by checking and replacing them as necessary. You may even want to consider specialized wipers designed specifically to handle spring showers. 

5. Windex Is Your Friend

It’s amazing how simple cleaning a car can be. But it is often the simplest cleaning steps that can yield the biggest rewards, and improve the safety of your car. Just as it is important to clean the headlights and taillights on a vehicle, so too is it important to clean the mirrors—the side mirrors and the rear view mirror. And for this, we turn to Windex. A spray of Windex and a wipe with some paper towel, and Voila! Suddenly you can see what’s behind you when driving. This is critically important. Especially given how filthy side mirrors and rear view mirrors on a car get during the harsh winter months. There are many times when people can literally see nothing out of their mirrors, and that is never good. Taking a few seconds to spray the mirrors with some Windex will dramatically improve the safety of any vehicle and make the driver feel more at ease.

6. Replace Winter Tires

This might seem like a no-brainer, but plenty of people leave the winter tires on their car all year long. Kind of like people who never take down the Christmas lights on their house. But it can be extremely dangerous to drive on winter tires in the spring and summer. The tread on the winter tires will wear down quickly and make the tires practically useless when winter rolls around again. Also, winter tires do not grip the roads well when they are dry and clear of snow and ice. Taking the tires off yourself or having them taken off and stored at a garage is a good idea. It is always best to use all-season tires in the spring and summer months when pavement and asphalt are hot and tires are susceptible to melting.

We are your local NitroFill dealer in Chicagoland. Want to hear about the benefits? Visit our NitroFill information page.

7. Check Under the Hood

A lot can happen under the hood during winter. Debris such as dirt and leaves can easily collect on or near the engine, impacting your vehicle’s performance and efficiency. If you are conducting the inspection yourself, ensure your safety by turning off the engine and removing the battery cables. Then, use a wet towel to clean under the hood, and try baking soda to remove any oxidation from the batteries. 

While looking under the hood check for any nest squirrels may have left behind during the long winter and clean them out. Double check to see if they chewed any wires and get your vehicle into the shop to have them repaired now, better than later.

8. Clean Out the Trunk

During the winter, a lot of stuff tends to accumulate in your trunk: shovels, window scrapers, boots, blankets to windshield washer fluid bottles. As you clear these items, make sure to check your emergency kit. Is there anything that you used that might need to be replaced? Also, have a look at your spare tire to make sure it is good to go…you never know when you might need it. 

Make room for new things in the trunk, like picnic baskets, folding lawn chairs and beach umbrellas. But be sure and give the trunk a good vacuum as part of this transition. Trunks attract their fair share of salt, dirt and other debris. Keeping this seldom seen area of the car clean is important too.

9. Clean Underneath the Whole Car


The best way to avoid rust on a car is to clean underneath the vehicle. And cleaning beneath a car after winter is the best time to do this. All sorts of salt, dirt, gravel and mud get trapped underneath a car—around the muffler and exhaust as well as the axels and wheel wells. Blasting this crap off with a high pressure hose or having it cleaned off at a professional car wash is the way to go here. In fact, it never hurts to take your car through a professional, automated car wash at least once in the spring to ensure that the vehicle gets one thorough cleaning, and that the undercarriage gets clean of all the stuff that can be corrosive and cause rust to form and spread. Once rust gets hold, it is literally like a cancer on the body of the car. It spreads and eats the vehicle alive. Keep the underside of your car clean and the vehicle will last a lot longer.

10. Check Your Brakes

Check your brakes. Spring is a good time to determine if your brake pads need to be replaced, At the same time, your mechanic can assess the condition of your brake rotors. They shouldn’t need to be replaced if you’ve serviced the pads on schedule, but in some cases they’ll need be replaced as well.


Give us a call or schedule an appointment on this page and we can check your brakes for free.


Complimentary Brake Inspection

Performed by an expert technician.

*Inspect brake friction material, caliper operation, rotors, drums, hoses and connections. Inspect parking brake for damage and proper operation. See participating U.S. dealership for details through 12/31/20.

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*Subject to credit approval. Rebate valid on qualifying purchase of $250 or more before tax; not valid on prior purchases. Complete purchase must be made on the Ford Service Credit Card. Offer valid 1/01/20 to 12/31/20. Submit rebate by 1/31/21 by mail-in rebate form or online at Limit one $25 mail-in rebate per visit. Rebate by prepaid debit card. Cannot be combined with any other Ford Service Credit Card rebate/offer. Ford Service Credit Card is issued by Citibank, N.A. See participating U.S. dealership for vehicle applications and rebate details through 12/31/20.


Be sure you have the starting power you need.

*Visually inspect and test battery using tester. Hybrid battery test excluded. See participating U.S. dealership for details through 12/31/20.


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Google - 5 Stars

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Definitely 5 stars. They made the process of buying a new car easy. They took time helping us choose the car that fit our needs and budget! Rich, Danny, Rick and Mike were the best and huge thank you!! We would highly recommend Joe Cotton Ford!

Google - 5 Stars

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Great experience from beginning to end. On their Website, I saw one of their Internet specials advertised, so I went in, set up a test drive, asked my questions, set up financing, and -- only around 3 hours after I'd walked in -- drove away with my new car. The purchase went quickly and efficiently.

DealerRater - 5 Stars

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Everyone at Joe Cotton is the greatest! Always friendly and willing to help with anything. Roman is the best!!! Mike Diehl also is one of the best! Would not buy anywhere except Joe Cotton. Recommend them to anyone asking!

Facebook - 5 Stars

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I went in for my 6 month check up as required for my maintenance package. Quite some time passed and I remembered that I needed new wiper blades. I went back and asked if that could be added and my service guy just smiled and added it. It was all covered in my plan. I'm bad at getting names but I have had nothing but great experiences in the dealership and service department. Highly recommend them. Not everyone is perfect, nor does everyone have a good day everyday. I have read the bad reviews and am thankful I have not had the same experiences. Keep up the good work and get these reviews up! 5 star for this household!

Google - 5 Stars

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I have been servicing my 07 Navigator L at Cotton since I bought it new. Great service still going strong. Wouldn't take it anywhere else! Service manager Davy Malloy is one of the main reasons that I still service my Ford and Lincoln vehicles at Cotton. Great attention to detail.

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

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Good service and excellent customer service, I am so happy with my new car, thanks for your good service they are very friendly. Thank you!!

Google - 5 Stars

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Excellent customer service. Variety of options. Genuine effort to reach our budget. Special heart for non-profits that give back to the community. Efficient on every level. Personable care from multiple staff.

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

Really like Jason our salesman. No pressure trying to sell us something we didn't want and found our Edge we love it and no problems with it. Like the free 2 yrs service for oil changes. We got 3 and only have 13,000 and its 2 years old. We even went to one of there summer open houses free food etc and won 5 free oil changes!!Well buy our next car or truck there for sure! Fair price great service

Google - 5 Stars

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Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

A great experience. The sales team is well versed and very helpful. I will be purchasing all of my vehicles from Joe cotton in the future and would recommend them to anyone looking for a new vehicle.

Facebook - 5 Stars

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Multiple successful visits to their service and parts departments. Great and friendly customer service and fair pricing on every visit. Thank you!

Google - 5 Stars

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Always helpful, and good selection of new and used cars

Facebook - 5 Stars

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Thank you for your Honesty. Joe Cotton service will be saving me a ton of money for correctly diagnosing an issue that another dealer said was a complete engine

Google - 5 Stars

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Great people they tread u right make u feel like home

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

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"Golden Rule Service - Second and third generation dealership. Quality and Service as you want it. Comfortable waiting with amenities. New and used vehicles to select, with staff who will search for the right vehicle if not found here."

CarGurus - 5 Stars

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"Great - on top of things -Stan was very informative of the car I was interested in" - 5 Stars

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"Fast, quick and never met nicer people to deal with. I don't believe I will go anywhere else."

Dealer Rater - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

"Best sales and service at Joe Cotton Ford. Best Ford dealership to buy a new or used car. Best price and best service. Employees are all great."

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

"Everyone was very kind! I was in and out for an oil change in 45 minutes. Great service :)"

Google - 5 Stars

Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star Full Star

I've been a customer for nearly 30 years. Most of my business is service now. I think they're honest and forthright people. The auto business is tough and very competitive. Joe Cotton continues to get my business because they know my car very well.

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