Now that winter has loosened its icy grip, spring ushers in the ideal weather for cleaning, repairing and renewing everything around us – including our cars.
After enduring winter wear and tear like salt on the roads and slushy snow, now is a good time to evaluate the kind of stress your car has endured to identify any minor issues before they become major problems.
Get your car ready for sunnier days with these spring auto maintenance tips:
- Test your air conditioning system. All winter you have blasted your heating system, so now it is time to make sure your air conditioner is blasting all the cool are it can.
- Tire checks are important. Your tires are a first line of defense on the open road, so be sure they have optimum pressure and even tread. They should be rotated every 10,000 miles and replaced if they are too worn or damaged.
- Change the oil and filter. Keep your engine running properly by changing the oil and the oil filter as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. Neglecting this important detail not only leads to poor engine performance and higher fuel consumption, it can also cause severe engine damage.
- Evaluate the windshield wipers. Spring showers are guaranteed, so be prepared! Look for torn or cracked wiper blades and replace them as needed.
- Check on your battery. During the colder months, your starter and alternator work harder due to the winter temperatures, and this can drain your battery. Check for signs of corrosion and be sure the connecting wires or clean and taut. In general, it is a good idea to replace a battery that is more than five years old.
- Fluid checks are key. Be sure fluid levels are ideal in your car from power steering, brakes, transmission and coolant to the windshield washer fluid. Low fluid levels may indicate a leak, so check for that, too.
- Assess the brakes. Winter conditions can cause corrosion on brake parts, and anti-lock brakes seem to take the biggest hit. Listen for grinding or squeaking noises and observe whether the vehicle seems to drift to one side more than the other because these are indications of brake trouble.
- Observe your belts and hoses. Look for peeling, cracks and softening because this can lead to loss of power steering, an overheated engine and other types of vehicle breakdowns.
- Lubricate your vehicle’s chassis. Greased fittings should be greased occasionally so that premature wear does not cause parts to fail. After the harsh eroding brought on by tough winter road conditions, spring is a great time to check your chassis and be sure it is lubricated.