For serious vehicle owners, it’s important to develop a responsible and healthy habit of preparing your car for each season. The demands of each season may vary, so being aware of them will help extend the life of your vehicle , increase fuel economy, and improve its performance.
Springtime is a lot different from the winter season. If your vehicle took a beating during the long, cold winter, it’s time to gear up for the rising temperatures and do what car care experts would do — we’re here to help you with that. Follow these simple tips to help you care for your vehicle as spring closes in.
- Get rid of the salt and dirt
Your spring cleaning starts with your car! Keeping your vehicle clean is a must, but in the winter, salt and other dirt can accumulate on the underside of your vehicle, causing damage influenced by rust. So, before you set your vehicle out in the sun, be sure you’ve already washed off the salt. You can do that by yourself or take it to the local car wash.
You’ll find it beneficial if you stock up on products essential for spring leading into the summer season. With the absence of snow, you’re likely to wash your vehicle more often. Don’t forget to buy some shining protectant spray to maintain your car’s glimmer and shine. This will make your vehicle look like it recently had a wash.
- Retire your winter tires
Ushering a new season means that you should also switch out your winter tires for summer ones. It’s sort of surprising, but a lot of people don’t realize this is beneficial. Your winter tires are designed to work best in these specific street conditions preventing you from sliding off road especially with the streets wet from the snow and rain. Take them off, wash them thoroughly, then keep them in a cool and dry area.
If you have all-season tires, car care experts say that you should check their tread and pressure. An uneven wear means you may need them rotated and/or aligned. However, if your tires took a beating during the winter, it’s best to bid them goodbye and buy new ones.
It is not advised you drive with unsafe tires. You are putting yourself and others at risk.
- Check your brakes
Your brakes may not work as good as they did before due to the rough road conditions brought on by winter. Salt and ice are basically everywhere, leaving your brakes less functional. If you notice any unusual sounds when using your brakes, that’s your cue to have them checked out.
- Check your alignment
We won’t get too technical here, but one quick way of checking your ride’s alignment is by observing its performance when the steering wheel is centered. Should your vehicle fail to drive straight ahead and pans to one side of the road instead, that’s your car out of alignment. This is most likely caused by road conditions or potholes, but it’s important to fix immediately to make sure that further damage is prevented.
- Check your fluids and change your oil
If you want to get your vehicle running smoothly this spring, set a schedule for an oil, oil filter, and air filter change according to the recommendations by your owner’s manual. Failing to comply to the necessary oil changes can cause engine damage, poor engine performance, and higher fuel consumption.
Aside from oil, the other fluids in your car need to be changed as well. Check on your transmission, brake fluid, windshield washer solvent, and power steering fluid. These fluids are quite affordable and easy to change. A great solution to avoid costly repairs or compromise your safety.
- Check your lighting and wiper blades
Ice, sludge, and snow can damage your wiper blades, so check for cracks or tears as part of your springtime cleaning. If your wiper blades squeak too much or if they’re already worn out, it’s time you replace them. Before doing so, make sure that you know the exact measurements of your wiper blades to ensure that they fit perfectly on your windshield. This information can be found in your owner’s manual or check with a professional.
Don’t forget to check your car’s lighting as well. Defective headlights put you in danger, so checking regularly will insure your safety and the safety of others.
- Check under the hood
Assess the situation under the hood to ensure that the engine of your car made it through the cold weather without damages and other issues. Check hoses and belts to see if they have gone brittle, and maybe schedule an air filter change as well.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to check on your battery. Can it still provide you with enough power? The battery of your car can acquire damage because of low temperatures since it deteriorates faster in a harsh winter climate.
If the battery of your vehicle is older than four years and you find yourself having to wait for a few moments before your motor starts up, it’s time to get your battery tested and seek replacements if needed.
- Clean your vehicle’s interior
The winter brings out the lazy in a lot of people, but don’t slack off too much and start cleaning the inside of your car before springtime starts! It will do you good to spend a day removing the unnecessary stuff inside your vehicle. Remove all the trash you’ve managed to pile up during the winter, including papers, candy wrappers, some soda cans, and every bit of garbage. Give your seats and carpets a vacuum, too!
- Check your insurance policy
Spring is a great time to check on your vehicle’s insurance policy. Make sure your policy is enough to cover necessary claims as the season transitions. For instance, you may need to verify you have collision coverage to cover the cost of damage should you run over a serious pothole. Comprehensive coverage will come in handy if you experience damage caused by an animal.
The end of the winter also signals the new year, which means there might be some promos and discounts on auto insurance. Check if you’ve missed any.
Spring Driving Tips
Once the preparations are done for spring, it’s time to brush up on your driving skills to prepare for springtime conditions:
- There can be plenty of rain in the spring, so you might want to get used to slow driving. Avoid hydroplaning and avoid large puddles if you can.
- Always be vigilant and check your blind spots for motorcyclists and bicyclists who are sure to share the road with you.
- Be mindful of any constructions on the road, as these often take place in the spring, where roads are often damaged due to rough winter conditions. Always maintain the right speed limit and check for potholes or anything that may change your alignment or damage your recently changed tires.
- Warm weather attracts animals of the many kinds, having just woken up from hibernation. Always keep your eyes on the road and watch out for anything furry or feathery darting across your car.
- Finally, expect more people to travel by foot in the spring. The weather is perfect for a stroll, so always keep an eye out for pedestrians.