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Spring Car Maintenance Checklist: Get back on the road safely after winter

By March 31, 2023No Comments
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Winter can cause damage to your car due to the effects of cold and wet weather on different systems. You must make sure your car is in top condition when spring arrives, especially if you travel further or more frequently due to warmer temperatures.

The first step in getting your car ready for spring is to locate your owner’s guide. It contains many key recommendations and requirements for car maintenance. Once you have the manual, go through the checklist and you will be ready to take off.

Clean the exterior and interior of your vehicle

To get rid of the winter dirt and muck, it is a good idea to wash and wax your entire car. Gritted roads can result in a buildup of salt or other particulate matter, on the car’s body and underside. This buildup can cause rust and corrosion if it is not addressed.

Also, you should take advantage of the chance to

While you’re at the car, give it a thorough clean. To keep visibility high-quality, vacuum the floors and clean the dashboard. To let moisture escape, it is a good idea to keep your doors open for a few minutes.

Make sure to check your tire pressure, and tread depth.

Your tires will lose pressure in winter because air contracts in colder temperatures. It is important to check your tire pressure and adjust it to the recommended range in your owner’s manual. You should check all tires, including the spare. It won’t help you in an emergency.

Also, you should inspect your tread depth. Your tire treads can become too thin or worn out, which will cause them to lose grip and friction on the roads. This could make your handling more difficult and pose a danger. To check the tread depth, you can use the penny check trick. Roll a penny along each tread to see how deep it goes. If you can see Lincoln’s head on one of the coins, then your treads need to be replaced.

It is important to remember that you should change your winter tires to general-use tires after the worst of the cold weather passes. To make sure your spring tires aren’t damaged in storage, you should still inspect them.

Make sure your lights are sufficiently bright

Winter brings shorter days and more severe weather. This means you will be relying on your car’s lighting more. Make sure they aren’t dimmed or worn out. You should clean the exterior light casings of your headlights, brake lights and indicators. Next, check that they aren’t dimmed. Change the bulbs if they’re not bright enough.

Make sure to check your engine oil and other fluids

It’s now time to get under your engine. It’s time to change your engine oil. Over time, the oil can pick up impurities and degrade with age. This can cause engine performance to suffer. It’s important to change your engine oil filters regularly, especially if they are clogged up or damaged.

You can also check the fluid levels for power steering, brakes and transmission while you are there. These should not need to be filled, but if they are, it could indicate that there is a problem. Add more windshield washer fluid, as spring brings all kinds of insects, which will eventually get splattered against your windshield.

Recharge your car’s battery

Cold weather can cause damage to your battery, just like your tires. Cold weather can slow down the chemical reactions that allow the battery’s charge to last. This means it may have lost some of its charge from winter. You should test your battery and charge it up to the recommended level. If it is older than five years, it may be time to replace it entirely. It will start to deteriorate further from that point.

Make sure engine belts, hoses, and other components are in good order

Belts and hoses underneath the hood are two more components that can be damaged in cold weather. Rubber contracts when it is cold, which can cause cracks in your rubber components.

Look out for hardened or softened areas, leaks, cracks, blistering, and blistering on your hoses. Check belts for cracks, glazing or looseness.

Verify alignment and suspension

Winter weather can cause road damage, which can lead to a more rough ride for your car and cause wear to the suspension and alignment. If your steering wheel is not centered, or your car is drifting to one side, it is likely that something is wrong. Also, if your ride is too bumpy, or too floaty, especially when you are driving over bumps, then your suspension may need to be tuned.

It doesn’t matter if there is an obvious problem. However, it can be hard to know what you are doing. If you take your car to a mechanic to do any other work, make sure they check the systems as well. Or arrange for a separate trip to bring your vehicle in for extra peace of mind.

Check the brakes

Winter brings with it wetter roads which can cause brake wear. This could lead to braking more difficult, slowing down, and even stopping properly. You should check your brakes regularly to make sure they are in good shape. If you hear any unusual noises or vibrations when you apply brakes, this is the first sign that something is wrong.

Inspect the brake drums and pads manually, even if you don’t hear any problems. You should immediately inspect the brakes for any signs of wear or tear. Inefficient brakes could pose a serious safety risk.

Make sure you check the windshield and wipers

The windshield should have been washed when you cleaned the rest of your car. Now it’s time to inspect the windshield. You should check that your windshield isn’t damaged if roads are gritted in winter.

Small chips should be treated as they can quickly grow into bigger cracks that could compromise the windshield’s integrity. To avoid more serious problems down the road, get any windshield damage fixed as soon as possible.

Your windshield wipers should also be checked due to the increased usage during winter. You should replace any damaged wipers if there are jagged edges.

Don’t forget to refill your windshield cleaner if you haven’t done so before. It’s likely you will need it as spring brings with it many bugs that will soon be swarming your windshield.

Take your car on a scenic test drive

Take your car out for a test drive if you have checked everything and still need to make sure everything is working properly. To avoid adverse weather conditions, you might have made shorter or longer winter journeys. If this is the case, take your car for a spin to ensure that there are no issues.

You can take advantage of the warmer spring weather and go on a drive to a local beauty spot. This is a great way to get to know your car better, but also to test it thoroughly so you don’t feel like you are far from home. You can now enjoy the brighter spring sunlight and clearer roads with your car in tip-top condition.