At last, winter is over and spring is here. We’re happy to be free from the bitter cold and the endless piles of snow. I’m sure our cars – if they had feelings – would be equally as glad.
During the winter, our cars take a beating. We have to beg them to start in the morning, frozen door handles fall off, and they drive over pothole after pothole. Not to mention the road salt that can cause corrosion and rust.
Before you take your battered vehicle out on springtime drive, make sure it’s up to speed by fixing it up a bit, inside and out. Here are 10 tips that get your car in top shape for the spring, summer, and beyond.
- Clean out the interior
Whether we mean to or not, our cars often become portable storage units. There’s no telling what sort of junk is put in the trunk and forgotten about! It often happens during the winter, when it’s too cold and you don’t feel like cleaning your car. Now that it’s warmer, it’s time to remove all the clutter and trash.
- Replace windshield wipers
Allstate recommends that you replace your windshield wipers every six months to a year, depending on your climate. Snow, ice, and salt in the winter can wear out the rubber wiper blades quickly, so make it a part of your spring routine to swap them out.
- Adjust tire pressure
Did you know that air pressure changes with the seasons? Check your tires to see if they are at the correct pressure. Different pressures are recommended for different cars, so read the car manual or the inside of the car door to see the best for your vehicle.
- Check fluid levels
There are many fluids in your car, so it’s important to check all of them to see that they’re filled and that there are no leaks. Don’t skip any of these: engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid.
- Clean the undercarriage
Road salt makes our cars look like they rolled around in chalk, but it can also cause serious damage. A lot of it can get stuck to parts of the undercarriage and corrode the metal. Clean out the undercarriage as soon as you can either by washing thoroughly or taking your car to the car wash.
- Inspect the brakes
Brakes are critical to your everyday safety, so it’s important to inspect them on a regular basis. Salt, ice, and other debris from the winter can wear out brakes faster. Warning signs that your brakes might be on their last legs include squeaking and soft presses on the pedal.
- Adjust suspension and align wheels
Potholes appear out of nowhere during the winter, and it’s never a pleasant feeling when you run over them. They can also damage your suspension and cause your wheels to become misaligned. Aligning your wheels will improve gas mileage, so fix them as soon as possible.
- Take a look under the hood
Batteries, plugs, wires, hoses, and belts can all crack, leak, and wear. This is bad news because damage to these can cause your car to sputter and shut down. Make it a point to check on important components annually and to replace them every few years – or as recommended by your car’s manual.
- Get an inspection
When all else fails and your car still feels less than 100 percent, or if you don’t feel comfortable doing some of these steps yourself, take your car to a professional. Let them know about any issues and ask for recommendations.
- Get a car wash
Complete your springtime car maintenance by giving your vehicle a thorough clean. Get rid of dirt, grime, and lingering road salt/sand. Your car will look great and you’ll get a small morale boost after the winter doldrums.
Don’t let winter cause problems for you in the spring. Take some time to give your car a little maintenance, so you can be worry-free as you drive in the warm weather!
Have any more car tips for your fellow readers? Share your knowledge with everyone by posting in the comments below!