Spring Cleaning Your Car After Winter Driving
Most people know that they need to prepare their cars for winter, but many overlook the maintenance that should be performed before spring driving. Winter driving can take its toll on your vehicle. As the weather starts to warm up, it’s a good idea to perform some basic maintenance to keep your vehicle in great order. Here are a couple things you should check.
Tires are one of the hardest hit areas of a car, especially cars that must be driven on wet or icy roads. Check the tread and make sure your tires are still in good condition. It’s not a bad idea to go ahead and have them rotated and balanced as well, even if the treads are still good. Also check to ensure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure, and add air if necessary.
In cold weather your battery can work up to 60% harder. This means a lot more wear and tear, and a higher chance of being stranded later. It doesn’t take any time to test a battery. If you don’t have a battery tester at your home, most auto part stores will test the battery for free.
Winter driving is hard on your vehicles suspension. Thanks in part to road that become worn with excessive salt or brine, and in part to wet and slippery conditions. Potholes pop up more frequently in colder weather, and they may be hard to spot when it’s snowing or icing outside. An out of whack suspension can lead to bigger issues down the road, so check this once the cold weather has left for the season.
The brake system is one of the most vital components to your safety when driving. Winter weather can wreak havoc on this system too. Check the brake fluid levels, pads, hoses, lines, and parking brake. If the fluid is low it can be a sign of a leak or excessive wear. Replace any pads that are worn. Hoses or lines that look brittle or are starting to crack should also be replaced.
Belts and hoses are typically made with a rubber type product. Even the best maintained vehicles are prone to belts cracking or hoses snapping in very cold temperatures. The rubber can become brittle and weak when it’s cold, and when you crank up your car you are sending heat, furthering the issues. Inspect all the belts and hoses for damage or signs of weakness and replace anything that looks worn.
Check all the fluid levels for your vehicle before you start driving in spring. This includes the oil, the coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, etc. Anything that is low should be inspected for leaks. If it’s just normal wear and tear, add fluids. Windshield wiper blades should also be looked at. It’s not uncommon for them to become worn with cold weather driver, and they are inexpensive to replace.
If you keep up with the seasonal changes and how they can affect your vehicle, you can keep your car running problem free for many years.