10 Steps For Getting Your Car Ready For Spring
Months of snow, ice, cold temperatures, and road salt take a heavy toll on vehicles. Modern cars can handle a lot from the winter weather, but as you transition into the warmer spring season you should take care of your vehicle to avoid any long-term damage from corrosive elements, bumpy rides, and harder operation. Here are 10 steps to take that will get your car ready for warmer weather.
Image via Flickr by Mack Male
Wash Your Car Inside and Out
It’s always a good idea to wash your car, whatever the season, but imperative after the harsh winter. Road salt, grit, and grime that built up over the last few months need to be power washed away before they damage your car’s finish.
At the minimum, a good wash and wax will help. Make sure to spray underneath your car where road salt builds up and can cause rusting. Better yet, take it to an automatic car wash to get both the topside and underbody cleaned.
Ideally, paying a little extra for a professional deep clean and detailing will make you feel like you’re driving a brand new car, ready for warmer spring weather, and will take care of those harder to reach areas a car wash might miss.
Remember to give the interior some attention. That same grime and salt builds up on floor mats, seats, and doors.
Change Your Wiper Blades
Windshield wipers work hard in the winter, especially if you live where it snows and sleets heavily. Replacing them each spring is a very small investment that will keep your view clear on the road all year. You can easily replace them on your own, or pay a small fee for an auto technician to do it.
Check All Your Fluid Levels
You likely used more wiper fluid in the winter months getting ice and dirt off your windshield, so your reserves probably need a refill. Make sure to check your levels and refill as needed to keep your newly washed windshield sparkling clean.
Make sure to get a full-service check for all the oils in your car. Most vehicles lack indicators or obvious warning signs until the fluid runs low, resulting in damage to the car. Check the following fluid levels:
- Power steering
Check and Change Your Oil
The operational demands of winter make spring a great time to check your oil and get it changed. It’s a smart move to get a thicker oil since many cars utilize thinner oils in the winter because it runs through smoother in cold weather. Oil and the oil filter get dirty during winter months too, so even if your car operates on multi-viscosity oil it’s a good idea to change it out for clean oil so your ride runs smoother.
Test Your Air Conditioner
The last thing you want is to find out your air conditioner is broken on a scorching summer day. Running it for 10-15 minutes will give it a boost since it’s likely been in hibernation for a few months. This will also let you know if it needs maintenance.
Test Your Battery
Batteries die in any season, not just the winter. Checking the health of your car battery, especially if you plan on taking a spring trip, is essential to your car’s performance and your safety. Many auto care businesses offer free battery testing to ensure yours is functioning properly. Technicians should check that battery posts and connections are free of corrosion. If the battery or spark plugs are more than two years old consider replacing them.
Evaluate Your Tires
Tires take a hit during the winter as well, so checking the entirety of each one’s condition is crucial for safe spring driving.
Inspect your tires for cracks, worn down tread, and any other possible defects that could cause a blown tire on the road. Depending on the condition, you may want to purchase a brand new set, or simply replace one or two with more wear and tear than the others. If you used snow tires, this is also the perfect time to switch them out for a regular rubber set.
If your current tires are good to go for the spring, check out pressure and fill as needed. Tires lose roughly one pound per square inch with every 10-degree drop in temperature, so they will likely need some inflation.
Tire Rotation and Alignment
Winter weather causes an increase in potholes and bumps in the road because asphalt expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations. These road defects can take quite the toll on your vehicle and tires, such as throwing your wheels out of alignment causing suspension stress and uneven tire wear. Set up an appointment for a tire rotation and alignment to help your tires last longer and maintain a solid grip on slippery spring roads.
Check on Your Brakes
Brakes can also take a hit during the winter and since road salt corrodes metal, your brake pads might not work properly. Brake pads need clean, lubricated metal to perform as intended, so have a technician examine your brake system. A good time to do this is during a tire change.
Replenish and Change Out Emergency Gear
Make sure you have batteries in your flashlight, swap out your winter blanket for a raincoat, replenish bottles of water, nonperishable snacks, flares, and any other parts of your emergency kit. If you don’t have emergency gear in your vehicle, now is a great time to put a kit together.
Consult Your Maintenance Schedule
If anything else, consult your vehicle’s maintenance schedule to double-check you haven’t missed any critical services. If you can’t locate your owner’s manual, look your vehicle up online to see what your vehicle needs at its current mileage.
These 10 must-do checks will get your car in tip-top shape for safe spring driving. Ready to shake off the winter blues? Head over to Hiley Hyundai of Fort Worth to check out our full range of car services.