Have Your Vehicle Spring Ready this Season

spring car maintenance tips

As the cold winter months begin to fade away and the warm spring weather begins to bloom, it isn’t just your yard, garden or wardrobe that is going to need some tender loving care. Before hitting the roads for some fun in the sun it is important to prepare your vehicle for what lies ahead. While some think that a thorough wash and wax might be enough, there is so much more that needs to be done to assure that your car both looks good and runs like a dream this season.

Be sure to follow these spring car care tips from your friends here at Automotive Ward to enjoy this very special time of year more than ever before.

Outside the Vehicle

Along with scrubbing all that salt and grime off your car, spring is the perfect time of year to perform a detailed inspection of the outside of your dream car. Just a few areas that deserve your attention include:

  • The Tires: Some would call these very important pieces of rubber “the sneakers of your car” and like running shoes your vehicle’s tires are what keep your vehicle rolling to each new destination. So, along with removing winter tires and replacing these with all weather (if necessary), it is important to check tire tread wear and tear. To assure that your tires have the appropriate tread depth, insert a penny into the tread. If the top of Lincoln’s head sticks out, your tires are starting to show wear and should be replaced. Also look for bulges and additional damage from things like potholes.

  • Wiper Blades: This small automotive part plays a very vital role to increasing visibility. Although most automotive experts may recommend replacing the windshield wipers every six months, a harsh winter can move this time table up a bit. If during your inspection you notice that your wipers are cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering it is time to replace.

  • Exterior Paint: Along with replacing important parts, it is important to inspect for minor paint damage to avoid rust spots from forming on the outside of your vehicle. For any visible scratches or paint chips, use touch up paint or dab a little clear nail polish until you can obtain the proper paint supplies.

Under the Hood

A change of season, whether it be winter, fall, spring or summer is the perfect time to perform a full fluid check. There are numerous fluids that will require your attention at this time. While some may need a simple topping off, there will be others that will need to be changed out.

  • Oil: Although most manufacturers and mechanics would recommend that the oil be changed in your vehicle every 3-5,000 miles, many people may not realize that winter weather puts extra stress on both your oil filter as well as the engine oil. In fact, at 20 degrees Fahrenheit many oils begin to become as thick as maple syrup. Of course, this is not the best for your engine oil.

  • Power steering fluid: Like most seasons changes, spring is the perfect time to assure that the fluid that keeps your car’s power steering working and adding power to your vehicle’s wheels. To check this fluid, find the reservoir labeled steering and prior to opening the cap clean the area around it to avoid dirt and grime from leaking into the system. After checking the fluid level on the dipstick, the same way that you would with your vehicle’s engine oil, either replace the stick (if stick indicates a full level) or add more fluid, slowly, with a funnel until a full reading is registered.
  • Brake and transmission fluids: Anyone who has helped their vehicle survive a harsh winter, like those most commonly endured in the Northern United States or in Canada, are aware that what I like to call “real cold” can be hard on both the brakes as well as a vehicle’s transmission. This is why it is vital to assure that both the fluids that run these systems are full and in the best shape possible.
  • Antifreeze and coolant: Your engine needs a constant flow of antifreeze to keep it at ideal operating temperature. After a rather challenging winter, it is time to assure that this fluid is either topped off or flushed and replaced with new. How exactly do you know which choice to make this spring? Check out some advice from our friend’s at ChrisFix.
  • Windshield washer solvent: What do the spring and summer months mean, along with warmer weather? The return of bug season of course! So, you better make sure that you have plenty of windshield washer solvent/fluid to assure visibility through all those bug remains.

Along with checking and filling all your vehicle’s necessary life fluids, remember to check all the hoses and belts for cracks or tears. The last thing that you want as the temperatures increase is to have an electrical or cooling system to fail.

Last but Certainly Not the Least

There may be some who cringe when they think of climbing underneath their vehicle following a rather challenging winter, but it will be well worth it. Spring is a great time to check the entire brake system, including the brake pads and rotors, which can take beating when trying to stop a car on something like ice.

Springtime is also an ideal time of the year to check the shocks and struts for signs of damage like dings, dents or rusting. The last thing that you want is to have a loss of directional control when you are flying 65+ MPH down the highway.

While climbing around under your car, be sure to keep a keen eye out for any puddles or fluid stains, which could be resulting from a fluid leak that may have formed in your engine during the winter.

Consult Your Local Mechanic

If you and your family are ready to begin your springtime adventures be sure that the vehicle that can make each of these escapades more memorable. The best way to do so, other than following the advice of your friendly online automotive experts, is to take it in to your favorite local mechanic for a full tune up like the one described by our friends from Granite Automotive.

Stay tuned to AutomotiveWard.Com for more helpful information on how to keep your dream vehicle looking and running like new.

Ellen Richardson
 

Ellen Richardson, better known as The Automotive Maven, has had a passion for all things automotive since the first time that her father let her pretend that she was behind the wheel in his antique VW Van. Since then, the little girl who also loved to pretend that she was an award-winning writer/journalist has been using her passion to help others realize the important roles that vehicles play in each of our lives.