Winter is coming to an end! Are you as ready as we are to come out of hibernating and seek some adventure? It’s about time for camping excursions, weekend road trips, and spring break shenanigans. Whatever your spring plans entail, you need to be confident that your car is in good enough shape to reach all your destinations safely and efficiently.
The harsh winter weather conditions that accompany winter are hard on your car, so come spring it needs a little TLC. Here are some things you can do for your vehicle to make it a smooth transition from winter to spring.
- Wash your car. The salts and sands used on the roads in winter to melt ice and snow can cause damage to your vehicle. The undercarriage is strongly affected as the metal can rust. If you haven’t already, bring your car to a highly-rated car wash to thoroughly clean the salts off the vehicle. Make sure they have sprayers that clean the undercarriage.
- Check your oil. You should change your oil and oil filter per the intervals that are given in your vehicle’s owner’s manual to keep your engine in optimal running condition. If it’s time, change the oil and oil filter. If you still have a way to go before your next change is required, go ahead and check the oil level. If it is low, top it off, and look your vehicle over for possible leaks. Have it repaired if necessary. Remember, failing to properly maintain your engine oil could result in poor engine performance, higher fuel consumption, and even severe engine damage.
- Check fluids. Check your power steering, brake, and transmission fluids; as well as your windshield washer fluid and coolant. If the fluid levels are low, top them off. Flush/replace them as recommended per your owner’s manual. Remember, your power steering, brake, and coolant systems are closed, so if fluid levels are low, it may indicate a leak. If you suspect a leak, bring your vehicle in for maintenance as soon as possible.
- Inspect your windshield. Snow, ice, and the sands and salts used on the roads can potentially chip or crack your windshield. A small crack or chip may not seem like a big deal, but damage to your windshield regardless of size can lower the overall effectiveness of airbags, roof stability, seatbelts, and your safety in the event of an accident. Take chipped or cracked windshields seriously and have them repaired or replaced immediately.
- Replace your wiper blades. Winter weather can do some damage to wiper blades. If they are cracked or worn they won’t be much help during those spring showers. Generally, wiper blades are good for about six months. If it has been six months or longer, change them out. Don’t forget to check for loose screws too.
- Check your battery. It only takes a few cold mornings for your battery to wear out prematurely, and this winter was a doozy, so don’t skip this step. The cold and moisture can form corrosion on the battery cables that needs to be removed. Unless your battery is sealed, you may also need to top off the water levels. We can perform these tasks for you as well as check your battery’s charge to make sure it is in good shape. If needed, we can replace your battery. A battery that is over five years old should probably be replaced.
- Check your lighting. Make sure that all exterior and interior lighting are working properly. If you are driving with defective lighting, other travelers may not get the message that you are about to stop or turn, which could result in a serious accident.
- Inspect your belts and hoses. Wear and tear is just a fact of life for your belts and hoses. However, cold winter temperatures can harden and/or damage the rubber, so it is extremely important to look them over at this time. You should look your hoses over for blistering, cracks, hardening, leaking, softening, or other visual damage. Check your belts for cracks, frays, glazing, or looseness. If a belt needs replacing, the tensioner and pulleys may also need to be replaced to keep your new belt from slipping.
- Check your filters. There are a few filters that are important to the longevity of your vehicle that need regular replacement. Check, and replace if necessary, your engine air filter, cabin air filter, and fuel filter. Inspect them for damage and/or clogging.
- Inspect your brakes. The brakes get worked pretty hard in the winter, as stopping on icy roads is a little more difficult. You may have found yourself adding a little extra pressure to the brakes a few times trying to stop in time to avoid a winter crash. Check the brake pads and linings to make sure that they are still in top shape.
- Inspect your tires. Check your tire pressure on all tires including your spare. Try and make it a habit of doing this once a month. All tires should be inflated to the recommended level (found in your owner’s manual). Also, look for uneven or irregular tread and for dents and bruises on the sidewalls. Rotate your tires every 6,000 miles, and replace them if they are damaged or worn.
Meridian Automotive provides complete automotive repair in Meridian, Idaho for most cars, light trucks, and SUV’s. Don’t just trust anyone with your end of winter maintenance needs, trust the experts at Meridian Automotive. Call us today (208) 297-5573 or schedule an appointment online.