Getting your car ready for spring
Editor’s note: This article has been newly updated.
From the refreshing tradition of a Spring cleaning to more technical auto maintenance issues such as adjusting fluids and changing tires, here’s your car check-up list on what you need to check before you head out on the roads.
Change out winter tires and check for wear
First of all, if you put on winter tires to handle the snow, it’s time to take them off and put on summer tires. Not only will you save your winter tires for when next winter, but summer tires provide more traction on dry and wet roads. Properly clean and store your winter tires to keep them in good condition. Check the wear of your summer tires as well. If you take a quarter and insert it in the tread with the Queen’s head pointing into the tire, the tire tread should cover some of her head. If not, it’s time to replace your tires. Also, check that your tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure. It’s safer, plus will save you gas! Don’t forget to also check the spare.
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Take a look under the hood to check fluid and belts and head for an oil change if due
From oil, to windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid, power steering and brake fluid and coolant, each fluid is important for a smoothly running engine. Check when your vehicle last had an oil change, and if due, take it in to a car maintenance professional. Many oil changing shops will also check your fluids and top up anything that’s low. While you’re checking the engine, inspect the belts and hoses to see if anything is loose, worn or frayed.
Check that your brakes are still in good condition
Salty roads and ice and snow can be hard on brakes. If you’ve been feeling your car stopping more slowly than usual, hearing screeching or feeling any odd vibrations, or if your brake light is on, take your vehicle in for an inspection to check that your pads and rotors are not worn out and that rust is not impeding their function.
Check your battery and replace it if needed
Chilly temperatures can cause issues with batteries, so if your car has been reluctant to start lately, it’s time to take your battery to a parts shop to have it tested. Many shops offer this service for free, and if your battery is lacking, you can pick up a replacement right there.
Change out your windshield wipers
Snow and ice are harsh on windshield wipers, so if yours are leaving streaks on your windshield, it’s time to buy a new set and pop them on. This is a quick bit of DIY car maintenance repair, as wiper blades are simple to install yourself.
Spring cleaning calls for a thorough car wash to remove salt and check for rust
Finally, take your car to a professional car wash to have it cleaned inside and out, and especially underneath to check for any rust by a car maintenance expert. If you wash your car yourself, take extra time to clean off all the salt and build-up from the road and check for any rust, dents from debris, and damage.
With this how-to list, you’ll be ready to do a thorough car check-up at home and get your car ready for summer. Enjoy the warm weather!