Spring Car Care Tips: How to Take Care of Your Car Come Spring
The weather starts to warm up and you are ready to take long, weekend trips to the beach or the lake. If you are lucky enough to own a convertible, you may just want to drive around town with the top down to enjoy the sunshine and the breeze.
You’ll need to do a lot more than just wash the pollen off your car to get it ready for cruising. You’ll need to take care of some important maintenance to make sure that your car is road ready and its performance won’t be compromised.
Here are a few spring car care tips you need to do when the weather starts to perk up:
Change the Oil
Head down to your local service station and get a quick oil change now. The change in temperature changes the consistency of your oil, which changes the way it moves through your engine. Now is the time to replace the oil with something that is more suitable for the warmer weather.
Winter tends to be hibernation mode for most people, so you likely haven’t taken your car in for maintenance for a few months. Now is the time for a quick oil change to get some fresh oil into your engine to enhance your car’s performance.
Check the Coolant
Temperatures can reach the triple digits in many places during the summer. When the weather outside is so hot, it doesn’t take much for your engine to reach extreme temperatures. The coolant will keep the engine from overheating and will protect the aluminum engine parts.
Don’t wait until it’s a smoldering day. Check the coolant level now to make sure it’s at the right levels for the season. By taking this simple step, you’ll save yourself from being stranded on the side of the road on a blistering, sunny day.
Check the Air Conditioner
Your engine isn’t the only thing that needs to stay cool in the spring and summer. When the temperatures soar, it’s hard to stay cool by just rolling down the windows and enjoying the breeze. You’ll need a good air conditioner to be comfortable.
Include your air conditioner in your spring check-up list. Ask your mechanic to inspect it for any lingering problems and to check the refrigerant levels (also called freon). Top off the levels if necessary and make any repairs now before the air conditioner breaks down.
Test the Battery
The excessive heat during the spring and summer can shorten the life of your battery by causing the battery fluid to evaporate. Not only will this drain the battery of power, but it will also damage the internal structure of the battery.
Ask your mechanic to test the battery and to check its levels. Now is the time to clean it and replace any fluids. A dirty battery will also work harder and drain more energy, so ask that any dirt or corrosion be cleaned off.
Check Belts and Hoses
Every season is a good time to check your belts and hoses. It’s not that the winter is especially hard on them or that the summer will put them through a lot of wear. The start of a season is just a good marker to conduct a regular inspection.
Ask your mechanic to look for belts and hoses that have become brittle, warped, blistered or otherwise showing signs of damage or wear. These should be replaced before they break down so you do not wind up stranded on the side of a hot highway.
Inspect Your Tires
Winter conditions can be rough on your tires. If you aren’t slipping all over the ice, you are slushing through a mix of salt and snow. Your tires can become worn or uneven.
Before the spring showers begin in earnest, you need to check your tires to make sure the tread is still healthy and the pressure is right. At the very least, you will likely need to rotate and balance your tires. However, you may find that you need to replace a tire or four also.
Inspect Wiper Blades
Spring is the rainy season, so you’ll need healthy wipers that are up to the job of maintaining your field of vision. Check your wipers to make sure they are still thick and sturdy. Test them with your wiper fluid to see how quickly they remove water and whether they leave behind any streaks.
Replace your wipers as necessary, and fill up your wiper fluid. When the pollen count is high, you’ll need a full reservoir to deal with the thick layer of yellow dust on your windshield.
Replace Air Filter
Spring puts out a lot of air pollution. Pollen, dirt, dust and bugs will be passing through your air filter. If you don’t replace your filter regularly, your engine will have to work overtime, increase the risk of overheating and doing a number on your fuel efficiency.
Replace the air filter now to give your car the best start for spring.
Wash and Wax
You are probably spring cleaning your house, so now is a good time to spring clean your car, too. The winter subjected your car to a lot of mud and salt, which can damage your paint job and even lead to rust over time. Thoroughly wash the exterior and apply a thick wax to protect your car against pollen and other spring debris.
Clean out any clutter in the cabin and thoroughly clean the upholstery and carpets. You likely tracked in a lot of snow and mud during the winter, so now is the time to clean up those stains as well as you can.
Start your spring car checklist with a quick oil change then work through these other suggestions to make sure your car is ready for the season. Not only will your car perform better all season, but you will be helping to extend its life so it can deliver that same performance for many years to come.