Winter can be rough to deal with, and by the time spring rolls around most are usually ready to say goodbye to the snowbanks and ice scrapers and are looking forward to the heat and sunshine. While you might have your mind set on your spring cleaning to-do list, it’s important to remember another form of spring maintenance – spring maintenance of your vehicle. The winter can be incredibly hard on your vehicles so it is just as important to prepare your vehicle for warm weather as it is to prepare it for the winter. Proper vehicle maintenance is crucial to vehicle safety, longevity, and personal safety for you, your passengers, and others you share the road with.
What are some of the maintenance items you should be completing on your vehicle this spring?
- Switch out your tires.
If you have you winter tires still on your vehicle, schedule an appointment with your trusted mechanic to have them removed and replaced with your summer or all-season tires. While winter tires grip snow and ice in the winter, they compromise traction on dry and wet road, and wear down faster when used on hot pavement. If all-season tires were used all winter, have them inspected for even tread wear and tire pressure. If you or your mechanic notice uneven tire wear, you may need an alignment – a common occurrence often as a result of all those winter potholes on the roads!
- Clean your car inside and out.
Salt and sand mixtures are used all winter long to keep snow and ice from building up on the roads, but these materials can be damaging to your vehicle if not removed. If salt is left on your vehicle, it can damage your vehicles paint and finish, and can lead to rust. Give your vehicle a proper wash and wax, and thorough interior cleaning to get all of the salt and sand out of your carpets or seats.
- Replace wiper blades.
Some people will use winter specific wiper blades throughout the colder months which perform better in low temperatures and against built up snow and ice. Passing over the rough snow and ice all winter long means your wiper blades are likely beat up and in need of being replaced. Be sure to have proper functioning wiper blades that will wick away all rain water once the spring and summer showers and storms begin so you aren’t left with limited visibility when it matters most.
- Check your battery power.
Cold temperatures put extra strain on your vehicle’s battery all winter long. Potholes can also cause a battery to begin to loosen. If you are comfortable doing so, check that your battery is securely mounted, has clean, tight and corrosion free connections, and is at a good level. If your battery is old or doesn’t have the right amount of power for you to have confidence it won’t leave you stranded, replace your battery.
- Repair or replace your windshield.
Sand and rocks used on icy roads all winter long are often kicked up into your way with no time or opportunity to avoid them, often resulting in chips and cracks in your windshield. Although a little crack may not seem like a big deal, damage to your windshield can decrease the overall effectiveness of airbags, seatbelts, roof stability, and your personal safety in the event of any accident. Don’t risk the safety of you and your passengers and repair or replace your damaged windshield as soon as possible.
- Bring your vehicle into the shop for a general inspection.
Unless you are a licenced mechanic or have a great deal of experience working on vehicles, there is a good chance you’d miss items needing addressing or replacement if you were to conduct an inspection of your vehicle. For this reason, it is a wise investment to bring your vehicle in to a trusted mechanic to have a full inspection completed where a mechanic can identify any minor problems before they become major ones, or to address any major ones you may not be aware of. They’ll also have the experience to notice any belts, hoses or other rubber or plastic parts on your vehicle which may have been damaged or cracked as a result of the cold temperatures all winter long.
We hope this list has been helpful in giving you useful information to help in preparing your vehicle for the warmer weather and whatever adventures or road trips which may be in your summer plans.
Please note that this list is not meant as a definite list of items you or your mechanic should check or do to ensure proper safety or performance of your vehicle. For full details on the proper maintenance schedule for your vehicle consult your owner’s manual.