The winter months can be hard on your vehicle as it faces freezing temperatures, road salts, potholes, snow, ice and strains on the battery.
So, once the year’s chillier months are in the rear view mirror, check off these 10 spring car care tips to make sure that your car is ready for the sunnier months ahead. Some of them you can do yourself, while others may require a mechanic.
Spring Car Care Tips
- Batteries, Plugs & Wires– All three of these components give the spark to your vehicle and, during winter, are forced to work harder due to the cold. Winter stress can drain these three components by as much as 60 percent. So, once the spring arrives, have them checked and, if necessary, replace them.
- Inspect Tire Pressure– Freezing temperatures can also reduce your tire pressure, so be sure that all of your tires are properly inflated and balanced. Check the inside of your vehicle’s door to see what the proper air pressure should be.
- Check Wheel Alignment & Suspension– Winter potholes can wreak havoc on shocks and struts, so you should take your car for an inspection as a preventative measure that will help you avoid problems down the road. A wheel alignment might be a good idea if the winter involved a lot of rough riding.
- Inspect Your Brakes– Your brakes also frequently take a beating during winter, so it’s a good idea to have your system checked – including lines, hoses, parking brakes and brake fluid level – when spring rolls around. Also, getting your brakes inspected early can save you costly repairs down the line.
- Belts & Hoses– If your belts and hoses are older than five years, they most likely need to be replaced even if they look intact. Over time, belts can become worn, cracked or too soft.
- Replace Windshield Wipers– Your car’s wipers will likely face some wear and tear while wiping away snow and ice during the winter months. If they are worn or cracked, have them replaced.
- Check Fluid Levels– There are a myriad of items to check, including engine oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, antifreeze/coolant and windshield washer fluid. A brake fluid flush is also recommended once a year and spring could be an ideal time for it.
- Change Engine Air Filter– If you’re taking your vehicle for an oil, brake or transmission fluid change, have your mechanic change out the air filter, if necessary. It only takes a few minutes.
- Clean The Exterior– Road salt can eat away and corrode the metal of your car’s undercarriage and winter can dull its paint and shine. So, once the season’s snowfall appears to be out of the way, take your vehicle to a car wash for a thorough cleaning. Be sure that the place you take your car has sprayers that can clean the undercarriage.
- Ensure Your Air Conditioner Is Working– While cool air is possibly the last thing on many peoples’ minds after winter has passed, it’s important to check to see if your car’s air conditioner is functioning properly. You don’t want to be stuck with one that isn’t when temperatures suddenly rise.
AAA members can save 10% on all services, parts and labor for spring car care needs by showing their membership card at a participating AAA Approved Auto Repair Facility. Find a station near you.