10 Tips To Prep Your Vehicle For Spring
Spring is Here! 10 Ways to Ensure Your Vehicle is Ready for the Upcoming Springtime
The winters are hard on us and just as much on our vehicles. The extreme temperature exposes the vehicle’s failing points and makes the vehicle vulnerable as temperatures rise again. The constant onslaught of elements like dirt, grime and salt take shelter in the crevices of the car and eventually stem rust on the body panels. The exterior is prone to numerous issues and so is the engine and other components. Spring is the ideal time to work on the vehicle as it offers suitable temperatures to work in and makes servicing easier to prepare the car for the rest of the year.
Tips To Prep Your Car For Spring
Clean Your Car
During winter, the car is exposed to freezing temperatures which allows grime and salt build-up along with moisture and this sticks to the vehicle in places like the fender liner, behind the wheel, and undercarriage of the vehicle. Failing to clean out this sludge and grime build-up can cause rust to originate on the sheet metal body panels. Cleaning out your car thoroughly is the first and most important step. It will also help you assess the damage winter has done so you can take the necessary actions to restore the vehicle to a healthier state, like fixing exposed metal, rust spots, etc.
Crystallized snow and moisture particles get really hard and as the car travels through snow and icy roads, these particulates can cause chipping on the paintwork and damage the body panels. The exposed metal surfaces also become prone to corrosion which can be disastrous for your car. One helpful tip is to cover these chips with clear nail polish which inhibits rust until you can get a paintjob.
Check Your Tires
Firstly if you have winter tires then it’s time to swap them out for summer tires or all-season tires. Winter tires aren’t designed to work at high temperatures and bare roads and will wear out very fast. Next, check the tire tread depth. You can use a tire tread gauge to measure the tread depth accurately. A minimum of 3 mm should be available or it’s a good time to invest in a new set of tires. Also, check the tire pressure using a tire pressure gauge and top up to the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure for front and rear wheels. Remember a 10℉ (4-5℃) change in temperature means a 1 psi change in the tire pressure as well. So keep a close eye on the tire pressure as the temperatures change.
Check Your Alignment
Potholes and dire road conditions during the winter can take a toll on the vehicle’s suspension which makes wheel alignment necessary. Before making a trip to the garage you can observe any unevenness in the vehicle by driving in a straight line and examining any tendency of the vehicle to wander in any direction without your intervention. Now if you do see instability then you will need to visit an auto garage but it will be worth the trouble since unaligned tires can be responsible for many problems. The vehicle stability is compromised and the tire starts wearing unevenly, and the fuel economy of the vehicle also drops while compromising safety.
Check Your Battery
Winter is one of the leading causes of battery failure. Cold starting the vehicle in summer is hard so you can imagine how difficult it must be during the winters since the batteries need to work much harder than usual in order to get sufficient juice to power the starter motor. All this extra work can deteriorate the battery life unless it is taken care of. Modern battery inspection tools can tell the entire condition of the battery. It can help you assess your battery’s charge, cold-cranking amps, and change holding capability. Each of these factors can tell you the battery’s health and how long it will last. Alternatively, you can have it looked at by a mechanic but that may cost you. If your battery is in good health then it’s important you maintain it to further prolong its life. Refer to this article on how to maintain a car battery in good condition.
Check Your Brakes
During winters is it common to experience sudden braking since the road and traffic conditions are unpredictable. Check your brake rotors and pads to ensure that the brakes still have sufficient life to retain functionality during the upcoming seasons. Also, look out for the brake and ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) warning lights that can signal an imminent failure. Here are a few ways you can make your brakes last longer.
Replace Your Wiper Blades
Constantly shoving the ice and snow off the windshield during the winter months can take a toll on the wiper blades. It is recommended to replace the wiper blades after the winter to ready the wiper for proper functioning during the rain. Find the right wiper blades for your vehicle using this article.
Change Various Fluids
Most vehicle systems rely on some sort of fluid for functionality. After a long run in the winter, most of these fluids are due for replacement and servicing. Engine oil is one of the most crucial fluids in the vehicle and so it is advised to flush the engine with new engine oil according to the manufacturer's specified viscosity for the temperatures of the upcoming seasons. While you are at it, make sure you also service the coolant, power steering pump fluid, brake fluid, and washer fluid and top them up to their indicated level. Refer to this guide for maintaining the fluids in your car.
Replace Your Filters
The air entering the engine bay and the fuel being sipped by the engine is not monitored and any particulate matter that enters the cylinders can have an adverse effect on the engine functioning. Hence it is ideal to have the air, oil and fuel filters be replaced as the winter’s pollution can degrade these elements and replacing them can help the engine run smoothly and efficiently.
Check Your Engine Components
The cold temperatures can warp and degrade rubber serpentine belts which can affect optimal engine functioning. Pulling on the serpentine belt when the engine is shut off can tell you a lot about the state of the belt. If the play is very apparent then tightening the belt tensioner can do the trick but in case the belt is too worn out then replacing it is your best option. More on how to diagnose and fix worn serpentine belts and tensioners.
Similarly, if the rubber radiator hoses also show cracks or fissures or signs of weakness when lightly jolted then a replacement is necessary. The most essential element is the spark plugs that severely are affected by the cold and this can decrease their effective functioning. Replacing spark plugs can be another way to strengthen the engine performance after harsh winters. Here's how you can test your spark plugs.
Unable To Start Your Car?
If you had your vehicle in storage or just sitting during the winter months, then chances are you will have trouble starting it after so long. The problem might be as simple as a drained battery or something more advanced. Before you pay your mechanic to fix the issue, take a look at this guide to help you start your car.