10 Essential Spring Car Maintenance Tips
Road salt, potholes, and cold weather all make winter driving hard on cars. Spring is the perfect time to catch up on some routine car maintenance in preparation for summer road trips.
Many of these spring car maintenance tips can be done at home by any car owner. A few may require a trip to a trusted mechanic though for those not comfortable doing mechanical work.
Winter road maintenance tends to involve road salt to help melt ice and while road salt is great for melting ice, it is terrible for your car. Salt often ends up coating the entire vehicle – both in places that are easy to see and places that are hidden beneath the vehicle.
A thorough undercarriage wash will help to rinse away salt that is hidden beneath the car. Cleaning away the salt can help to prevent corrosion to the body, frame, and suspension components.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]
Clean Around Doors and Trunk
A good car wash can clean salt from the undercarriage and body of the car, but salt residue frequently remains hidden around doors, the trunk, and hood. This hidden salt can cause rust, but may also lead to expensive repairs since it can cause weather-stripping to deteriorate.
Cleaning around the doors, windows, trunk, and hood is easy to do at home and helps remove any stubborn salt residue. A damp rag and a small, soft-bristled brush will make quick work of this job.
Clean Interior Glass
Spring cleaning at home frequently includes washing windows, but this is a great time to clean the windows in your car as well. Clean windows are essential for driving safety, particularly when driving at night or in humid conditions when windows frequently fog.
Salt, freezing temperatures, and ice accumulations on the windshield can all damage windshield wipers. Spring is the perfect time to inspect windshield wipers for signs of cracking or tearing and replace them if necessary. Wipers are inexpensive and easy to replace on most cars.
Protect Dashboard and Interior
Winter brings its own stress on car interiors with freezing temperatures. Summer brings another set of stress to car interiors with high temperatures and UV damage. Cleaning and protecting your car’s interior with a quality protectant will help keep the car looking good and prevent expensive damage.
Spring is also a great time to pull out your car’s floor mats and give them a good cleaning to remove any built-up salt residue.
Winter driving exposes the tires to extreme cold, road salt, and potholes. Tires should be inspected for cracks, flat spots, bubbles, or worn tread. Many tire shops offer a free tire inspection if you have questions about a tire. You can also check out our blog on tires for advice on how to sell when it’s time to purchase a new set.
Belts and Hoses
Constant temperature changes as an engine warms up from freezing temperatures can cause belts and hoses to wear. Look for cracking or fraying on both belts and hoses, and also for bulging or leaks on hoses.
Winter weather puts a lot of strain on car batteries. The battery should be inspected for signs of corrosion around the terminals as well as obvious bulging on the sides. Slow starting or electrical accessories like power windows or windshield wipers working slower than normal can also be signs of a weak battery.
Winter driving frequently means dealing with potholes and frost heaves. These bumps in the road can affect the wheel alignment in your car. Signs that you made need an alignment include uneven wear on the front tires and the vehicle pulling or drifting to one side while driving on a straight road.
A thorough mechanical inspection is an essential part of regular car maintenance. Identifying problems ahead of time can keep you safe while avoiding inconvenient breakdowns. Brakes, suspension and steering components, and fuel and transmission lines should all be inspected to look for rust, corrosion, or damage from winter driving.
A trusted mechanic can perform an inspection and identify any car maintenance that needs to be performed. This inspection can even be combined with a routine oil change to minimize the inconvenience of a trip to the shop.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]