Spring Checklist for your Vehicle
Winter has come and gone, and it is time to prepare for the summer trips. It is the best day to drive on the roads for drivers, which often results in less attention on preparing the vehicles.
The sunshine and occasional showers ushers in a time where drivers are less vigilant. The summertime might be the best time to drive, but it also has potential hazards if drivers don’t stay alert and aware.
The summer period is favourable to wildfire, and animals are often seen on busy highways during the summer than any other period. However, humans also enjoy the warmness of the weather, which means more pedestrians and cyclists will be on the roads.
The end of the winter season that gives way for the warm weather will result in spring rains. Spring rains could result in a great deal of flooding across different parts of the country. In addition, there might be large puddles on the roads with the rain, and car tires will lose traction as you drive through. Once hydroplaning (loss of traction) occurs, drivers must be more cautious or prevent it through proper tire maintenance.
Evidently, the spring comes with several challenges for cars and drivers. The best way to stay safe on the roads is properly maintaining your vehicle. Asides from the safety of properly maintaining your vehicle during this period, you will also save more money if you are proactive with it.
We have come up with a list of maintenance tips for your vehicle during spring.
Replace winter tires
The first change on your car at the start of spring must be your tires. You must remove the winter tires and replace them with summer and all-season tires. Many countries set mandatory dates for drivers to replace the tires to ensure safer roads. However, drivers usually make the change when the temperature has reached seven degrees Celsius and above.
All-season and summer tires are better suited for ice and snow-free roads, as they have more rigidity and better traction on spring roads. Winter tires have flexible tread rubber that offers better traction on snow and ice but wears out quicker during the warm spring conditions.
After replacing your winter tires, do not forget to wash or spray them before storing them. First, wash away the excess salt on your winter tires to prevent corrosion. After which, you should store them in a dry and cool place to keep them in proper condition for the next winter season.
Alternate your tires
As you replace your tires at the start of spring, it is advised that you should also alternate your tires. Alternating your tires means switching the front tires to the back and vice versa.
There is variation in impact on each tire because the vehicle’s weight is not evenly distributed on the tires. The front tires are more impacted as they carry more weight due to their function during braking and directing the vehicle’s steering.
Alternating your tires is easy and highly effective when you do it before spring. It extends the tire’s lifespan and improves gas mileage.
You should take your vehicle to the mechanic workshop to assess your tire’s air pressure and alternation. Doing this will prevent dangers from hydroplaning.
Sort alignment issues
Icy ruts, hidden curbs, and potholes are some of the road hiccups that affect the wear and tear on your vehicle’s suspension, affecting your car’s wheel alignment negatively. Drivers might find their car steering towards one side when on the highway or see that the steering wheel is off-center. The only reason this would occur is uneven tread wear, and the solution might be replacing your tires.
After the winter period, when the ice and snow have finally cleared, you have a window to take your car for an alignment assessment. In many places, tire dealerships and shops offer free checks for car alignment.
Wash your car
Washing your car at the start of spring and during spring is vital to the car’s health. For active drivers during winter, there is a high chance that the car’s exterior will have salts around it. Leaving the road salt on the car can cause damage to the undercarriage and the car’s body. It could also lead to rusting.
If you don’t wash your car frequently, it is advised that you do so at the start of spring. Car washes often have spraying machines with enough force to wash off the salt from the underneath part of the vehicle.
Washing your car multiple times during spring can help you keep the car’s body and look intact.
Refill the fluids
Most vehicles usually require an oil change after a mileage of 8,000 – 16,000km. However, it is advised that you check the vehicle’s manual to be sure. Some modern vehicles allow up to 24.000km mileage before requiring an oil change. Because most drivers go on a trip more during spring, it is better to check the car’s manual to ascertain how long before the car requires an oil check.
Changing the oil ensures proper lubrication of the moving parts, and the internal components can all function better together.
We advise that you pay more attention to the transmission fluid, as it is often neglected during car maintenance. Shockingly, most car owners neglect this, as a car’s transmission costs a lot to repair.
Other fluids like the brake fluid, windshield wiper blade fluids and coolant levels are also vital.
Change dilapidated wiper blades
Wiper blades do a lot of work during the winter period, but they are also crucial during the spring rains. The wiper blades will likely have stored abrasive salt and sand during winter, which might affect the rubber edges and seize up the pivots.
If it has been a long time since you changed your wiper blades, springtime is an excellent period to do so. The best part is that you can do it yourself, as it takes only one to two minutes to change.
Check the battery
Your car battery endures a lot of hardship during winter. The varying temperatures mean that your battery has to endure extreme fluctuations throughout this season.
In most cases, car batteries have a lifespan between three to five years. Any time above that is extra time. If your battery has functioned for that long, you must test the battery load to determine if your battery needs a change or is still healthy.
Check the brakes
Checking your brakes at the start of spring is essential, and this is because the winter season is not friendly to the vehicle’s brakes. Besides that, the driving and safety issues and the costly repairs are also things you want to avoid.
Take your car to the mechanic for an assessment of your car’s brakes, as well as the rotors and pads. The winter period often requires more work from the braking system, leaving it in poor condition. And this is dangerous for everyone on the road, including the driver.
Change the air filters
Most vehicles come with air filters for the cabin and the engine. During the previous seasons, the cabin air filter could have taken in a lot of mould, dust, mildew, and allergens in general, which could result in poor airflow and an unpleasant odour. For the engine air filter, the debris could affect how it mixes air and fuel for combustion.
The start of spring is a great time to replace the cabin air filter and the engine air filter, as it will help the engine and everyone in the car breathe well during spring trips.
Check the Air Conditioner
The air conditioner is often neglected during the winter period. This is why you need to check it to avoid trepid air. A weak AC could be due to a clogged condenser, loose drive belt, a lack of refrigerant, or a leak in some cases. Although repairing a faulty AC could be expensive, it is worth the cost.
Do not neglect your belts
While most vehicles have adopted the serpentine belt system, it still hasn’t taken away the need to replace it after some time. In addition, sandy, salty, and slushy roads could affect the belt, causing deterioration or squeal.
Before embarking on the spring trips, check your car belt for missing segmented ribs or cracks. If you check and see the need for a replacement, you might have to take your car to a professional to change as it isn’t the easiest thing to do.
Check the lights
The days are getting longer, but it’s still just as important to be seen on the road when you’re driving. Although the spring brings more daylight, you still need your car lights as you drive during this period. You should check your brake lights, turn signal bulbs, marker lights, headlights, and daytime running lights. Don’t neglect the license plate lights too, and ensure everything is functioning correctly.
If one or more of these bulbs are not functioning well, it is mainly easy to change. All you need to do is check for the wattage and type to maintain light performance, and get it from the store. Check the car’s manual for how to change the bulbs.
Patch Fragmented Paint
While wintertime takes a hit on your car, springtime is the best time to appreciate the stunning look of our vehicle. First, check for fragmented paint on your car and patch it up with auto paint or cheap nail polish. Next, paint over the fragmented paint and leave it to dry completely. If you don’t find a match for the paint, use nail polish to patch it.
Check Engine Coolant
As summer approaches, a faulty engine coolant in hot weather will lead to costly breakdowns. First, check the engine coolant to see if it gets to the “full” line. If it is not up to the “full” line, top it off with a mix of regular water and antifreeze.
The spring is one of the best periods to take care of your car after the bashing from the winter period. If you leave your car untended, it will result in a breakdown that will cost you more money to repair. So ensure your car is adequately cleaned and check for vital elements before getting on the road during springtime.