Springtime brings new life, sunny days, May flowers and the feeling that summer is just around the corner. Before the windows go down and the convertible tops come off, your vehicle needs a warm-weather tune-up.
Here are some tips for getting your vehicle in tip-top shape for road trips and summer cruising:
1. Spring Cleaning: A car wash to remove all of the cold weather dirt and salt (if you live in an area with snowy winters!) helps keep your paint job looking great and avoids potential rusting from salt damage. Cleaning inside the engine area will help remove anything that could cause your engine to work harder, which decreases its efficiency. Don’t forget to give the inside of your vehicle a thorough cleaning and vacuum, too.
2. Update Your Emergency Kit: If you carry an emergency kit in your vehicle (and we hope that you do), now is the time to make sure your extra winter items, like a spare hat and gloves, are swapped out for warmer weather items, like a raincoat or umbrella. Check your perishable items, like batteries, bottled water or food, and replace everything that has expired.
3. Tire Pressure Check: There’s a chance you had to add air to your tires during the winter months since colder temperatures lead to a decrease in tire pressure, so make sure that you do not have too much air in your tires for the warmer months, which can lead to premature tire wear. Check your tire pressure and adjust accordingly, so that you land in the manufacturer’s recommended range.
4. Replace Wiper Blades: With the increase in rainy days, it’s important that your windshield wiper blades are in optimum condition. Ice and snow, even excessive sun exposure, can damage the rubber on your wiper blades, so it’s good to get into the habit of changing out your blades at least once a year.
5. Check Fluid Levels: As needed, top off the coolant, windshield wiper fluid, brake fluid and oil to make sure your vehicle is ready to handle the increase in outdoor temperatures. If your car is due for an oil change, ask about spring discounts when you make your dealership appointment. It’s a great opportunity for further inspection to help catch any leaks or issues before they become serious.
6. Change Your Air Filter: Don’t forget about your air filter! Just like you routinely replace the air filter in your home, you also need to do this for your vehicle. Through visual inspection, if the filter looks dirty, replace it. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended mileage in between replacements.
7. Alignment Check: The winter months wreak havoc on the roads, creating more debris, potholes and hazards that can impact your vehicle’s alignment. Misalignment can cause a lot of extra wear and tear on your vehicle, including your tires and suspension. If you notice your vehicle pulling more to one side, this could indicate that your vehicle needs an alignment. While you’re at the dealership for alignment services, ask for a tire rotation, too!
Do you have a tip you’d like to share? Head to our Facebook page and leave your tip in the comments section.