Our spring car care tips will help you stay safe and keep your vehicle running smooth. Fact: 2,600 deaths a year occur from neglected vehicle maintenance. – National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration
Each and every year cold temperatures, snow and ice, road salt, potholes, frost heaves, batteries, tires, brakes and suspensions put our vehicles to the test. While most new vehicles have “smart” computer systems that can alert us about this and that there can be some components that can make our vehicles unsafe if left unattended.
Add A Checkup To Your Spring Cleanup
Spring is the time to “thank” our hard-working vehicles for their great winter performance with a maintenance overhaul. There are plenty of things you can do yourself to help your vehicle get back to 100%. A spring checkup can help uncover winter damage but there may be some components that are harder to check without requiring a skilled technician to pinpoint the problem. You should have your engine analyzed by a competent technician and determine the if any of your vehicles components are in need of servicing.
- Batteries, Plugs & Wires: All of these components give the spark to your your vehicle and they work extra hard when it’s cold. Winter stress can compromise their performance up to 60 percent. Test and replace old or weak batteries, plugs and wires, especially those more than three years old. It will certainly be cheaper than a tow and replacement down the road.
- Tire Pressure: Cold weather can reduce tire pressure, so make sure all tires, including the spare, are properly inflated and balanced. You can check the inside of your car door to find out what the proper air pressure should be.
- Belts and hoses: Inspect and replace worn or cracked belts, as well as hoses that are blistered, brittle or too soft. Belts and hoses older than five years, even if they look intact, might need to be replaced.
- Brakes: After a season of snow and ice it is advisable to inspect the brake system, including lines, hoses, parking brake and brake fluid for proper level. We rely on our brakes and something as simple as a brake pad change can help put an end to any worrys about brake safety.
- Suspension & Wheel Alignment: Deep potholes aren’t friendly to shocks and struts. An inspection to determine wear or leaks can alleviate bigger issues down the road. Also having your wheels properly aligned after a season of tough conditions can help keep you on the road in a safe direction.
- Fluid Levels: There are lots of things to check but don’t skip over any of them: engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze/coolant and, yes, even windshield washer fluid. Commonly a brake fluid flush can get your sluggish brakes working as good as new and because this is recomended once a year there is no better time to get it done.
- Engine Air filter: Changing out the engine air filter is a quick job that can be done during any oil, brake or transmission fluid change.
- Windshield Wipers: Check them for wear and cracks and replace them if necessary, think about doing this each spring and fall.
- Clean the interior: It’s easy to use your car or truck as a storage area for all kinds of things (including useless junk and garbage), especially in the cold months when you don’t feel like cleaning your car in the freezing cold. Take the time to declutter your car, losing the extra weight can significantly increase your gas mileage too. It’s worth it.
- Clean the exterior: Take special care to address the undercarriage where road salt can eat away or corrode the metal. A thorough cleaning at a car wash should do the trick.
100,000 mile maintenance
The average family drives about 12-15k miles which means that it is around the 7-10 year mark and time for a little more than your average overhaul. If you keep up with seasonal maintenance and the major maintenance benchmarks then there is no reason that you can’t see your vehicles odometer go to 200,000 miles and beyond.