Spring is in the air and it makes for the perfect time to get your car in shape for road trips and weekend getaways. Here are six simple steps to ensure that your vehicle is ready for the road ahead!
Thoroughly Clean your Vehicle, Inside and Out
There’s nothing like a good spring cleaning. After months of bad weather, a thorough wash and wax is the most important thing to do with your vehicle once winter ends. You will most likely discover that a huge amount of road grime, debris, and — worst of all — salt has built-up on your vehicle. A thorough cleaning, including the engine bay and beneath the car, will get rid of this accumulated dirt.
Also take this time to make the interior shine. Get rid of the trash, papers, and junk that tends to accumulate over the winter. A warm day is a great opportunity to take your time and do a thorough cleaning that includes vacuuming and cleaning the windows inside and out. And while you are at it...don’t forget the trunk!
Check Your Tire Pressure
Tire pressure is especially important in the spring. As air temperatures get cooler during the winter, tire pressures decrease, which probably caused you to fill up your tires. But as temperatures get warmer in the spring, tire pressures can rise. If the pressure increases past your manufacturer specification (because you added air during the winter), it can lead to overinflation, which can cause premature tire wear.
When checking the tire pressure, also take a look at the depth of your tread. You can use a penny inserted headfirst into the tread. If you can see any part of the top of Lincoln’s head, it means you should replace your tires. Also inspect the sidewalls for any cuts or damage that could weaken the tire & lead to a potential blowout in hot weather.
Inspect Your Wiper Blades
As spring starts and temperatures warm up, check your wiper blades for any signs of cracking or wear. The wiper itself could wear dramatically over the winter due to ice buildup or other issues on your windshield. Experts recommend changing the blades every six months to a year, depending on use and weather.
Check Under the Hood
Do a thorough check under your hood to make sure your car’s engine made it through the winter without problems. Specifically, check belts and hoses to ensure the cold temperatures haven’t rendered them brittle or heavily worn. Check your coolant to make sure it’s not too old — an important factor for avoiding overheating as temperatures start to climb. If you aren’t comfortable performing these checks on your own, contact your mechanic. Also, make sure that you top off your windshield wiper fluid.
Check Alignment and Suspension
Winter is known for being harsh on roads, which in turn can be harsh on your vehicle. If you find yourself frequently travelling roads with huge potholes or rocks that have emerged from the asphalt, it could ruin your car’s alignment or damage suspension components.
A sure sign that you may need an alignment is if your steering wheel isn’t centered or the car doesn’t track straight. Also, your shocks or struts may need attention if you notice that the vehicle feels like it has a loose or overly soft ride with an extra rebound when going over bumps.
Check the Filters
Spring is also known for pollen and allergies. You can keep them out or minimize their presence in the cabin by replacing the filter in your climate control system. Most manufacturers recommend changing the cabin air filter every 30,000 miles.
Spring is also a good time to check your engine’s air filter to ensure that the old one hasn’t been clogged by dirt or other impurities. A filter contaminated by oil or other fluids can also be a sign of larger engine problems and should be checked by a mechanic.
We hope that you find this information useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget.