Preparing Your Car for Spring

Monday, May 12, 2014

Spring Engine CheckupThe winter cold is particularly hard on your vehicle, so if you want it to perform well during the spring and summer months, you need to prepare it. There are some procedures you can follow to maximise its performance:

  • We all know that our vehicles take longer to start during the winter. The cold is tough on the starting components like the starter and alternator, which in turn drain the battery when they struggle to work. If the windows are slow, the lights are dim or the vehicle still struggles to start, it is time to replace that battery. Otherwise, just check that the connection is tight and corrosion-free. 

  • Change your tires back to summer or all-season tires. If you never changed to snow tires, remember that the cold reduces tire pressure, so inflate them to the recommended pressure for your vehicle. This includes the spare. Under-inflated tires reduce fuel economy.
  • Check that the brakes are working well. They work hard during the winter's slippery conditions and the salt on the roads erode some of the parts. 

  • Make sure the windshield wipers are still working properly. They work hard during both the snowy winter and the rainy summer. Replace the washer fluid if necessary and replace frayed blades.
  • Check all essential fluids to ensure they meet proper specifications and that you have enough. This includes oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid and power steering fluid.

  • For your summer comfort, test the air conditioner now and have it repaired if it does not chill the car as much as it should.

  • Remove winter supplies like snow shovels, sand and blankets from the trunk.

  • Vacuum the inside of the car properly, and even wash the lose floor rugs to get rid of the salt and salt that you walked in throughout the winter. If you want that clean spring feeling, use a brush and carpet cleaner and wash the seats and carpets.

  • Get the car professionally washed so the underbody can be cleaned of salt and other chemicals.

In general, the standard recommendation is to have an engine tune-up once a year to maximise fuel efficiency and minimise emissions. In addition, the steering and suspension components should be examined annually. Spring is a good time to have these done, because we tend to drive more during summer than during winter.