Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Car Maintenance

If you think winter weather is hard on you and your family, just imagine the toll it takes on your car each and every day. After months of travelling through snow, sand and salt, you may not even be able to remember what color your car is, let alone what it feels like to have it look all shiny and clean.

When the weather warms up it's time to give your car a fresh, clean look, and while you're at it, make sure the winter months didn't do any internal damage that may cost you a lot of money to fix later on.
Packing your car with an emergency winter weather kit is a great idea, but once the snow is gone the kit should go too. Don't clutter your car with an extra snow shovel, ice scraper, sandbags and whatever else you certainly won't need now that the weather is more hospitable. This will not only free up space, but will also get you better gas mileage if you're not toting around unnecessary items.

As long as you're de-cluttering your vehicle, now is a good time to wipe down the interior and get rid of the layer of dust that has settled on everything. And really, let's find out what color this car is with a really good exterior wash and wax as well. Make sure whether you wash the car yourself, or get it done professionally, pay attention to the undercarriage of your car where rust-causing salt and sand were slopped all over during the winter months.

Get that warm-weather check over. Fill your wiper fluid, coolants, and check your car's other fluids to prevent overheating and other nasty problems.

You also should check to make sure winter didn't wipe out your windshield wiper blades. Make sure the rubber part is still stuck to the plastic or metal, therefore ensuring your wipers will work to maximum effect.

Winter is also very hard on your tire tread. With a wet, rainy spring coming up shortly after winter leaves, a good tire tread is very important. Tires with 2/23rd of an inch of tread or less are dangerously balding. To test how much tread a tires has, take an upside down penny and place it in the center of the tread in the thickest part of the tire. If you can see the hair on the top of Lincoln's head then your tread is too worn. If the penny sinks down as far as Lincoln's forehead your tires are still good. Of course you could also use a tread depth gauge that is somewhat more scientific. Air pressure is also an important thing to check as long as you're checking your tires. Maintaining the proper air pressure will help improve your gas mileage and keep your car handling safely.

Avoiding the pot holes that cold weather creates isn't always easy, yet each time you dip into a pothole, the inner workings of your car are jostled and tested. Therefore, a good internal inspection of certain parts is a good idea. Belts and hoses are particularly vulnerable to temperature changes, and brakes and suspension are affected by uneven terrain, so these are good parts to take a closer look at for cracks and other damage.

One thing you don't think about after the weather warms is your car's battery. Even though the bitter cold won't be affecting the battery any longer, corrosion and filth that built up over the winter still may have taken a toll. After the hard work your batter put in over the winter it doesn't hurt to clean and test it now.

A few simple tests and cleanings can keep your car running smoothly through the seasonal transition.

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