Now that Spring has (hopefully!) sprung, its time to think about putting away the heavy coats and snow pants and start getting ready for vacations and warm, sunny weather.
Is your car ready though? In honor of April being National Car Care Month, here is a short, but important (and often overlooked) check list to make sure your ride is warm-weather-ready.
Tires. If you opted to put snow tires on your car in anticipation of brutal winter storms, it’s time for those babies to come off the car. Why not just leave them on all year, you ask? Because those tires are made specifically to handle colder temperatures, and their tread was designed to bite into snow and ice to maintain your car’s traction. In warmer months, these tires will wear out much faster, leaving them with a short life span. In the long run, it will cost you more out of pocket to replace snow tires that have been used all Spring and Summer long. This goes for both the studded and studless varieties of snow tire.
Post-Winter Alignment: Chances are good that your winter driving included being out during several of those delightfully windy days. When winds are high, it’s natural to fight against the pull of nature via the steering wheel. After time, this necessary over-correcting causes the car’s alignment to change. It can be unnoticeable at first, but eventually you’ll notice that it’s pulling heavily to the right or left. This mean that your front end could be significantly out of whack. Have a trusted mechanic check your vehicle’s alignment and fix it if needed.
That leads us to shocks and struts. Potholes and cars are natural “enemies” and if you’ve rolled over a few of those, then your mechanic should check out your shocks and struts to ensure that they don’t need any parts replaced. They can usually check on this at the same time they are checking your alignment.
Brakes: During the winter of 2015, you probably found yourself using your brakes more than usual, given the slick conditions. This equals more wear and tear on the brake pads or discs. A professional mechanic should check out brakes, pads, and the rotors to make sure they are still in good working order. Having brake pads wear out on you can cause expensive repairs down the road (no pun intended), especially if you end up with metal-on-metal and damage the rotors.
Wash your ride. Most places use salt or sand on the roads to help with traction. There is a 100% chance that if your area uses salt or sand, then it has caked itself along the rocker panels and undercarriage of your car. It’s a good idea to give your four-wheeled baby a good bath at the end of Winter to make sure that salt doesn’t corrode the metal, and to clear out the caked sediments. Running your vehicle through a trusted car wash should do the trick.
While you’re at it, vacuum your floor mats and trunk space as well. They are probably loaded with road salt and sand as well from your shoes or snow boots. If you have a light-weight car, you may have sand bags in the trunk as well, and it’s time to find them a home until you need them again. A little Spring cleaning can go a long way in keeping your vehicle healthy and on the road for years and years. Regular service maintenance, as well as this handy post winter check list will ensure that your ride is ready for the warm months, whether you’re hitting the cruising scene or taking a road trip to ring in the Spring.