Spring is nearly here and your car certainly is looking forward to a much-needed spring cleaning. Time to wash off the winter grime--salt, sand, and muddy, melting snow puddles have left your car seriously dirty. In addition to dirt and grime, the giant potholes and freezing cold mornings of winter have also caused serious stress to your vehicle. Spring maintenance is extremely important in recovering from winter woes and maximizing your vehicle's performance. Check out our list of recommended spring maintenance to ensure that your car runs smoothly and looks great:
1. Clean it up! The first step in your spring car care maintenance checklist is to clean up that mess! It might take a few washes to remove the layers of grime that have built up over the winter. Even if you prefer to wash your car at home, make sure you still take a drive through a top-notch car wash that has sprayers to clean the undercarriage. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, salt can cause serious rust and corrosion to important parts of your car such as the muffler, exhaust system, coil springs, subframe, and hydraulic brake system. An under spray will help remove built-up salt on the undercarriage. In the fall, you can be proactive and visit a mechanic who can spray your undercarriage with a protective pre-treatment that prevents salt from sticking to the metal.
2. Get it checked. After the rough winter months, your car is in serious need of a head-to-toe check-up. Your mechanic will pay careful attention to the following areas:
- Alignment and suspension. Winter driving can get quite bumpy. Potholes seem to pop up out of nowhere and after hitting a few dozen of these over the winter, your alignment and suspension are probably all out of whack. Telltale signs include the vehicle pulling to one side or a vibrating steering wheel.
- Oil and fluids. Your last oil change was probably in the fall, so it's definitely a smart idea to get that changed--old oil gunks up the engine and causes a lot of extra wear (not to mention it kills your gas mileage). All fluids should be checked (windshield wiper, coolant, power steering, brake, and transmission. A transmission flush is a valuable service, as repairing a transmission is extremely expensive.
- Tires. Remember all those potholes? Yeah, your tires have taken quite a beating from those monsters. Your tires should be checked for excessive or irregular wear, cracks, and cuts. Cold weather often causes tires to lose air, so air pressure should be checked as well. You may need to have your tires rotated as well--experts recommend rotating every 5,000 miles.
- Brakes. Having your brakes checked is incredibly important, as failing brakes can cause serious automobile accidents. Your mechanic will check the pads and rotors to ensure that they are safe and functioning properly. Ignoring regular wear and tear (such as worn out pads) can cause costly problems (like damaged rotors).
- Belts and hoses. Those bone-chilling temperatures during the winter can do quite a number on rubber parts. Belts and hoses should be checked for cracks, loosening, leaking, blistering, and other damage.
- Battery. Cold weather also is tough on your vehicle's battery. The battery should be corrosion-free and have clean, tight connections. Experts recommend replacing your battery every five years.
- Windshield. Chunks of sand and rock salt thrown at highway speeds can cause cracks in your windshield. We often tend to ignore cracks in the windshield if they are not impairing our vision, but it's a good idea to have them fixed or have the windshield replaced. A weakened windshield can cause other issues that will make your vehicle less safe in the case of an accident.
3. Add something fun! Now that you've cleaned your vehicle and taken it for a check-up, you can move on to the fun stuff! Add some really awesome accessories to make your summer super enjoyable.
Plan on taking a lot of road trips with your furry best friends this summer? Check out the Sleepypod Clickit Harness to keep them safe (unlike many other pet harnesses, it's been crash-tested).
Of course, summer road trips also require the finest munchies, including ice-cold water and soda and refreshing sandwiches--the BESTEK 12V Thermoelectric Cooler makes it all possible. Lightweight and easy to install, this little cooler has a 7-liter capacity, making it the perfect size to fit in the car and hold a couple lunches.
Parents traveling with kids know that their originally clean car will be anything but by the time they reach their destination. Grabbing a vacuum and cleaning up the mess isn't too bad, but sometimes it's the smell that gets you. You know, the smell that lingers long after you've vacuumed up the last stray french fry from under the seat? The smell of a spilled (and now dried up) fruit punch that a certain small someone failed to mention during the road trip? The Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag is a parent's best friend during hot summer months filled with lots of traveling. Chemical-free and non-toxic, the moso bamboo charcoal prevents mold and mildew and last up to two years.
Spring is time to show your car a little love after a tough winter. Clean it up, check it up, and deck it out with some fantastic new accessories. Your car will be safer and more efficient with these simple maintenance steps. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about seasonal maintenance.