Spring is near, and summer is just around the corner.
With warmer weather approaching, it’s a good time to do some pre-season maintenance on your vehicle. Here are some tips to help you get your vehicle ready for the warmer roads ahead.
A car's tires see the most wear and tear, and you really should give them the attention they deserve. Even though you really don't need to change between winter and summer tires in the Hampton Roads area, we do get that occasional early spring snow, and or suddenly icy roads. Spring is also when we typically see an increase in pop up showers that can quickly puddle the roadways.
Do a visual inspection and make sure that your tires are not excessively worn. Balding tires don't provide reliable traction and may cause you to spin out of control, skid or hydroplane.
Check for uneven wear. This may be an indication that it may simply be time for an alignment, or could be an indicator of a more serious mechanical problem.
Tire pressure is also an important aspect of Spring maintenance. As temperatures rise, the air pressure inside your tires will rise also. Make they are inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications.
Check the Brakes
Does your brake pedal feel squishy or do the brakes make a weird noise when you press the pedal? Did the “brake” light come on recently? Any of these can be warning signs of a worsening problem. If you have “open rims” on your vehicle and are a little car savvy, take a look in-between the spokes of your wheels and visually inspect the rotors and brake pads. The rotors should be smooth, not grooved, and you want the brake caliper pads to have at least a 1/8 inch of thickness between the backing plate and the rotor. If you’re unsure, then have a certified technician check them out for you.
Inspect the Wipers
Your wiper blades can suffer a lot of damage during the winter. The cold temps can cause them to crack and chip. Impatiently (we’ve all done it) turning them on to clear off a thin layer of frost in lieu scraping of waiting for the windshield to defrost damages the blades resulting in streaky performance in rainy conditions. Most blade manufacturers recommend that you replace your wiper blades every six months anyhow and whenever necessary if you see a lack in their performance. Spring brings sudden showers. Make sure your wipers are up to the tasks of keeping your windshield clear.
Under Hood Checkup
Oil and Other Fluids
Changing your oil and oil filter regularly and on time is the best possible way of ensuring that your engine runs at peak efficiency. Check the manual to see how often it recommends you do this. Keep to the schedule, and your engine’s internal parts will last a lot longer.
Other fluids to check are the power steering fluid levels, automatic transmission, and brake fluid levels. Check the specifications for your particular make and model for the procedures if you are unsure. It’s also a good time to top off the washer fluid while you’re under the hood. If your vehicle has a manual transmission, have a professional check the gear box if you don’t know how. On high mileage vehicles, don’t forget to check the levels in the rear end. 4wd vehicles should also have the transfer case levels checked at least once a year.
If you’re an auto novice, then stick to checking the coolant levels in the overflow reservoir tank. Refer to your owner’s manual for procedures and the type of coolant to use when necessary. Only add coolant if the levels are low. Overfilling can result in spillage when the system heats up. Also, if the tank looks like it has rusty water inside, then it’s likely time for a flush and fill and maybe a new thermostat. This will help assure the cooling system is performing as it should.
Belts and Hoses
While you are under the hood checking the fluids, it’s the perfect time to visually inspect the engine area for any obvious sign of impending trouble. Examine the belt(s) for any signs of cracking or chipping. If it looks dried out or it’s damaged, then it’s time to change it out before it breaks. Look for any signs of oil or coolant leaks. These not only waste your money by having to refill before necessary, they can also lead to or be an indication of a looming mechanical problem. Again, if you don't know what you're looking at, it's much safer to contact a professional.
Some Spring Cleaning Would Be Nice
Ok, so while it’s not really a tip, we do recommend a little Spring Cleaning for your vehicle as well.
Everybody deserves a great start to a new year, and so does your car. Pamper it a little with a good wash and a wax.Road grime, debris, and worst of all, salt, can accumulate on your car during the snowy season and can cause serious problems to its paint and finish. Don't neglect the interior either. Clear out that winter clutter; vacuum the floors and seats of crumbs. Your car will thank you for it. Mike Duman Auto Superstore can definitely help you out with that.
Spring is a great time of year, but it can be unpredictable. Follow these simple steps outlined here, and you’ll stay safer on the road.