What’s not to love about spring? The weather’s getting warmer, flowers are coming back to life, and all those heavy winter clothes are getting stuffed back into your closet. As much as you love springtime, your car loves it too. The harsh winter has wreaked havoc on it. Now that spring is moving in, make sure to give your car some special attention to have it running in tip-top shape again. Here’s some tips to help:
Clean your car, inside and out
Vehicle maintenance is not just about what’s under the hood. If you live in a snowy climate, road salt can damage your car if it is not properly cleaned. Make sure to give your car a good wash and wax. Check that your headlights are clean inside and out to improve nighttime visibility. Also, give some attention to the inside of the car, as you likely have caked mud and salt all over the interior. Clean it now before it becomes caked in to the carpet or upholstery.
Give your tires a once-over
Tire pressure can change dramatically depending on the temperature. Accuweather suggests that you take special care to check your tire pressure once weather begins to warm, because your tires will add an additional 1 PSI for every 10 degrees warmer the weather gets. While you’re at it, check your tires’ tread depth as well as general wear and tear. You’ll want to make sure your tire has enough grip if you get caught in a spring shower.
Replace wiper blades
Winter likely hasn’t been kind to your wiper blades. The cold weather has probably made them brittle, which will cause a dramatic decrease in performance. You’ll want those wipers to be in top condition as those spring rain storms roll in. Inspect all of your wipers and replace them if necessary.
Check your fluids
It’s time to go under the hood now. Do any of your fluids need to be topped off? Windshield wiper, brake, radiator, and transmission fluids (to name a few!) should be inspected. If you’ve found any of your fluids to be unusually low, it’s an indication you probably have a leak. Take your car to a trusted mechanic to search out the issue in greater detail before you hit the road for spring break.
Change the oil and filter
Experts now suggest that the old advice of “3 months or 3,000 miles” is obsolete for newer vehicles. So, how do you know if it’s time to get the oil changed? When in doubt, you’re always best following the manufacturers guidelines found in your owner’s manual. With the rigors of winter, you’ll likely find that you’re overdue in getting your oil changed.
Test your battery
We often remember to test our car battery before winter, because a driver doesn’t want to get stuck with a car that won’t start during a blizzard. But, honestly, is there ever a good time to have your battery give out on you? It’s possible that the winter has deteriorated your battery at a faster rate than normal. To make sure that your battery still has sufficient capacity, stop by your local auto parts store. You’ll find that many of them will test your battery at no charge.
Inspect your filters
Your car likely has four main filters, and they all need to be changed on a regular basis. We’ve already talked about the oil filter, so you should have that covered by now. But, you also should check the two air filters (cabin air and engine air) as well as the fuel filter. Going into spring with clogged filters will cause a noticeable decrease in performance. Eventually, it can cause you to need a major repair. Of course, this is easily preventable, so check those filters!
Once your car is fully maintained and up to muster, you can start having fun with different mods and really customize it. Whether you’re looking for something as simple as a universal lip kit or a more dramatic customization, like that of PVD chrome wheels, you now can confidently make your car unique, knowing it’s running smoothly.
Earl Baldwin is a long time car enthusiast with a fledgling collection of classics (‘48 Plymouth, ‘49 Pontiac, ‘55 Chrysler). He also has a passion for writing about exotic cars, aftermarket modifications, and improving car performance. When he’s not writing, he’s cruising around town in one of his classics.