Is seems like just last month we were talking about how to keep your car running during the cold (Note: February’s blog 9 Critical Items for Keeping Your Car Running in Cold Weather was completely necessary given our historic 11 days below freezing temps last month). Nevertheless, Spring is right around the corner and it’s time to look forward to warmer weather. Of course, warmer weather also means it’s time to perform spring auto maintenance on your vehicles. We have compiled a list of 11 Springtime auto maintenance items you do not want to be remiss in checking to help ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and drives safely.
1. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Check belts & hoses
The cold weather can take its toll on your rubber belts and hoses. Now is a good time to check your hoses for any cracks, leaks, blisters, hardening or softening, as well as any other damages you can see. You will want to make sure that your belts are not frayed, cracked, or loose, too. If you find that you need to replace belts, you may also want to look at replacing the tensioner and pulleys to keep your belt from slipping. One thing is certain, you do not want to wait for these items (especially the belts) to break on their own as this will leave you stranded, so be proactive in checking this one sooner versus later.
2. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Check filters
It is a good practice to change your oil filter at the same time you have your oil changed, but did you know that your vehicle has several filters besides the oil one? Don’t forget to check your cabin air filter, engine air filter, and your fuel filter, too. You will want to inspect each for damages or clogs, replacing them as necessary.
3. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Check fluid
Besides the oil change, which we will discuss later in this article, you should check your other fluids as well. Brake fluid, coolant, power steering, transmission fluids, and windshield washer fluid all need to be checked as well. If levels are low, top them off. Refer to your vehicle’s owner manual to see when it recommends flushes and replacements for your make and model. You may want to consider setting an inspection appointment up with your local trusted mechanic if your brake fluid, coolant, or power steering fluids are low as this could indicate a leak given these are closed systems.
4. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Change oil
The old standard of knowing when its time to change your oil has been “every 3,000 miles”, however; newer cars or cars using synthetic oil may be able to go longer than that. While it is still recommended to change your oil at specific intervals, you should check your owner’s manual or your vehicle’s onboard computer system for better guidance on specifics. Regular oil changes are the best way to keep your engine running smoothly. Neglecting to change your oil in a timely manner could result in an increase in fuel consumption, poor engine performance, and even severe damage to your engine and components.
5. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Inspect ties
Your tires are especially important for the safety of you and your passengers. It is the only point of contact your vehicle makes with the road. You should get into the habit of checking your tire pressure monthly (this includes the spare). You can determine the optimal tire pressure for your vehicle by checking your vehicle’s owner’s manual. Tires tend to lose more air in the winter, so it is likely you will need to add some air on your spring tire checkup. Additionally, you will want to check the tread for irregular wear, cuts and bruises, or bruise marks on the sidewall. Make sure the thread isn’t too worn (penny test/quarter test). You should have your tires rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles and replace them as soon as possible if they are worn or damaged.
6. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Inspect windshield
It is not uncommon to get rock chips and cracks during the winter in areas where sand and rocks are used to help with icy roads. If you see a crack or chip, you should get it repaired or replaced immediately. Damages to your windshield has the potential to decrease the overall effectiveness of roof stability, airbags, and your overall safety in the event of an accident. Why risk it, just repair or replace it immediately!
7. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Lubricate chassis
Most new cars no longer require regular chassis lubrication. However, if you drive an older vehicle it likely does need this, and Spring is a perfect time to deal with such. Check your owner’s manual to see if you need to lubricate the chassis. Moreover, you may need to lubricate the steering and suspension components too, so look that up in your manual as well.
8. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Replace wiper blades.
With all the ice and slushy snow we have had this winter, its likely your windshield wiper blades need replacing. To know for sure, check each blade for tears and cracks. You definitely want to make sure your wiper blades can handle those Spring showers that will inevitably come.
9. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Test battery
Winter temps have a way of draining a battery, which is why it makes sense to test your battery during your Spring auto maintenance check. Make sure your battery is securely mounted, the connections are clean, tight, and free of corrosion. You may want to consider replacing your battery if it is more than 5 years old as well.
10. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Test lights & Check Mirrors
Your vehicle’s lights are integral for ensuring you can see while driving as well as that others can see you. This Spring be sure to check all exterior and interior lighting to identify any problems. Replace bulbs and lights as needed. If the light covers are old and foggy looking, you may try contacting a reputable detail shop to see if they can buff them out before opting to replace them. Lastly, make sure your mirrors are functioning and do not need replacing.
11. Springtime Auto Maintenance: Wash vehicle
You definitely want to clean your vehicle inside and out. This includes your vehicles undercarriage that has potentially been mucked up with road salts and sands over the winter months. Give it a good washing from top to bottom on the outside. Sanitize the inside and give it a nice freshen up. (Note: Check out our article How to properly sanitize your vehicle for more tips). Consider waxing your vehicle’s exterior as well.
Keeping your vehicle running is out goal. If you do not feel comfortable in doing any of these Springtime auto maintenance items yourself, know that you can call upon the professionals at OKC Auto Works to help you get these service items completed.