National Car Care Month
In Canada, May is National Car Care Month. Fittingly, for 2016 in particular, this comes a month later than the similar event in the U.S. With snow still in the forecast for much of Ontario well into April, drivers can be forgiven about pushing spring-based car service and maintenance back by a few weeks. After all, with harsh Canadian winter driving conditions still cropping up, the month of May is a much better bet to avoid the last blast of Old Man Winter.
Be Car Care Aware
The Automotive Industries Association of Canada runs the Be Car Care Aware program which promotes National Car Care Month in Canada with consumers and industry. This program is a not for profit educational campaign that assists drivers with making informed decisions about car service questions and concerns. The program’s website contains resources, tips, facts and figures about all matters concerning your vehicle. The program also has an industry resource section, assisting service and repair businesses with marketing and promotion tools to help align the industry with the consumer, creating a synergistic loop.
A good case in point are the Be Car Care Aware tips for seasonal maintenance. Not only can these serve as a checklist for the car care do-it-yourselfer, it’s equally valid for those who are all thumbs when it comes to car maintenance, giving a detailed list of jobs to ask from their mechanics. The list for spring maintenance includes:
- Oil and Filter Change – Check your car’s service schedule and the time and distance driven since your previous oil change. Changing oil may be the single most important task in prolonging the life and efficiency of your vehicle.
- Check other vehicle fluids – Note that in some systems, low levels indicate leaks or other maintenance issues. Check your owner’s manual for suggestions for flushing and replacement of systems and fluid:
- Power steering fluid
- Brake fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Washer fluid
- Replace your wiper blades – The rubber insert has about a six-month life. You can replace the insert without replacing the entire blade assembly, which should last about two years.
- Check your battery – The extreme temperatures of winter can take a toll on battery performance. Even if your battery is still going strong, removing corrosion building up on the battery posts can ensure good starting power in all seasons.
- Watch your windshield – Check the windshield for chips and cracks. Road sand and salt can cause damage to the glass, which is a contributor to the safety design of your car. Many chips can be repaired, provided you seek service before the problem grows.
- Lubrication – some parts are now sealed and never require lubrication. Other systems, however, may require periodic attention. If you have replaced parts, these may require lubrication even if the original part did not.
- Other filters – these have service lives as well and need periodic inspection and replacement:
- Engine air filter
- Cabin air filter
- Fuel filter
- Tires, belts and hoses – Cold temperatures can cause deterioration of any rubber parts. Visual inspection may reveal weak spots before these have a chance to fail.