Much is written about getting your car ready for summer road trips or the challenges of winter driving, but there are some steps you can take to prepare your car for spring and keevvp it in top condition. The transition from winter to summer may be more drastic on your car than autumn preparations.
The Spring Car Wash
This should be thorough, whether you do it yourself or use an automated drive-through wash. Spring for the premium wash at the gas station. You’ll have extra wash and rinse cycles to combat the salt and sand embedded in your vehicle. Go slowly over the under-car spray, usually at the start of the car wash, to give extra time for water to penetrate and loosen dirt in the chassis.
If you’re washing yourself, get the wand underneath to perform the same under-car scrubbing when you use a coin-operated wash bay. At home, use a spray handle that can deliver decent water pressure underneath. Also, if you’re using the sponge and bucket method, add some baking soda to the wash water to neutralize the salt build-up on your car.
As you switch from winter to three-season tires, check both sets for damage and wear.
Snow tires benefit from a wash and scrub before storage to remove the accumulated winter dirt and brake dust. Let the tires dry thoroughly and inspect their condition. Look for cracking and deteriorating rubber and pry out stones from the treads. Note the tread depth also and plan to purchase new tires before next winter if necessary.
Tires should be fully inflated prior to storage and sealed in plastic bags to both protect from the environment and prevent evaporation of tire oils, which may cause premature aging. Store the tires stacked indoors, with as much protection from the elements as possible. Cool, dry places with little temperature or humidity fluctuations are ideal.
Perform similar tire inflation and inspection on your three-season tires and replace these when necessary. Proper tire inflation is one of the best things you can do for good gas mileage, after keeping your car tuned.
Spring may be the time to change your wipers, particularly if you switch to heavy-duty blades for the winter. Otherwise, change the blades if you notice streaks or spots where the blades aren’t clearing the glass adequately. Most blades are easy to change and the cost is affordable. If you’re not the DIY type, bundle the wiper change with the next step.
Spring Oil Change
Chances are your car is due for an oil change sometime in the spring months. As many shops bundle fluid top-ups and tire changes with lube, oil and filter changes, spring auto maintenance could be a one-stop shop.
Some vehicles benefit from different grades of oil in warm-weather months versus during winter driving. Check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends, and pass this information on to the shop changing your oil.