Spring is one of the prime times for auto maintenance. That first wash-n-wax on a warm Saturday afternoon is liberating. Winter’s gloom (to say nothing of grit and road salt) is literally washed away. Take out the snow shovel, the gloves, and heavy boots and store them ‘til next season. Surely summer can’t be far away!
Some preparation now will help ensure that your summer driving plans go as smoothly as you envision. Here are some tips to get your car ready for summer…
Read your owner’s manual and follow the recommended service schedules.
- Have hard starts, rough idling, stalling, etc., corrected before hot weather sets in.
- Check coolant level—With a cold engine, the radiator should be completely full and the coolant level in the remote reservoir should be at or above the “cold” level marking.
- Flush and refill the cooling system (radiator) according to the service manual’s recommendations. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. Always top off the coolant system with a 50/50 mixture of coolant and water to avoid altering the antifreeze level.
- Check tightness and condition of belts, clamps, and hoses. Winter weather takes a toll on your car’s belts and hoses making them more likely to break. Visibly inspect them for wear. Replace glazed or frayed belts or bulging hoses.
- A marginally operating air conditioning system should be serviced to reduce the likelihood of more costly repairs.
- Change the oil and oil filter as specified in your owner’s manual—usually every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
- Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended by your owner’s manual. Your car’s air filter prevents dust and other debris from getting into the engine’s running parts, meaning less efficient use of gas and weaker engine performance.
- Check condition of tires, including the spare. It’s crucial to check the pressure of your tires after weather changes because tire pressure can fluctuate about 1 lb per square inch for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in temperature. (Always check the pressure when your tires are cold.)
- Rotate your tires. This should be done roughly every 5,000 to 10,000 miles and it can extend the life of your tires significantly by reducing wear.
- Inspect the brake fluid level—if the level has fallen below the “low” mark on the reservoir, it usually indicates major brake war or a leak somewhere in the system; have the brakes inspected as soon as possible.
- Check battery and plugs—make sure battery posts and connections are clean. Spark plugs fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles.
- Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs.
- Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to combat summer’s dust and insects.
- Clean the interior—residual salt and sand that was brought into the interior of the vehicle can damage floor mats and carpet. Use a hand vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the floor and seats of your vehicle.
- Prepare the interior surfaces and upholstery of your car for more sun exposure—use a good leather protector to avoid any cracking on leather seats and invest in a product that will help avoid fading cloth interiors.
Call or email us, or use our convenient on-line scheduling form to schedule your spring vehicle check over today.