broken down volkswagen beetle in daffodils - spring care care

Spring Car Care

It’s spring car care time! Spring is here, and summer is just around the corner. With the beautiful weather comes changes in road conditions, temperature, and other factors that affect your vehicle. Here are a few things that you should check on this spring.

Brakes

Pull off your wheels and have a look at those brakes. The last thing you want to have fail on your vehicle is the brakes. If you aren’t comfortable checking the pads / discs / drums depending on your vehicle then have a mechanic look at them. They can determine the remaining life expectancy of your brakes and advise you on when they should be serviced or replaced.

Battery

Checking your battery regularly is important even outside of the winter. If your battery is not sealed, make sure the fluid level is high enough. The terminals should be free of corrosion and the top of the battery should not have any discharge around it. If your battery doesn’t look healthy, let a professional mechanic inspect it and determine if it needs to be replaced.

Rubber

Changes in temperature will eventually wear out any parts made of rubber. Tires, belts, and hoses should all be checked. If you have separate winter and summer tires, make sure to do a quick glance over for any bubbles or defects that could be forming as this could be a sign of a damaged tire. Uneven wear calls for an inspection by a certified mechanic that can properly diagnose the issue. Watch your belts while the engine is running and make sure there is no lateral movement or “flutter”. Flutter or cracking in the belts / hoses requires a replacement.

Fluids

Check all the fluid levels in your vehicle. Ensure that your oil is at the appropriate level and is a nice amber. Add extra oil if it is below the fill level and change it if it looks black and nasty. Check your transmission fluid. Depending on if you have an automatic or manual transmission vehicle, this step will vary.  If you have a manual vehicle with a hydraulic clutch, check the clutch fluid level. Your coolant level should be checked, and the contents tested for the water to ethylene glycol ratio with a simple tester that can be found at any auto store. Make sure your brake fluid is at the appropriate level and not dark and nasty looking. If so, have your mechanic flush and refill it. If your car is equipped with power steering, then make sure your power steering fluid is topped off and doesn’t look dirty.

A/C

An aging A/C unit can be easily pushed over the edge by a balmy day leaving you to cook in your car. Also, consider turning off the A/C in your car a couple minutes before turning off the engine. This gives the heat condenser time to cool off and prevents excess moisture from accumulating in your vents which can result in mold / fungi growth and a foul smell.

Wash

Give your vehicle a nice bath. Hit all the hard to get spots with higher pressure water to knock off any extra material that your car is carrying around from the winter months. Check all the locations in your vehicle that you don’t often see for damage that may have gone overlooked. Cleaning your engine bay also makes it much easier to spot potential leaks.

Car Maintenance - New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Taking care of our bodies is important and we set new year’s resolutions to help us improve so how about a few New Year’s Resolutions for your car?

Beauty & Looks

Dirt left on your carpet and seats can tear the fibers so set a regular weekly vacuum schedule and take care of major dirt when it occurs.

Don’t forget to dust and occasionally add a protectant to your surfaces to reduce fading from the sun.

The exterior of your car (paint, chrome, trim, etc) can rust, scratch, and fade without regular washing and sealant/protectant.  Find a local detailer and you will be amazed at what they can do with your car or watch a YouTube video and learn for yourself.

Windows and visibility are key for safe driving. Ensure that your windows are clean inside and out and consider using a water repellant to help with rainy weather. Making sure you have wipers that are working well is a must!

Your lights are important for visibility and signaling to the drivers around you that you are stopping or turning. Recently, my daughter’s headlights were only partially working. The issue was a switch that was turned off when she had a body repair. A simple flip of a switch and her nighttime visibility (and safety) was improved tremendously.  It would be a good idea to check your lights on a regular basis.

Nutrition for your Car

You take your body for check-ups and physicals with your doctor so make sure to follow routine and maintenance recommendations. And schedule tune-ups to keep your car in optimal condition.

If you feed your car good fuel, check fluid levels, and perform regular oil changes, it helps keep the “inside” of your car running smoothly and reduces mechanical failures.

Exercise & Use

Just like your body needs to move, a car that isn’t driven for a while can develop issues. Driving your car or body too hard or under the wrong circumstances, however, can also have detrimental effects.

  • Make sure to check your tire pressure using the sticker on the inside of the driver’s door for the PSI. You need good shoes to exercise and good tires to drive safely and efficiently. Rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles – depending on your vehicle.
  • Drive the speed limit – driving aggressively is not only unsafe, it can increase fuel consumption by as much as 35 percent.
  • Drive Sober & Buckle Up – just like you take care of your body – you need to take care of yourself and others when you drive. Safety First!

Here’s a link to an English and Spanish version of a guide to help you get started and track maintenance: http://www.carcare.org/car-care-resource/car-care-guide/. Or, if you’d prefer, you can make a checklist or set up tasks on your calendar to help you remember to take care of your car.

Call Duramax Transmissions for all of your automotive needs! (503)363-6888