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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.