Your car hates driving in snow as much as you do. And while you most likely have the privilege of a heated interior while driving, your car endures freezing-cold temperatures and terrible road conditions that are detrimental to its health.
So as the ice thaws and the spring blossoms, it’s well recommended for you to check up on your ride before you head out to camping trips and outdoor excursions. The following is a maintenance checklist you can follow to ensure that your car runs smoothly and safely for the season ahead.
Remove Salt Residues
Salt is used to eliminate layers of ice that build up on roads. The problem is, salt is particularly corrosive, and it can cause the metal parts of your vehicle to rust. This is why it’s necessary to have your car washed thoroughly. See to it that the undercarriage is especially sprayed to make sure that no leftover salt residues stay on your car.
Check Your Vehicle’s Alignment and Suspension
Your vehicle’s alignment and suspension ensure that you get good control of your vehicle as you drive. During wintertime, potholes and bumps on the road caused by snow buildup can damage these, usually making it hard to steer your vehicle and maneuver it properly. Once you notice vibrations on your steering wheel or anything amiss with your vehicle’s handling, have your suspension and alignment checked at once.
Check Your Tires, and Adjust Tire Pressure
Another important part of your vehicle’s maneuver is your tire’s health. A well-pressurized tire, for instance, ensures good traction and, overall, your safety. Too much or too low tire pressure can result in loose handling and even wear out your tire’s treads easily.
In winter, your tire’s pressure decreases because of the low temperature. The best thing you can do is to check for your tire pressure only after the vehicle has rested for a couple of hours. This way, you will get a more accurate reading of your tire pressure and can adjust it accordingly.
Check Car Fluids, and Change Oil
Auto mechanics recommend that you change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, every three months, or as the season changes. Failing to change your car oil accordingly can lead to poor engine efficiency, higher fuel consumption, and even damage the engine itself.
Other fluids require equal attention as well. This includes your power steering fluids, transmission fluids, your antifreeze/coolant, and your windshield washer solvent. If your fluid levels are low, have them flushed and refilled as recommended by your vehicle’s manual. Check for the possibility of leaks too.
Ensure That the Brakes Are Working Properly
Your vehicle’s brake system is perhaps one of the most important maintenance aspects that have to be diligently paid attention to. It guarantees not only efficient vehicle maneuver but also passenger safety.
To properly check the efficiency of your brake system, inspect your brake linings, rotors, and drums. Neglecting small issues in the short term can cause more expensive problems in the long run. If you are not very familiar with brake repair, have a professional technician or auto mechanic look at it.
Check Your Charging System
The cold season can affect your battery system. Have it tested to ensure that its function is unhindered. You should also check that your battery is properly and securely put in place, the connections are clean, and that there’s no corrosion buildup occurring.
If your battery is more than five years old, it’s probably time to consider a replacement.
Top Up Your Gear
Maintenance isn’t just about repairing. In most cases, there are aging parts that need to be replaced. Perhaps you may even be in for upgrades.
Aside from serious parts like batteries or transmissions, there are small additions or updates that you can do to improve the performance of your car. These can range from anything as basic as replacing springs, rates, and shocks to adding car accessory upgrades like fender flares.
If you’re on a tight budget, however, always prioritize upgrades that add to the performance and efficiency of your ride rather than just aesthetics. It’s an investment decision you will thank yourself for.
According to a 2017 study conducted by the American Automobile Association, the average auto repair bill costs anywhere from $500 to $600. Not only that, about one in every three motorists can’t pay their vehicle repair costs without incurring debt.
As a way to avoid the hefty bill and prolong your vehicle’s life, religiously conducting car maintenance is a must.