With winter coming to an end, we’ll be gearing up for the summer road trips in no time. Once the sunny weather arrives, many people tend to throw caution to the wind regarding car maintenance. Yet summer driving is just as demanding due to increased traffic and occasional rains.

Spring brings with it new problems to consider. Keeping your car in good working order is an excellent way to stay safe on the road this spring. Otherwise, you could find yourself and other passengers are at risk of being involved in an accident.

1. Replace your winter tires with summer tires

It would help if you considered removing your winter tires during this time of year. Some regions have mandatory dates, but this transition usually occurs as temperatures rise above 7 degrees Celsius. Summer and all-season tires are more rigid and engineered for improved handling and durability on roads without snow and ice. When spring arrives, the flexible tread rubber on winter tires isn’t as strong and wears out faster in warmer temperatures.

2. Get the tires rotated

Since you’re already changing out your winter tires, now is a good time to rotate them as well.

Tire rotation is the process of moving the rear tires to the front and vice versa.

Since a vehicle’s weight distribution isn’t spread equally through its tires, the treadwear on each is affected differently. The front tires guide the vehicle’s steering and hold more weight during braking as a car shifts forward.

Before spring arrives, one of the simplest and most important things you can do is rotate your tires. This will prolong the life of your tires while also improving your gas mileage.

3. Alignment

Potholes and roadside curbs all lead to suspension wear and tear, most noticeably jolting the wheel alignment out of spec. At highway speeds, you can notice the steering wheel is off-centre or pulling to one side. Once the roads are clear of ice and snow, it’s time to get your car’s alignment checked by a mechanic. Free alignment checks are available at several tire shops and dealerships around the country, with red, yellow, and green indicating condition.

4. Remove road salt

If you drive a lot during the winter, the chances are that your car’s exterior has a salt covering. Road salt can cause rust and other damage to your car’s body and undercarriage.

If you haven’t washed your car in a while, the start of spring is the ideal time. Most car washes have spraying machines that can effectively remove salt from underneath vehicles with enough force.

5. Top up your Vehicles fluids

Often consult your owner’s manual, but an oil change is usually needed every 8,000 to 16,000 kilometers. On the other hand, modern cars will go up to 24,000 kilometers before requiring an oil change. Your owner’s manual will inform you how often different fluid tests should be performed. Spring is an excellent time to give your car a once-over.

An oil change ensures moving parts are properly lubricated and all of the vehicle’s internal components are in working order.

It’s also a good idea to check the transmission fluid if you plan to change your vehicle’s oil this spring. When it comes to routine repairs, the transmission fluid is often overlooked. This is shocking given the cost of repairing a vehicle’s transmission.

While under the hood, check the coolant and brake fluid levels, and the fluids in your windshield wiper blades.

6. Examine the brakes

After winter, neglecting your brakes could lead to expensive repairs down the road, and possible safety and driving issues.

Check the vehicle’s brakes, including the pads and rotors, with a mechanic. Since winter road conditions can cause significant damage to your braking system, ensuring that your brakes are in working order. This would help both your vehicle and other drivers and pedestrians.

7. Replace the air filters

Both an engine air filter and a cabin air filter are standard on most vehicles. Dust, mildew, mold, and other allergens may be triggered in the cabin air filter after a long winter combined with the previous seasons, resulting in an unpleasant odor and inadequate airflow. Debris can be hampering the ability of the engine air filter to mix fuel properly.

It’s a perfect time to change both the engine air filter and cabin air filter. This allows you and your engine to breathe easier.

8. Swap out any worn wiper blades

During winter months, wiper blades are battered by snow, ice, and freezing temperatures, not to mention abrasive sand and salt. Stains on your windshield after thawing, is probably because your wipers have minor nicks or tears in the rubber tip.  It could also be the pivots are seizing up due to salty corrosion.

Make sure your wipers are working correctly. Springtime is an excellent time to update your wipers. There’s no need to pay a shop to do it because changing wipers takes a minute or two.

9. Check the battery

Winter is hard on batteries. Your car battery experiences extreme variations from season to season, ranging from -40C to above-freezing temperatures.

The average car battery lasts three to five years; everything above that is borrowed time. If yours is approaching that age, a battery load tester can be rented or borrowed from a local parts store. You can tell if your battery is stable or needs replacing in seconds.

10. Replace all rubber belts

Even though almost every vehicle now has a serpentine belt system, it can and will need replacing at some stage. Roads that are slushy, salty, or sandy can contaminate the belt, causing it to deteriorate or squeal.

Examine the serpentine belt for cracks or rib parts that are missing entirely. The easy part is checking; if you aren’t comfortable changing the belt yourself, you may take it to a professional.

11. Light inspections

Even though the days are getting longer, it’s still important to be seen on the road while driving.

Make a quick review of your:

  • Turn signal bulbs
  • Brake lights
  • Headlights
  • Marker lights
  • Daytime running lights
  • Headlights (both low and high beams) to ensure they’re all working correctly. And, don’t forget about the license plate lamps.

If you see a bulb that isn’t working, it’s probably simple to replace.            

To enjoy your summer without any car drama, follow the advice. All you should be worrying about is getting some sun and not your car.

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