For many of us, spring means finally seeing the piles of snow melting, leaves growing on the trees again, and driving around with your windows open. That is, if your car survived the toll that winter has a habit of taking on your automobile.
Winter, especially in colder climates, can be exceptionally hard on your car. With April being National Car Care Month, here are a few tips to make sure your car is ready to take on the warmer weather.
Look Under The Hood
Depending on your make of car, you may need to get oil changes more often if you live in extreme climate areas, so make sure you’re up-to-date on your oil change, and have the other fluids under the hood checked out as well. Equally important to have inspected are the hoses and belts that make the engine work. When the weather gets cold, the rubber can get hard and crack, so a good inspection is necessary to make sure those key engine components will hold up. Other routine things to check out include headlights, brake lights and windshield wipers.
Check Your Tires
Since your tires are all that’s between you and the road, make sure they made it through the winter. Thin tire treads create hazardous driving conditions, particularly on wet roadways by causing the car to hydroplane and make it hard – if not impossible – to control. Keep your tires lasting longer by making sure they are regularly rotated so they wear evenly. Also make sure they are filled up with the right amount of air; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, keeping tires at proper inflation levels can lead to better gas mileage.
Get A Car Wash
It may not seem like a major repair, but don’t underestimate the need for a good car wash. If you live in a place where road salt is spread liberally during a winter weather event, the salt may be good for traction, but it’s terrible for your car. The salt can do lasting damage to your car’s undercarriage, so if you went since the fall without a car wash, take care of that as soon as possible. If not, you may be allowing corrosion to set in which may lead to long term damage.
What If My Car’s Not Spring-Ready?
If your car isn’t ready to take on spring, that’s OK too. You can always donate it to Wheels For Wishes, benefiting Make-A-Wish. Not only will your vehicle be used to grant the wish of a local child, but you also get a great tax deduction. For more information on how to donate a vehicle to charity, please check out our 2013 Donate Car To Charity Guide.
Think of your car as an investment; you’ve put a lot of money to purchasing your ride, so make sure you do the small pieces of preventative maintenance that can keep your car running for years to come.