With a taste of warmer temperatures to come and blossoms appearing around the valley, spring is starting to make an appearance and marks the perfect time to take care of preventative maintenance services for your vehicle. April is also Car Care Month promoted by the Car Council and is the perfect time to take care of the wear and tear issues of winter driving and prevent breakdowns in the heat of summer.
The National Association of Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the Car Care Council suggest the following tips for Spring Maintenance:
- Read your owner’s manual and following the recommended service schedule.
- To prevent engine overheating, summer’s number-one vehicle problem, make sure your engine’s cooling system is in top shape. Consider having your cooling system flushed and check the level, condition, and concentration of the coolant. If you are doing your own work, make sure the engine has cooled down before removing the radiator cap.
- Check the condition of belts, hoses and clamps for tightness, wear and tear.
- Have engine performance problems like hard starts, rough idling, and stalling corrected. You’ll get better gasoline mileage and you can catch minor problems before they grow into more expensive repairs later on.
- Have a marginally operating air conditioner system serviced, checked for leaks and if needed recharged by a qualified technician.
- Check the condition of tires, including the spare. Let the tires “cool down” before checking their pressure. Uneven wear, ‘cupping,’ vibrations, or ‘pulling’ to one side indicates problems with your tires or suspension system. If you have been driving on winter tires, it may be time to have them changed over to your summer tires. If you use all season tires it is a good time to have those tires rotated and balanced.
- Routine brake inspection and service is important for safety and can save you money in the long run. Failure to replace worn brake pads, for example, can result in more expensive damage to rotors and wheels.
- Don’t neglect your transmission. Costly repairs can be prevented by routine service of this often-neglected system.
- For safety and convenience, inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs.
- Check oil, filters and fluids
- Check that the battery connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free. The battery should be securely mounted. If it is three years old or more, the battery should be tested and replaced if necessary.
- Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
- Inspect the steering and suspension system annually; including shock absorbers and struts, and chassis parts, such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
- Wiper blades play an extremely important role in increasing visibility. Replace every six months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering. Keep plenty of washer solvent on hand to fight summer’s dust and insects.