Spring is a time you think about cleaning your house, but what about getting your vehicle ready for warmer weather? Complete this car maintenance checklist to help you turn the corner from winter to spring.
- Replace the windshield wiper blades: Winter probably did a number on your windshield wipers. As soon as they start to chatter, streak, or otherwise fail to clean the windshield like they used to, replace them.
- Top off your wiper fluid: Don’t get caught in a spring storm without washer fluid to help keep your view clear! It’s wise to check the wiper fluid level every time you fill up the gas tank, especially if you’ve been using your wipers a lot lately.
- Check other fluid levels: While you’re at it, inspect the oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. Top them off as needed, being sure to use a 50/50 ratio of water to coolant if this fluid needs a top-off.
- Test and replace your battery, if necessary: The cold Chicago weather has been brutal on your car battery. If you notice the engine sputtering, headlights shining dimmer than usual, and windows rolling up and down slowly, these are signs that the battery is dying. Have it tested and replaced before you get stranded on the side of the road.
- Inspect all belts and hoses: Cold weather can weaken your vehicle’s belts and make hoses turn brittle. If these snap or spring a leak while you’re driving, you could be in trouble. Adequate spring car maintenance can help prevent this scenario.
- Get an oil change: Changing the oil regularly can extend your engine’s lifespan by thousands of miles, especially if you drive an older car. You know it’s time for an oil change when the liquid turns from honey-colored to dark brown.
- Get a cash wash: This is about more than looking good as you cruise down the road this spring—it’s about preserving the resale value. While you’re cleaning your car, don’t forget to hose down the undercarriage to remove residual road salt. Then, finish with a wax and buff for a gleaming, just-off-the-lot look.
- Inspect for paint damage: A thorough cleaning reveals minor dings, chips, and scratches that need attention before they rust. A touchup is all it takes to protect your car’s finish and prevent long-term damage.
- Detail the interior: You were less inclined to make multiple trips to and from the car in frigid winter weather. As a result, the backseat may have accumulated a pile of junk over the past few months. Clean off the seat to reveal any crumbs, stains, or grime underneath. A little vacuuming, shampooing, and dusting will have your car’s interior looking as good as new.
- Check for debris under the hood: It may be out of sight, but any unwanted objects under the hood could thwart engine performance. Remove any pine needles, leaves, and other debris you find wedged in the nooks and crannies.
- Replace the cabin filter: Spring is allergy season, meaning a dirty cabin filter could contribute to sniffling and sneezing. A fresh filter ensures you don’t breathe in extra pollen, dust, and dirt each time you take a drive.
- Have the air conditioner tested: Speaking of driving in comfort, make sure the AC works when you turn it on for the first time this spring. If the air doesn’t feel as cold as it should, have the AC tested and recharged if needed.
- Check the tire pressure: Tires lose one to two pounds of air pressure for every degree drop in temperature. Spring weather tends to fluctuate, so check the tire pressure frequently and make any necessary adjustments.
- Measure tire tread depth: While you’re examining your tires, check the tread surface as well. Balding tires are dangerous in the spring when roads tend to be wet as often as they’re dry. A tread depth test is easy to perform. Simply insert a penny into the tread, so Lincoln’s head is facing down. If you can still see all of Lincoln’s head, this means the tire has worn down far enough to warrant a replacement.
- Check your shocks and struts: Did you drive through any potholes this winter? Your shocks and struts may have been damaged as a result. Keep an eye out for warning signs that you need a replacement, including vehicle swaying while turning, front-end dives while braking, rear-end squats while accelerating, or bouncing and sliding on rough, winding roads.
- Get a wheel alignment: Potholes can also throw off your car’s alignment. If the steering wheel vibrates excessively or feels like it’s pulling to one side, professional wheel alignment can help your car drive straight and true once more.
- Test and replace light bulbs, if necessary: Headlights are important, but your car has many other bulbs that require an inspection as well. Work with another person to test the turn signals, brake lights, reverse lights, parking lights, and interior lights.
- Address vehicle damage immediately after an accident: If you have a run-in with another vehicle this spring, don’t delay the repair. Cracked windshields, dented bumpers, and scraped doors are just a few things a car can experience in a collision. Responding quickly to damage after an accident will restore vehicle safety, performance, and aesthetics.
At B&L Automotive Repairs, we provide professional automotive painting, frame straightening, dent repair, computer diagnostics, wheel alignment, tire mounting and balancing, and much more! Stop on by, give us a call at (773) 463-1622, or contact us online to schedule collision repair in Chicago.