Winter driving can be hard on cars, and the official start of spring is a good time to remind yourself about coming in to one of your local auto repair shops and having your car (or cars) inspected. If you’ve been living in a snowy or icy area, you’ll definitely want to have new tires put on in order to get maximum efficiency for summer driving, and your technicians may have some other suggestions for undoing the damage often done to vehicles by winter weather. There are approximately 87,032 auto repair shops in the country, so there’s sure to be one nearby that you can trust — and considering how much good maintenance contributes to both vehicle longevity and road safety, there’s really no excuse for neglecting seasonal checkups.
There are also a few basic tasks that you should either perform yourself or hire a professional for. Here are five you won’t want to forget:
- Give It a Good Scrubbing
Take the time to really get your car clean inside and out, as opposed to just getting off immediately visible dirt. That means cleaning the bottom of doors, scraping mud off running boards, steaming floor mats and wiping off salt stains.
- Clean the Underbody
While you’re cleaning, don’t limit yourself to the body of the car. Salt and other chemicals can cause the underbody of your vehicle to corrode, and that will definitely shorten its life. You may also want to check under the hood to see if any cleaning is necessary in there; corrosion on your battery, for example, can be removed with a baking soda paste.
- Check Your Tire Pressure
Tire pressure will rise and fall with the temperature, so you’ll want to get it checked at least once in the spring and once in the fall. Remember that your tire pressure warning system only alerts you if tire pressure is dangerously low, and isn’t a substitute for an old-fashioned tire pressure gauge.
- Replace the Wiper Blades
Whether you’re dealing with rain or snow, your wiper blades have probably gotten a workout over the past six months. Replacing them is an extremely inexpensive way to improve visibility and decrease your likelihood of getting in an accident.
- Top Off Your Fluids
There are often oil change specials in the spring, so this is a good time to make sure you’ve had your oil changed in the last 5,000 miles. Even if you have, you should check all your fluid levels and top them off if necessary. A recent car maintenance survey showed that 18% of the vehicles inspected had inadequate or contaminated brake fluid and 15% had inadequate or contaminated power steering fluid; considering that all it takes to check for these issues is unscrewing a few caps, saving those few minutes isn’t worth risking an accident.
What other maintenance tasks should drivers be heading to auto repair shops for each spring? Share your thoughts in the comments.