Winter is slowly winding down, but the end of harsh weather is just the start of spring car maintenance. That’s because winter can do a lot of damage to your vehicle, from warped windshield wipers to corrosive salt. These 5 post-winter checks will give your car the spring refresh it needs to recover from even the toughest winter weather.
Give It A Good Bath
The most important thing you can do for your car when winter ends is also one of the simplest: get your car thoroughly washed and detailed. Salt can cause serious corrosion, which can shorten the life of your car by damaging parts of the engine. It also looks terrible. You can wash it by hand, but make sure you get into all of the little nooks and crannies and under the body because the worst damage may be happening in the areas you can’t see.
Your car’s mats are also likely looking a little rough after you’ve dragged snow and salt inside on your boots for months, so be sure to show them a little love while managing other maintenance. A stiff brush will remove winter grime from the carpets and help eliminate any odors.
Check Your Wipers
There’s some debate over whether you should put your wipers up or down before a snow storm, but whatever side you choose, experts recommend placing winter wiper blades for optimum visibility during harsh storms. These blades are more flexible, so they aren’t likely to break under the pressure from snow and ice, and they’re also generally sturdier. Still, post winter, you can feel free to put your old ones back on. You may need to tighten the main connectors, as ice can loosen them and cause your wipers to malfunction.
Fill Up On Fluids
Your car’s engine contains nine different types of fluids, and post-winter maintenance is the perfect time to check those fluids. That includes checking your antifreeze levels, brake fluid, and changing the oil if you’ve covered a lot of mileage. Checking your fluids can prevent more expensive maintenance down the line by keeping your engine in optimal condition. No one wants to replace their engine when they could have just changed their oil regularly.
Examine Belts And Hoses
One of the major problems with winter weather is that it can make your car’s belts and hoses brittle. Pop open the hood and check your belts and hoses for cracks or leaks. If you notice any problems with fit or find damage, you’ll want to take your car to the shop to have those parts replaced.
Get In Alignment
Winter weather tends to worsen potholes and can make roads much harder to navigate, and that can make a mess out of your alignment and suspension. So how can you tell if your car needs an alignment check? While only a professional can settle the matter, if your steering wheel vibrates or pulls, you can be sure there’s a problem. Take your car into the shop to get the suspension checked and the tires balanced and rotated as needed.
Don’t carry wintery weather damage into the spring thaw. Give your car a fresh start with a thorough cleaning and maintenance check, and then roll down the windows. Warmer days are here and hopefully they’ll be a bit gentler on your car.