Spring Maintenance – What’s Worth Checking Before the Spring Season?
Spring is just around the corner, perhaps just one more cold snap away. With that being the case, it’s time to consider what kind of useful maintenance you can do on your car to prepare for the new season.
The fact is that winter is a punishing few months for your car. The extreme temperatures, the snow, ice, dirt, freezing rain and more all push your car to its limits in more ways than one. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to pay special attention to a few maintenance items in spring that will benefit your car as the seasons turn.
Useful Maintenance Checks for Spring
Your tyres have been working hard all winter to maintain traction on difficult roads. This has undoubtedly added to the wear and tear that they experience, possibly leaving you with tyres that are close to the 1.6mm minimum permissible limit for tyre tread thickness. Your tyres and wheel rims may also have sustained damage during the winter.
Having safely inflated tyres with no cracks, tears or other signs of damage is absolutely critical to the safety of your vehicle and all those inside it. That’s why we’ve put tyre checks at the very top of our list for today’s blog.
Second in our list are the brakes. Just as your tires undergo a lot of strain in the winter months, your brakes are really put through the mill as well. They’re working extremely hard to slow your car in difficult conditions and to keep the vehicle safe. The cold and wet winter weather can even cause moisture to get trapped in the brake pads, causing excess rust and corrosion that can severely weaken your brakes, even rendering them near useless.
Engine Oil and Transmission Fluid
In very modern cars that use the highest-quality synthetic oils, winter doesn’t pose much threat since the oil is resistant to viscosity changes. Older cars with more regular engine oil, however, will see the oil become thicker in cold weather. The result of that is oil that can’t properly move around and lubricate the engine as it needs to. The same goes for transmission fluid in the gearbox.
Drivers can create problems when these fluids are not allowed to warm up properly and become fluid enough to do their job. This can cause undue wear and tear on both the engine and the transmission. Therefore, a little check to ensure oil and fluid levels are where they should be is a good idea as spring rolls around.
Between all the snow, ice, road salt, sludge, mud, rainwater and other stuff your car drives through during any winter season, the undercarriage of your car is the part that takes a particular beating. If you’ve spent the winter keeping a close eye on the condition of your car’s undercarriage, ensuring that you keep it clean and free of all contaminants.
Road salt in particular can cause problems as it can become corrosive when it is left to sit on the car’s undercarriage and in the wheel arches for extended periods. A check for any signs of damage or deterioration on the underside of your car is therefore important before spring comes.
During the winter, you might have experienced some unfortunate encounters with the kerb while driving. It’s perfectly common in icy conditions for people to misjudge braking conditions and end up hitting the kerb as they’re parking or manoeuvring in the road. Hopefully none of these little collisions ever involved bumps with other cars. Furthermore, potholes and other road imperfections might be hidden by a thin layer of snow, making it more likely that you hit them directly.
All of these impacts can negatively affect your wheel alignment. Therefore, the time right after winter is a good time for a mechanic to just look at the axles and see if anything looks amiss.
Cabin Air Filter
Spring brings new life, growth, the return of greenery and more. It also brings with it those pesky allergens that so trouble some people’s lives. Pollen is one of the key things that your cabin air filter will prevent from entering the passenger cabin. If, however, your filter has passed its prime, then you could be looking at some serious hay fever as spring rolls around. That could even be dangerous if it affects you as the driver.
A cabin air filter should last about 30,000 miles. Reflect on the last time yours was changed when spring rolls around, but have a mechanic take a quick look all the same to be sure.
Finally, after blasting the heating system for the whole of winter to keep your car warm, it might be a good time to let a professional mechanic take a look at the A/C system and make sure it’s all working properly. You’ll need to be sure that you have enough coolant in place for when it heats up outside, and that there are no problems with the system or signs that mildew or other bacteria could grow in there when the weather starts turning warmer.
Why Now is a Good Time for a Service
If you gave your car a full service before winter arrived, then you won’t likely need a comprehensive service before spring rolls around. Working on the above points or at least some of them would be at least a positive step in the right direction. However, if it has been almost a year since your last full service, then right after winter finishes and before spring begins is the perfect moment to do it.
The rigours of winter leave their mark on your car, and you can deal with it through proper servicing and good maintenance. That will set you up for another safe year of driving ahead. Think on that, and worry less about having some minor car maintenance bills now than the potentially much larger bills — not to mention safety issues — you’d face if you put off the job for too long.