Ah Spring. The snow is melting, the trees are budding, and the weather is unpredictable as, well, spring weather. It’s time to pack away the heavy winter coats and bring out the shorts.
Just like your wardrobe and your home, cars have unique needs to spring. Here’s a list of all you’ll need to do to keep your car in top shape for the warm weather.
Remove winter tires (if needed) and chains – Studded tires, chains and heavy traction tires need to be removed as soon as snowfall starts slowing down. These types of tires can do serious damage to asphalt. Each state has its own deadline, typically in early (Washington) to late April (Idaho, Alaska).
Check tread – Check your tires to make sure you have enough for the next 3 months. Here’s a cool link to checking tread with spare change.
Rotate tires – Rotating your tires properly can extend the life of your front tires dramatically. Tires should be rotated every 7,500 miles, and before you start those many spring and summer road trips.
Check wiper blades – April showers bring May flowers. In sub-tropical climates like Alabama and Florida, this translates into April, May and June showers. Check wiper blades before heavy spring rainfall starts. Don’t wait until you’re on the interstate in a heavy storm!
Check brakes – Drive without the stereo turned up for a few trips. If you hear any squeaking, squealing or, heaven forbid, grinding, take it in to one of our fantastic mechanics.
Change oil – Switch out to your normal thicker oil for the warmer weather (if you use thinner oil for winter). Change that oil filter while you’re at it. Gunk builds up over winter.
Check fluids – While you’re changing the oil, or having it changed, check transmission, windshield wiper, coolant, brake and power steering to make sure levels haven’t been depleted over the winter. If so, get the fluids topped off.
Clean the undercarriage – All that nasty dirt and salt can ruin your car’s undercarriage, reducing the value of your car. Make sure to get under the car and pressure wash all of that loose.
Clean and protect interior surfaces – If you’re driving an older car, use a vinyl protectant on all vinyl surfaces. For any car with leather seats, regardless of age, use a leather conditioner to protect seats.
Clean and protect exterier – Wash theÂ exteriorÂ carefully with products specifically made for cars. Don’t use kitchen soap or lint covered towels! These can strip your surface of all wax and leave lint over your entire finish. Finish it off with the annual buff and wax. You can do this yourself or pay a professional to detail and buff your car out.
There you Â have it! Â A complete checklist to prepare you for the bliss of driving with the windows open, top down and ZZ Top at full volume. With these items completed, you’ll get better gas mileage and be ready for road trips!