Safety and Service Checklist for Spring
All vehicles suffer from the vagaries of winter weather no matter where you live or travel. And that is especially true for drivers who live in regions hit by February ice storms–midwest, south through Texas and northeast.
Don’t let those winter vehicle concerns become big problems in spring and derail that long-awaited get-away. And we’ve included a few items to make that ride more enjoyable, too.
Here’s our list of 20 seasonal tips as North America emerges from winter’s wake and gets prepared for spring adventure.
Important Items To Ask Your Service Advisor
- Schedule your vehicle’s bi-annual checkup. A spring inspection can identify small problems before they become expensive repairs.
- Perform a brake system test by pumping the brakes. Do you hear any odd noises or feel any vibrations in the steering wheel? Are the brakes “squishy”? Does the brake pedal drop to the flow? Call your service advisor immediately.
- If you haven’t already done so, swap out those winter tires for all-season treads. Warm temperatures shorten the life of the soft treads of winter tires.
- Check tire inflation. Underinflated tires can cause blowouts and accelerate tread wear.
- Inspect tires for bulges, odd wear patterns and balding tires.
- See any leaks underneath your vehicle? Cracks in fluid lines caused by severe weather can drain critical fluids slowly and, over time, damage key safety systems such as power steering and brakes.
- Did you encounter any potholes during winter? They could have damaged your vehicle’s motor mounts, suspension system.
- Check on wheel alignment. Proper alignment helps prevent uneven tire wear and improves steering.
- Wiper blades take a beating in winter. Replace them now to safely wipe away dirt and grime on springtime travel.
- Get a battery diagnostic. Does your vehicle struggle to turn over in the morning? A sure sign your battery may be weak or dying. Recent freezing temperatures can sap the energy out of a battery without warning.
- Reduce cabin allergens as spring blooms fill the air with pollen. Ask your service advisor to replace the cabin air filter to help remove allergens from your vehicle cabin.
- Invest in a bike rack for you and your springtime adventures. A variety of roof racks, trunk racks and connectors make it safe and easy to travel with extra gear. Choosing the correct rack for your vehicle requires know-how and experience to prevent damage to your vehicle and cargo. Ask your service advisor to make some recommendations.
- Fix any windshield chips and cracks encountered during winter. A small crack can grow and turn into an expensive window replacement.
Things to Do At Home
- Reduce glare from longer days and improve springtime visibility. Remove that thin, cloudy film accumulated throughout winter on the exterior as well as the interior of window surfaces. Use window cleaner designed for vehicles.
- Check the inflation and tread of your spare tire. Safety experts recommend replacement if you see any cracks or bulges.
- Consider window treatment that prevents spring rains from settling on your clean glass surfaces.
- Remove winter dirt and allergens by vacuuming clean the rugs and cleaning mats. For carpet, use a shampoo designed for vehicles.
- Use a waterless car wash and wax solution if you live in drought-stricken areas or when you are traveling away from home.
- Pack pet accessories such as seat belts, swim vest, portable water bowls, food hiking bag, seat and cargo area covers and a hammock for the middle seat.
- Buy a bag of microfiber cleaning towels for interior and exterior cleaning. They’re the choice of car care pros because they’re inexpensive, excellent for cleaning as well as mopping spills. Also good for springtime hikes with four-legged friends.