April is National Car Care Month. With the warmth of spring in the air, it’s a great time to tend to car issues that may have cropped up during the cold winter months. You may even start thinking about getting your car ready for summer road trips.
As you focus on preparing the car for spring, remember that there may be an increase of precipitation, so it’s important to anticipate wet, slick roads. Make sure your car’s tires, brakes, and windshield wipers are in top condition.
Beyond that, here’s a checklist of essential maintenance steps to prepare for spring and summer driving:
- Check your car’s oil, filters, and fluids. This is especially critical before you embark on any long trips. It is not a good idea to travel long distances with dirty engine oil and filters and low fluid levels.
- Inspect hoses. The frigid winter weather can wreak havoc on your car’s rubber hoses. The hoses could turn brittle and leak when you run your engine. Replace leaking hoses before traveling.
- Examine the engine braking system. The engine braking system assists in reducing the speed of the vehicle. Before starting a long drive, ensure that it is working well.
- Review the battery connection. Over time, battery terminals become loose. Inspect and tighten any wobbly connections.
- Check the exhaust system. The constant jarring and vibration of the vehicle could compromise the exhaust system. A leaking or damaged system will reduce the power of the vehicle.
- Inspect the vehicle’s HVAC system. Prepare for summer driving by ensuring that your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems are working well. Top off the refrigerant if needed.
- Examine the pressure of all the tires, including the spare. Tires with low pressure wear down sooner and cause your vehicle to consume more fuel. Top off air pressure according to the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
- Review the steering and suspension systems, shock absorbers, struts, ball joints, and tie rod ends. Making sure these items are in proper condition will help ensure a safer drive.
- Test interior and exterior lighting systems. Replace any burnt out bulbs.
- Schedule a tune-up at an auto repair shop to ensure a well-conditioned engine.
Nothing throws off a spring outing or a summer road trip like car troubles. Seize the occasion of National Car Care Month to get your vehicle in prime condition.