A snowplow clears snow off a winter road. – Jeroen Kransen
Car Care in the Wake of Winter
So, you made it through another winter safely – and your car did, too. Congrats! With spring approaching, now is the perfect time to check your vehicle out, and prep for the car maintenance that winter may have rendered necessary.
If you live in a climate that has an icy, snowy winter, you may have opted to put on winter-specific tires. Once winter is over, though, you should swap them out for standard tires. Doing this will extend the life of your winter tires, which tend to be more expensive. Pack the snow tires, with their heavy tread and added traction, away.
If your tires are all-season, you should take this opportunity to rotate them so that they wear evenly. If you notice a lack of tread at this time, you should replace them. If they are wearing unevenly, have your alignment checked out by a mechanic.
Windshield Wiper Blades
Your wiper blades are used most often in the winter, so they should be checked for performance and buildup. Freezing temperatures can also take a toll on the blades, as well as slush – salt and minerals from the road mix with the ice and snow, which gets kicked up by tires and can corrode and degrade the blades.
When roads build up with snow or ice, most cities spread corrosive salt to prevent buildup. Driving on these roads causes the salt to be kicked up into your car’s undercarriage. If left unattended, it can erode and rust your car.
The best thing to do is to spray wash it thoroughly – especially the front and rear bumpers. It’s a good idea to go to an automated car wash that offers undercarriage power-washing. Once you’ve sprayed it down, inspect closely for any signs of rust. If you find any, take care of them before they erode the rest of your car.
Your car’s brakes also take a lot of abuse in the winter months. Everything tends to be slippery, and smart drivers will err on the side of caution. However, your brakes must be at peak performance all year round, so inspecting them regularly is a crucial task. If there is any sort of squealing or grinding noise, you should give them a thorough inspection.
Throughout the colder months, you tend to be a lot rougher on your car, so take this opportunity to check the fluids – especially the wiper fluid level. Top off as necessary.
Inside, As Well
Of course, car maintenance doesn’t stop there. Admit it – you have been neglecting the interior of your car all winter. We all do. That clump of slush that melted into a dirt stain, the Dunkin Donuts coffee cup that’s been there so long you don’t even notice it… Now that it’s getting warmer outside, spend a couple hours vacuuming, scrubbing, and wiping everything down. Pop in an air freshener to finish it off. Now your car is ready for the spring.