Across Canada, winter is finally coming to a close and the sun is peeking out from behind the clouds. For many of us, this means its time for adventures and play in the great outdoors. Whichever activity you are most looking forward to, chances are that it involves some sort of driving. Are you confident that your vehicle’s condition is sound enough to get you there and back?
The cold temperatures, ice, snow, and salt all take a toll on your vehicle. Spring is the ideal time to bring your car into the shop to get a full inspection so we can find any small problems, before they become big ones.
Here are a few tips to keep your car running smoothly and safely all summer long:
- Get an oil change, and change your oil filter. Running an engine with old oil can result in reduced engine performance, poor gas mileage, and serious engine damage. To keep your vehicle’s engine running problem-free, make sure to keep up with the maintenance schedule outlined in your owner’s manual.
- Keep the fluids topped up. If you are changing your oil, you should also check your transmission, brake, power steering, and windshield washer fluids as well as your coolant. If any of these are low, top them up and consult your owner’s manual to learn when you should flush or replace them. Power steering, coolant, and brake systems are all closed, so low fluid levels may indicate a leak.
- Check the wiper blades. Spring showers hit hard and unexpected in BC. If your wiper blades are in poor condition, it is a matter of safety to have them replaced.
- Check the battery. In general, batteries dislike cold weather. After a long winter, it is a good idea to have the charge on your battery tested, as well as ensuring that the battery is securely in place and that the connections are clean, tight, and corrosion free.
- Repair windshield damage. It is pretty common for motorists to end up with a chipped or cracked windshield. While this may not seem like a serious problem, a damaged windshield can actually reduce the safety of your vehicle by compromising the effectiveness of seatbelts, airbags, and roof stability. If your windshield was damaged during the winter, you should have it repaired or replaced right away.
- Check the lights. Give your vehicle a thorough walk around and check the function of all interior and exterior lights. Lights are a primary way motorists communicate with each other on the road, and you’ll want to make sure that everyone understands if you plan on stopping or turning.
- Lubricate your chassis. Some newer vehicles are “lubed-for-life”, but your owner’s manual will tell you what your vehicle’s requirements are. If you’ve had any parts of your steering or suspension replaced, those may require periodic lubrication.
- Check the hoses and belts. The cold of winter can harden rubber, possibly leading to a crack. Take a look at your hoses and belts for any signs of damage, including hardening, softening, leaking, cracks, or blisters and check the tension of your belts. Replacing a belt may also mean replacing the tensioner and pulley.
- Check the filters. The filters in your car are important for the proper functioning of its systems, as well as the safety and comfort of passengers. Check your fuel filter, engine air filter, and cabin air filter for damage or clogging.
- Check the tires. As the only point of contact between you and the road, your tires are hugely important for the safety, performance, and efficiency of your ride. Check the tread of all four tires for irregular wear or signs of damage, and replace them if you see damage. Check your tire pressure monthly and make sure it complies with the recommended pressure listed in your owner’s manual. Rotate your tires every 10,000 kilometres.
Making vehicle maintenance a priority will protect yourself, your passengers, and increase the lifespan of your vehicle. If you have any questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a shout and we will be happy to help you out.