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Jun 4, 2015

Importance of Seasonal Maintenance for your Car

Posted By in Maintenance Tips Winter | No Comments »

Your car needs work to get it ready for both winter and spring. But how do you know what needs to be done, and what can be passed over? To help relieve confusion, we’ve created a list of necessities for each season.

Seasonal Car Maintenance Necessities

Winter Maintenance

Winter. It’s the worst.

Sure, you might love skiing and the holidays and hot chocolate, but your vehicle does not. For your vehicle, winter is a brutal ordeal that stresses every pipe and bolt.

Common winter problems in vehicles include:

  • Failing to start
  • Flat tires
  • Stiff/slick tires
  • Frozen gas lines
  • Frozen coolant

All of these can be avoided with maintenance. Follow these steps:

  1. Check your battery for charge and corrosion. This goes a long way to making sure your car will start reliably.
  2. Check your tire pressure. The cold will make your pressure sink, as the air inside contracts. If it’s already low, this can lead to a flat or an accident.
  3. Consider snow tires. Snow tires don’t just have deeper treads. They also are made of a different type of rubber that stays flexible even in the cold. This can prevent cracking and flats, in addition to giving you better traction.
  4. Check your antifreeze mix. You can use an antifreeze tester to check and make sure that you have at least a 50-50 mix.
  5. Get an oil change. It’s time for a lighter oil.
  6. Get a tune-up. Right on the cusp of winter, go in for a tune-up. The worst driving conditions are in the winter, so you want your vehicle performing at its best.

Finally, invest in an emergency kit in case of accidents. Include some non-perishable junk food, bottled water, first aid supplies, a flashlight, a road flare, jumper cables, warm clothes or an emergency blanket, extra wipers and wiper fluid, a shovel, and some sand.

Spring

In spring, you have to assess the damage that winter caused. Many parts of your vehicle could have been compromised, including:

  • Wipers. They can get corroded by sitting in all that mud, slush, and salt.
  • Underbody. The salt. My god, the salt. It eats away at cars and makes them rust faster than they would in warmer climates.
  • The brakes. Brakes work a lot harder in winter and can wear down.

You can prevent the worst damages from carrying over into summer as follows:

  1. Clean your vehicle’s undercarriage. Just soap and water will do an okay job, but a high-pressure specialized sprayer will work better.
  2. Scrub off any rust. There are a lot of snow build-up areas, especially around the bumper, where corrosion starts. Check them for rust.
  3. Undo winterization. Put your snow tires in storage: they cost too much for you to wear them out on summer roads. Get a thicker oil as well.

Preparing for the seasons can add years to your vehicle’s lifespan and, more importantly, can save your life.


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