Ontario has finally seen the temperatures rise and the days get longer, and that can only mean one thing: spring is here, along with better driving conditions! While this means that you can look forward to warmer, more scenic drives, it also means that you should be thinking about some spring care tips for your vehicle.
Your car has been faithfully serving you through cold temperatures, icy roads, and some challenging environmental conditions. Even if your car always performs reliably during those months, that doesn't mean that it wasn't being subjected to wear and tear. Now that the toughest season of the year has passed, it's time to exercise some prudent car care and get your vehicle ready for more reliable operation during the days of spring and summer.
There are five essential tips you should be following to get your car spring-ready.
1. Prepare Your Tires
If you've taken the precaution of switching out your tires during the winter for better traction, now is the time to switch them back out. This is a basic but critical precaution. Increased traction during the winter is important and can keep you and your passengers safer on the road, but the composition and construction of winter tires that are so critical for wet, icy conditions don't increase your performance in the summer. It's the opposite.
Leaving winter tires on will give you a softer, less rigid tire, which is great during slippery conditions but can impair your handling and control in warmer weather. Winter tires will also wear down faster in warmer road conditions, meaning that when winter finally arrives, they won't do as good of a job as before.
If you haven’t switched out your tires from winter to spring, you should at least check the tire pressure. After months of usage in harsher conditions, with colder temperatures, the air pressure in your tires may be lower. Get them checked and restored to optimal conditions to get some performance and control back.
2. Clean Out the Dirt & Clutter
In the same way that you might be doing some spring cleaning in the home, the same should apply to your car. Depending on your commuting schedule, you may spend hours every week in your car, so it's a personal space. Unlike your home, however, a car doesn't get the benefit of cleaning and vacuuming regularly, which means that the interior, and areas like your trunk, can get very dirty over the course of the season. Between wet boots on the car mats and carrying different types of cargo in your trunk, your car may have gotten quite dirty during the winter.
Now is the time to take care of this by giving the car a good spring cleaning, both on the inside and the outside. Start the spring right by freshening up your car. Break out the vacuum, wash mats, and do the same for the trunk as well.
3. Maintain Your Wipers
There's a difference between using your wipers to clear away rain and using them for snow or ice. Throughout the winter, heavy usage of wiper blades can inflict significant wear and tear. If you turn on your wipers and you hear constant, high-pitched squealing noises, that usually indicates tears or cracks that are only going to get worse with time. When you’re shopping for new ones, make sure you know what the measurements are for your wipers because not all of them are the same length.
4. Change the Fluids
Now is an excellent time to replenish all the critical fluids that your car depends on. Look into your oil and make sure that you've still got enough for the engine. The oil filter is another component you should investigate since you're already having the oil checked. Beyond that, your car also uses other fluids, like windshield wiper fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant.
All of these have been in heavy use during the winter season, so now is the time to make sure that they're not low and going to give you trouble with the better weather and more recreational time spent on the road.
5. Get Rid of Salt
Winter on the road means one thing; you’re going to accumulate salt. People in Ontario use salt everywhere, whether it’s on the sidewalks to keep things clear for safe traversal, or on the road to maintain traction for safer driving. However, this means that salt is going to pile up, both inside the car, thanks to your shoes, and outside the car, thanks to driving over surfaces treated with ice melt.
This is an important bit of after-winter car maintenance for Canadians, because salt, after all, can be corrosive. Left alone, it can damage various substances, so now that you’re not constantly accumulating it through foot and auto traffic, it’s best to get rid of all the salt. While car mats and interiors can be cleaned out by hand if you like, the undercarriage is another matter. This is where you might want to consider splurging on a car wash, though you can always do it by hand, or with your own pressure washing spray if you happen to own one.
Follow these five important spring care tips for your vehicle and you’ll be able to keep it looking and working great for a long time.